День (часть третья)

by Don  

Although normally in Russian you refer to the days of the week using nouns like понедельник and среда, there is an alternate way to do it. You make an adjective out of the day of the week and then combine it with the word день ‘day’. It is not as common as simply using the nouns, but it is still possible. Here is a list of the nouns and their corresponding adjectives:


Note carefully that there is no adjectival equivalent for среда, and notice also that the adjective from суббота is soft. When translating the phrases into English, simply use the noun. Here are a few examples:

Это был воскресный день, но «мусора» не отдыхают. (source) It was a Sunday, but cops don't get days off.
Псковский почтамт планирует выдавать пенсии по воскресным дням. (source) The Pskov main post office is planning to distribute pension money on Sundays.
Ребята, сегодня последний пятничный день осени. (source) Guys, today is the last Friday of fall.
Наступил четверговый день. (source) Thursday arrived.

It would be a mistake to think that all the adjectives are equally acceptable. The phrase «воскресный день» is very common. The next most common is «субботний день». The others you will find in good dictionaries, but they are encountered very rarely. And why is there no adjective from среда? Hard to say. Sometimes in language you have to give up and say, “That's just the way it is.”


Comment from: anonymous [Visitor]

These adjectives can be used with other nouns besides день, for instance воскресная школа.

I think “средничный” seems to have some very modest actual usage in practice, and so might be the least unacceptable variant, however etymologically suspect it may be.

English has a similar problem in coming up with a universally accepted way to refer to just-ended previous decade. A century ago, I think they referred to them as the Aughts.

01/07/11 @ 23:02
Comment from: Bruce Dumes [Visitor]

Fascinating! This info is competely new to me. Thanks!!

01/07/11 @ 07:42
Comment from: Yegor [Visitor]

I’ve never heard of any from понедельничный to четверговый. However I hear пятничный, субботний, and воскресный _very_ often. That’s a very fun fact I discovered only today. Thank you Don!

01/07/11 @ 06:35
Comment from: Andrey [Visitor]

I have to note that «мусор» is not an equivalent to cop, that word is rather offensive. Plus it’s a little bit outdated, you can use «мент» instead, it’s a bit offensive too but not much, there is even a TV show in Russia called «Менты».

Don responds: Agreed. I hesitated quite a bit over what word to use for the equivalent of мусор. In the early 70s the equivalent would have been ‘pig,’ but that sounds outdated to my ear, and I’m not quite sure what the current slang equivalent would be in English, so I went with ‘cop,’ which is colloquial, although not as vulgar as мусор.

01/07/11 @ 01:07

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