День (часть первая)

by Don  

The Russian word for day is день. Since it is an incredibly common word, we are going to talk about it quite a few times. Today we will start with something simply. День is an inanimate masculine noun, so it's accusative case form is the same as its nominative form. That's fortunate because we mostly use the word in the nominative and accusative case. Here are some examples of it in the nominative:

— Какой сегодня день?
— Сегондя четверг.
“What day is today?”
“Today is Thursday.”
— Какой вчера был день?
— Вчера была среда.
“What day was it yesterday?”
“Yesterday was Wednesday.”
— Какой завтра будет день?
— Завтра будет пятница.
“What day is tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow is Friday.”
— Какой сегодня день?
— Сегодня дождливый день.
— Нет, нет. Я хочу сказать, какой сегодня день недели?
— Ах, понял. Сегодня четверг.
— Я думаю, ты меня хорошо понял в первый раз. Ты просто любишь доставать.
“What day is it?”
“It's a rainy day.”
“No, no. I mean what day of the week is it?”
“Oh, now I understand. Today is Thursday.”
“I think you understood me fine the first time. You just like to annoy me.”

You will remember that to say “on Monday” or “on Tuesday”, you have to use the preposition в + accusative in Russian. Similarly, to say “on that day” in Russian you say «в тот день» or «в этот день». Oddly enough, in English we usually leave out the “on” when combining it with “that day,” so in translation you will have to remember to add it in:

Я помню, когда Петя в первый раз поцеловал меня. В тот день я очень скучала по семье. Он увидел мою грусть и решил отвлечь мои мысли. Этот неожиданный поцелуй так поразил меня, что я почти неделю не думала ни о маме ни о папе. I remember when Peter kissed me for the first time. That day I really missed my family. He saw my sadness and decided to distract my thoughts. That unexpected kiss stunned me so that for nearly a week I didn't even think of my mom and dad.
Я хочу рассказать тебе о том, как я познакомился с президентом США. В тот день я надел новый костюм-тройку и новый галстук. Я очень нервничал, но когда он пожал мне руку, он поговорил со мной просто и дружелюбно, как будто бы я был его коллегой, а не иностранцем с Камчатки. I want to tell you how I met the President of the USA. That day I had put on a new three-piece suit and a new tie. I was really nervous when he shook my hand, but he spoke with me simply and kindly, as if I were a colleague of his instead of a foreigner from Kamchatka.


Comment from: Paul [Visitor]  

Don, thank you very much for that information! Imagine how silly I feel to find out about homophonic keyboards only after about 1 year of self study. I just installed it on my Mac, using the instructions on (your!) website. Typing speed in Russian has increased tremendously. I also have a French and German keyboard layout on my computer, which I managed to memorize, but the normal Russian keyboard I find very hard to use.
Технологический прорыв для меня :) Спасибо!

01/06/11 @ 01:03
Comment from: paul [Visitor]

Hello Don,

and another small typo: я был ego коллегой

Interesting typo though, shows how the mind can make strange jumps from ‘г’ to ‘g’, which in a way seems logical, but using 2 alphabets within one word. Out of curiosity I tried to do this on my keyboard (MAC + Cyrillic stickers) and I had to “switch keyboards” to do this. So now I wonder of course how you managed.


Don responds: The Russian keyboard I use is homophonic, that is Russian е is on the same key as English е, Russian г on the same key as English г, etc. So I mistakenly typed the whole word in English when re-editing the post. (I had originally written «ему коллегой», which I think would have been entirely understandable, but его is better.)

01/05/11 @ 00:59

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