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
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