by Don  

The word for river in Russian is река. Note how the stress shifts. For the most part in the singular it is end-stressed, with the exception of the accusative, and in the plural it is stem-stressed:


Growing up in Arizona, I was used to orderly and well organized rivers that had no water in them. I mean, why would they have water? Imagine my shock when I got to Russia and discovered that Russian rivers have water in them. I mean, sure, I knew that it was a theoretical possibility, but why? So very strange. Reader, you'll just have to get used to that idea. Here are some example sentences:

В этой реке можно ловить белугу. You can catch Beluga in this river.
Мой брат утонул в реке. My brother drowned in the river.
Он вошёл в ледяную реку, и всё его тело сразу онемело. He entered the icy river, and his whole body immediately grew numb.
Она подошла к реке, окунула в воду большой палец ноги, и сказала: «Слишком холодно. Я не буду купаться». She walked up to the river, dipped her big toe into the water and said, "It's too cold. I'm not going to swim."

Bodies of water are generally на words:

В выходные мы ездили на Москву-реку около Звенигорода. On the weekend we went to the Moscow River shore near Zvenigorod.
Мы часто ездим на реку на выходные. We often go to the river for the weekend.
Ты когда-нибудь ездил на Волгу? Там можно отлично отдохнуть. Have you ever gone to the Volga? You can have a really nice time there.
Когда я на реке, я отлично отдыхаю. When I'm at the river, I have the best time.

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