by Don  

The word море means sea. It's one of the few nouns in Russian that ends in -е and has a soft consonant before it. Many two-syllable neuter nouns in Russian have a stress shift in the plural. In this case, the noun is stem-stressed in the singular, and end-stressed in the plural. It declines like this:


The seas closest to Russia are:

Балтийское море The Baltic Sea
Каспийское море The Caspian Sea
Азовское море The Azov Sea
Чёрное море The Black Sea
Японское море The Sea of Japan

Notice that the «море» part in Russian is not capitalized.

Russians love to go to the sea of vacation, especially to a sea that is warm and has palm trees. Back in the Soviet period, one of their favorite places was Ялта, a city on the Black Sea that had, relative to Moscow, a warm climate. (By Arizona standards the place is refreshingly cool, but of course this blog is not entitled “Arizona Word of the Day,” so the Moscow viewpoint must predominate.) Море is a на word. In otherwords, when you talk about going to the sea or being at the seashore, you must use the preposition на, not в.

Я люблю Чёрное море. I love the Black Sea.
Ты когда-нибудь был на Каспийском море? Have you ever been at/on the Caspian Sea?
В выходные мы съездили на Аральское море. Страшно видеть, как оно умирает. Last weekend we went to the Aral Sea. It's scary to see it die like that.
Огромное нефтяное пятно движется к Балтийскому морю. (source) A huge oil spill is moving toward the Baltic Sea.

In Modern American English we mostly talk about going “to the beach” in these contexts, so “sea” will often not appear in such translations.

— Что ты делал на выходных?
— Я ездил на море.
“What did you do on the weekend?”
“I went to the beach.”
— Что ты хочешь делать на выходные?
— Давай поедем на море.
“What do you want to do for the weekend?”
“Let's go to the beach.”

1 comment

Comment from: Graeme Macdonald [Visitor]

It’s scary to “sea” it die like that.

You know, my progress in learning Russian is so slow, my only fun in life in spotting other people’s typos… ;)

Seriously, site is a joy to read, thank you.

Don responds: Hm. Wish I had done that on purpose. That would have almost been amusing. Typo fixed. Thanks!

09/09/11 @ 08:18

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