by Don  

I'm in Kazan with a group of students. Many of them are in host families. Americans are very communicative, so before the program began, one of our students sent a message to her host father to say that she was excited and looking forward to meeting them. She wrote:

Я очень возбуждена и спешу встретиться с вами.

Now that's pretty damn amusing. The word she chose for ‘excited’ means excited when the appetite is excited by exercise or a solar cell is excited to stimulate the emission of electrons by photons. But when applied to humans it can mean ‘sexually excited.’ The word she chose to for ‘to look forward to’ also means ‘to be in a hurry.’ So in effect the good-hearted girl had written:

I am very aroused and rushing to meet you.

Our resident director clarified the situation to the host father...

The verb ‘to stimulate; excite; arouse’ in Russian is возбуждать/возбудить. It conjugates like this:

Imperfective Perfective
Infinitive возбуждать возбудить
Past возбуждал
Present возбуждаю
No such thing as
perfective present
in Russian.
Future буду возбуждать
будешь возбуждать
будет возбуждать
будем возбуждать
будете возбуждать
будут возбуждать
Imperative возбуждай(те) возбуди(те)

This word can be used when one's appetite or thirst or curiosity or surprise are aroused:

Спорт возбуждает аппетит. Sports stimulate the appetite.
Жара возбуждает жажду. Hot weather arouses thirst.
Это замечание возбудило моё удивление. That comment surprised me.
(Lit., That comment stimulated my surprise.
Этот вопрос возбудил моё любопытство. The questions aroused my curiousity.

I suppose I must give at least one sexual example:

Клубника возбуждает сексуальные желания. Так и есть! Сама проверила! (source) Strawberries stimulate sexual desires. It's true! I verified it myself!


Comment from: Stuart [Visitor]

What is the correct word for to excite as opposed to arouse.

Don responds: It depends upon the context, of course, but if you are in someone’s presence at the moment of speaking and you want to say “I’m excited to see you”, then probably the best equivalent is something like «Я очень рад(а) тебя видеть».

07/18/11 @ 12:06
Comment from: Amanda [Visitor]

If you could do a post on how to properly say “I’m excited about/looking forward to… ” that would be very much appreciated. :) Thanks!

Don responds: Alas, I can’t seem to get such a post written, so here is a brief thought. I’d say the rough equivalent of “looking forward to” is «очень жду» or «с нетерпением жду», thus «Я очень жду нашу встречу» ~ “I’m really looking forward to seeing you”.

06/25/11 @ 23:10
Comment from: Shady_arc [Visitor]

2 John33317> It is, indeed! “В Киеве возбуждено уголовное дело по факту приготовления яичницы на Вечном огне”

Though, this use is for written language, mostly in news. Come to think of it, people rarely discuss procedings instigated against somebody in colloquial terms :)

06/24/11 @ 12:48
Comment from: John33317 [Visitor]

Isn’t this also the verb used when a criminal case is opened? Or maybe I’m not pronouncing things right!

Don responds: Yes, I think there is a usage of “to instigate proceedings against,” but I’m not sure whether it’s a current usage or not.

06/24/11 @ 10:23
Comment from: Sean Ray [Visitor]

I’m also in Kazan this summer with the Critical Language Scholarship program. It’s interesting to know that there are other groups of Americans studying here this summer!

06/24/11 @ 07:43

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