Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Russian New Year song about a Christmas tree

  This song is classic. I can't imagine a Russian person who doesn't know it. It's called «В лесу родилась ёлочка» (literally: in the forest a little fir was born).

Friday, December 16, 2011

“How old are you?” in Russian

  If you want to know someone's age, in English you ask “How old are you?” And in Russian you say...

“How many summers are you?”
Сколько тебе лет?

лето - summer
лет means years but originally it was summers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Russian vocabulary: eating

 Do you eat a lot? Or maybe you become full after just a few bites? Today I'll show you how to describe yourself eating-wise in Russian.

Eating vocabulary:

food — еда
to eat — есть, кушать
hunger — голод
hungry — голодный
to become hungry — проголодаться
glutton — обжора
have a sweet tooth – быть сладкоежкой
sweet tooth — сладкоежка (literally: the one who eats sweets)
gourmet – лакомка, гурман


голодный как собака — really hungry (literally: hungry like a dog)
есть как цыплёнок — to eat very little, to barely touch food (literally: to eat like a chicken)
Путь к сердцу мужчины лежит через желудок. — The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gagarin and butterflies

  This is a short and really cute Russian cartoon that you can enjoy without even knowing any Russian. I'll tell you one word from it, though - “поехали! poyehali!” That's what Yuri Gagarin said before his ship took off to space. It means “Let's go!”


Directed by Aleksey Kharitidi.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feeling lazy, Russian style

  How to say you're lazy to do something in Russian? Quite easy! Мне лень. That's it. It's pretty convenient when you're feeling all lazy to say anything longer, right? ;-)

On to examples!
лень - laziness

Надо помыть посуду, но мне лень.
Dishes should be washed, but I don't want to do it.

— Таня, почему ты не сделала это?
— Лень!
«Tanya, why didn't you do it?» - «I felt lazy!»

Ему было лень вынести мусор.
He couldn't be bothered to take thrash out.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Prefixes без- and бес-.

  If you've studied Russian for a while you've probably noticed that this language is rich with prefixes and suffixes. By using them you can build new words.  Today let's look at the prefixes без- and бес-.

без- and бес-

Both mean «without». They're similar to English -less, -free. They can be used in:
  • nounsбезопасность, safety (без + опасность, danger); безработица, worklessness (без + работа, work)
  • verbs бездействовать, be inactive (без + действовать, to act)
  • adverbsбезнадёжно, hopelessly (без + надежда, hope); бесследно, without a trace (без + след, trace)
  • adjectivesбездомный, homeless (без+ дом, home); безоблачный, cloudless (без + облако, cloud).

Sometimes you just add the prefix to another word like in безопасность, sometimes you change the original word like in бездомный.

When to use без- and when бес-? It's pretty simple. Look at the next sound in the word. If it's a sonant or a vowel, use без-. If it's a breath consonant, you use бес-.

Russian sonants are:
Б, В, Г, Д, З, Ж, Й, Л, М, Н, Р

Friday, November 18, 2011

8 Russian songs you may like

…well, at least I like them already :). I don't listen to Russian music often, but there are a few songs in Russian that I really like, so today I want to share them with you.

Би-2 и Чичерина – Мой Рок-Н-Ролл
Bi-2 feat. Chicherina – My Rock'n'roll


Мельница — Королевна
Melnitsa — Princess


Линда — Танец под водой
Linda — Dance under water
(with a bit of Japanese)


Ария — Осколок Льда
Aria — Splinter of Ice

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm like you! Aka Russian ways to be similar

How to say that A is like B in Russian? There are two main ways to do so.

1. The first way is by using the word похожий (similar, resembling) or its shorter forms:
похож — masc.
похожа — femin.
похоже — neutr.
похожи — plural.

Они похожи. - They are similar. / They look similar.

This word can be used for similarity in appearance or anything else.

You use preposition на after похожий, like this:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's your name in Russian?

  Russians used to have lots of original names that actually had meaning in our language. Now there are very few of them left, for example Vladimir (“one who owns the world”, masc.) and Snezhana (from “snow”, fem.). Most of modern names in Russia are of Greek, Latin, Scandinavian, etc. origin. So if your name isn't Russian there's still a chance to find its counterpart in Russian as well. Let's look at some examples.

Feminine names:
Anastasia – Анастасия (Anastasiya)
Angela, Angeline, Angelica – Анжела, Анжелика (Anzhela, Anzhelika)
Ann, Anna, Hanna, Hannele – Анна (Anna)
Anya – Аня, pet form of Anna
Catherine – Екатерина (Yekaterina)
Darya, Daria, Tarja – Дарья (Dar'ya)
Elisabeth – Елизавета (Yelizaveta)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Жил-был пёс

I love this old cartoon! It's sad yet funny and I can watch it over and over again. Trust me, it's a must see.

With English subtitles :).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Making Russian words cuter

 Russian language is quite rich. There are so many ways to express your thoughts in Russian! One of the things I really like in my language is the variety of diminutive suffixes. Here's definition of a diminutive from Wikipedia:
“In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form (abbreviated dim), is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment.”
They can be found in nouns, adjectives and adverbs. Let's look at nouns today.

Who is собачка? It's a small dog (собака). And what is окошко? A small window (окно). Of course you could just say маленькая собака, небольшое окно, but your Russian will sound more natural when you use diminutive suffixes.

Заяц — зайчик, зайка.

Examples of some common diminutive suffixes:
-ик: пёсик (a small male dog, from пёс — a male dog); братик (a little brother, from брат — a brother);
-ок: росток (a sprout, from рост — growth); пирожок (a small pie, from пирог — a pie);
-чик: пальчик (a small finger, from палец — a finger); кранчик (a small tap, from кран — a tap);
-к: дочка (a little daughter, from дочь — daughter); ночка (from ночь — a night); речка (a small river, from река — a river); ведёрко (a small bucket, from ведро — a bucket);
-ичк, -ечк: водичка (from вода — water); табличка (a tablet, a sign plate, from табло — a panel, an indicator); ложечка (a small spoon, from ложка — a spoon).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A bit of Russian cuisine

 Often when we learn a language of some country we're also curious about culture of that place. And culture includes cooking traditions as well. I'll show a few video-recipes of meals quite common in Russia. Most are Russian, one comes from another Slavic nation. Prepare to salivate! All videos are in Russian so it's good practice for you.

Draniki, potato pancakes

I love draniki, they're so yummy! Though it's originally a Belarusian meal, many Russians also enjoy draniki from fresh potatoes in the summer. I love draniki with garlic, but it's optional. You can also serve them with some sour cream, if you want.

So, for this recipe you'll need 7-8 average potatoes, 1 onion, 1 table spoon of sour cream, 1 egg (optional, I always make draniki without it), flour (depends on how moist raw potato mesh will be, probably you'll need 1-2 tablespoons), salt and black pepper to taste and oil for frying. It's a very easy recipe, and if you love fried potatoes – it's a must.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Word of the day – мыло

What do soap and email have in common? In English language probably nothing, but in Russian language they share a word. They both are called мыло.

Мыло originally meant only soap, but then the era on internet came, and with it, a need for a short, colloquial word for email. Of course you could use электронная почта (but it's so long!) or имейл (too foreign perhaps?), but apparently that wasn't enough. So someone started using similarly sounding мыло instead of имейл. Both мыло and имейл are very informal and colloquial and are often used in everyday speech.

I'll give you some examples of how this word мыло is used. Let's start from soapy stuff:

мыть мылом — to wash something with soap
мыться мылом — to wash oneself with soap
мыльная вода — soapy water
весь в мыле — (literally «all in lather»), lathery, in a lather
натуральное мыло — natural soap
мыльница — a soapbox, a soap dish

Friday, September 30, 2011

Russian songs with lyrics + Singing vocabulary

I have found a nice channel on Youtube that shares Russian songs with their lyrics and much more. Even if you don't like singing, it's still a nice practice for listening comprehension. (If you want to know 7 reasons for using music and singing in your language practice, read this.)

In addition here's some useful Russian vocabulary:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Russian handwriting...

...can be tricky for foreigners and natives alike. Try to read what Russian doctors wrote in your record – mankind will land on Neptune before doctors' handwriting becomes readable. :-) Mere mortals can have clear handwriting, elegant one, messy one, weird one, etc.

Half of my friends say my handwriting is unreadable, and the other half says it's special. But I'll still show you how I write. If you speak Russian but never actually read what others write it may be quite hard when you finally try. So why not start now?


Why are you running away? It's not scary!


Well... I'll try again.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Soviet cartoon «Просто так»

One of the sweetest cartoons ever made. :-)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My favourite Russian saying

Язык мой — враг мой.
My tongue is my enemy.

That's true. Sometimes we say things that we regret saying. For example, you said something to an angry person, and this person started shouting at you. Now you think it probably was better to stay quiet. You think your tongue is your enemy. Язык мой — враг мой.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Word of the Day + Russian song

How to say that you like something in Russian? One of ways is to use нравится. Here is how you do it:

Мне нравится... - I like...
Мне не нравится... - I don't like...

You can use verbs after this word:
Кате нравится слушать музыку. - Kate likes listening to music.
Мише не нравится пить молоко. - Misha doesn't like to drink milk.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Skinny Russian

Today we'll talk about being a skinny Russian ;-). Russian language has a lot to say about being not that fat, so let's have a look.

Basic vocabulary:
худой, тощий — slim, skinny;
толстый — fat, thick.

You can see how the words худой and толстый are conjugated here:

When people see that I eat a lot but don't gain any weight (ever), they say
не в коня корм (literally it means “not into a horse food” = a horse is fed but not gaining weight).
Usually they say it with a smile, like this :-).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

1st of September – Russian day of knowledge

This day is a very special day for Russian pupils and students. It is time to leave summer vacation behind and go back to school. Some are happy about it, some are not :-).

I still remember 1st of September when I was a kid. Lots of flowers for teachers, all the school gathered in a school yard, and some music, and something more... I'm not sure. I'm getting old, it seems.

Anyway, today is a special day for you and me, too. Because this blog officially starts! Yay!

Yay, anyone?

Anybody here?

Oh, I see some faces. Hello! Привет всем!

Today our studies fun starts. I do hope to make this blog a place where you can come to find answers to all your Russian language related questions. I'm not a teacher of Russian, I'm just a native, and I'm your source of modern and spoken language. Real people don't talk like they do in textbooks. And I'm going to show you how I talk, how my friends talk and people around me. I'm from Moscow, so of course I can't cover local dialects, but will you please forgive me for this? *begging eyes*

So, let's talk about... fingers!

Russian finger vocabulary
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