by Bella  

You ever get so busy that you forget what day of the week it is? I do. With work and school to take up most of my attention, I find myself suddenly realizing that I have no idea what day of the week it is! It's a good thing my phone has a Календарь on it. Yep, in Russian the word for calendar sounds almost identical to its English counterpart. They both originate from the Latin word "kalendae" which means "first day of the month."


Some examples:

Я часто пользуюсь календарём.
I often use a calendar.

Моя мама не может обойтись без календаря под рукой.
My mom is lost without a calendar handy.

У каждого студента должен быть календарь.
Every student must have a calendar.

Андрей, по твоему календарю, когда будет следующий праздник?
Andrew, according to your calendar, when is the next holiday?

1 comment

Comment from: Adam [Visitor]

Thanks for these great lessons, as always. A question on one of your examples: why would you say “Моя мама не может обойтись без календаря под рукой” instead of “Моя мама не может обходиться без календаря под рукой"? Aren’t we talking about something general here? In general, my mom can’t get by without a calendar, which I would have thought would call for the imperfective. Is there a nuance that обойтись captures that I’m not understanding? Thanks!

Don responds: Figuring out what aspect of the infinitive to use is tricky. In this context my native-speaker friends say only the perfective works. I generally use the following rule of thumb with infintives: use perfective unless you have a clear idea why you should use imperfective.

In this instance I think the issue has to do with the “relevant result” meaning of the perfective. Обойтись in this context means “to make do,” and making do with or without is a result. The generality of the situation is taken care of by the present tense of мочь, and the result part is taken care of by the perfective of обойтись.

That’s my guess on this one, but frankly aspect is one of the bits of Russian that we as foreigners continually have to work on practically forever. This would drive me into utter despair if it weren’t for the fact that Russians have the same problem in English with a/an/the, so perhaps there is some justice in the world.

11/15/10 @ 07:55

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