Monday, December 31, 2012

Russian words about sleeping and a lullaby

  It's night time here, so I decided to share with you some Russian vocabulary about sleeping.

спать - to sleep
уснуть, заснуть - to fall alseep
просыпаться - to wake up
вставать - to wake up, to rise
будить, разбудить - to wake someone up
будильник - alarm-clock
сон - sleep, dream

бессонница - insomnia
кошмар - nightmare
видеть сны - to dream
сниться, присниться — to appear in dreams
сонный, сонливый - sleepy
храп - snore
храпеть - to snore
кровать, постель - bed
подушка - pillow
одеяло - blanket
колыбельная - lullaby
петь колыбельную - to sing a lullaby

сова - night owl, evening person
жаворонок - lark, morning person
голубь - "pigeon" (a person who doesn't have strong preferences to early or late waking up)

Idioms about sleeping:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tip of the week: Record yourself speaking Russian

  If you want to speak Russian, you'll have to actually do a lot of speaking. No matter how much you read in Russian or listen to Russian radio, you won't learn to speak the language fluently if you never open your mouth.

But don't stop there. Speak – and record yourself! You can easily make videos for YouTube and get useful feedback and encouragement there. Other reasons for recording yourself?

“-Forcing yourself to output something and getting used to pronouncing the words
-Burning the words of your video into your memory forever, since you’ll know them really well thanks to the preparation, especially as I describe it below
-Giving yourself a project to work towards with a deadline, forcing you to improve by that time”
-Benny Lewis.

(Read more here.)

To inspire you to give it a try, here are a few videos from people who, just like you, are learning Russian.




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Words that are always plural in Russian

  My husband and I were talking (in English) about chess the other day, and I referred to the game as 'them'. He asked me why, and I realized it was because chess in Russian – шахматы – is always plural. It's not the only word like that. For example, just like in English scissors and trousers are always plural, their Russian brothers are plural as well.

брюки - (formal) trousers
штаны - trousers, pants
джинсы - jeans 
шорты - shorts 
ножницы - scissors 
плоскогубцы (пассатижи) - lineman's pliers
кусачки (острогубцы) - diagonal pliers, wire cutters
щипцы - tongs, pliers, hair crimper
вилы - pitchfork
ворота - gate, gates
очки - glasses
шахматы - chess
весы - weigh-scales
часы - clock, watch
носилки - litter, palanquin, stretchers

Ножницы is always plural.

деньги - money

Monday, December 10, 2012

Plural form — exceptions in Russian

  Some words in Russian don't want to have a normal plural form. You have to memorize them.

друг — друзья friends
брат — братья brothers
мать — матери mothers
дочь — дочери daughters
сын — сыновья sons
муж — мужья husbands
человек — люди people
ребёнок — дети children
учитель — учителя teachers
доктор — доктора doctors
ухо — уши ears
лист — листья leaves
дерево — деревья trees

Interesting that most of these words are related to humans.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Russian Verb Conjugators

  Conjugation of Russian verbs is probably one of the trickiest things in Russian language. Eventually, with a lot of practice, you'll be using right forms automatically, but for now I recommend these websites:

If you can't find there the verb you need, try a similar verb (with similar suffixes and ending). You can search Wikitionary (Викисловарь) where you might find not only conjugations, but also synonyms, examples of usage and other things.

Do you know any other useful conjugators? Leave a comment below.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Russian vocabulary: Twilight vampires and werewolves

  Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 is in theaters now, so finally this “saga” is over. For those of you learning Russian who like Twilight stuff, here is a bit of useful vocabulary.

Белла Свон
Эдвард Каллен
Джейкоб Блэк

вампир - vampire
кровь - blood
клыки - fangs
кусать - to bite
яд - poison, venom
чтение мыслей - mind reading
читать мысли - to read someone's mind
оборотень - werewolf or were- anything
индеец - an Indian
стая - pack
вожак (стаи) - leader (of a pack)
запечатление - imprinting
скучная героиня - boring heroine
Спайк гораздо лучше Эдварда — Spike is so much better than Edward

Books' titles in Russian:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Russian names for weekdays and their origin

In this post you'll learn Russian words for days of the week. It might be easier to memorize them when you know about their origin.

понедельник - Monday
comes from неделя - week

вторник - Tuesday
второй - second

среда - Wednesday
середина - middle

четверг - Thursday
четвёртый - fourth

пятница - Friday
пятый - fifth

Friday, November 9, 2012

Сказать and its siblings

  Сказать (to say) is a very common Russian word. Knowing it, you can easily learn a few more words that contain сказать. Think of Russian language as Lego – you can build new words by adding prefixes, suffixes, even other words. Let's look at what can be done with сказать.

сказать — to say, to tell, to speak
рассказать — to tell, to narrate
предсказать — to predict (from перед - before)
подсказать — to direct, to prompt
высказать, высказаться — to speak out, to express oneself
пересказать — to paraphrase, to retell

From these verbs you can make nouns:

сказка — fairytale
рассказ — (short) story
рассказчик — storyteller, narrator
предсказание — prediction, prophecy
предсказатель — soothsayer, prophet
подсказка — hint, prompt, cue
высказывание — observation, statement
пересказ — retelling, rendering

Сказать has -каз- for its root, с- is its prefix. Drop it, and you get to make even more words.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Idioms and proverbs about fear in Russian

Below are five Russian idioms and proverbs about fear.

1. У страха глаза велики - «Fear has big eyes»
A coward sees danger everywhere.

2. Глаза боятся, а руки делают (глаза страшатся, а руки делают) - «Eyes are scared, but hands are working»
We say this when we have to start doing something difficult, something that might take forever to accomplish. It's a way to encourage someone: it's not that hard, it's doable.

3. На свой страх и риск - «For one's own fear and risk»
It's about taking responsibility all by yourself. For example, you want to do something risky that no one will help you with, no one will support you – you'll be doing it на свой страх и риск.

4. Рыцарь без страха и упрёка - «A knight without fear or blame»
Often used jokingly: a brave man, a gentleman without flaws.

5. Волка бояться, в лес не ходить - «Being afraid of a wolf means not going to the forest»
If you're afraid of something, you won't do it, so just forget about your fears (and wolves) and do it!

Basic vocabulary:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Learn Russian cursive letters with these videos!

 I found these great videos on MrsRussianLanguage's channel. They can help you learn how to write Russian letters. Russian handwriting might seem difficult to learn, but nothing is impossible if you try hard enough. Good luck!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Russian fairy tale Teremok

Теремок (or Терем-теремок) is a well-known Russian skazka (fairy tale), and it's rather easy to read for people learning Russian. Terem is a type of a house.

You can read one of the story's versions here (features some beautiful illustrations). I'll help you with cute animal nicknames from there:

мышка, мышь - mouse, нора - hole, burrow

лягушка - frog, квакать - to croak, ква-ква - ribbit, croak

зайчик, заяц - hare, бегать - to run

лисичка, лиса - fox, сестричка, сестра - sister

волчок-серый бочок
волчок, волк - wolf, серый бок - grey side

медведь косолапый
медведь - bear, косолапый - bandy-legged

Such names are used for these animals not only in Teremok, so if you plan on reading more Russian skazkas, they can be useful to know. You can also read my post about making Russian words cuter (like мышка и зайчик).

And you can always listen to two audio versions of the story or watch a cartoon in Russian.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I have / I don't have in Russian

  In Russian we rarely use the verb иметь (to have) when talking about owning something. The most common way to say you have something is to use у меня есть:

У меня есть собака. - I have a dog.
У тебя есть телефон. - You have a phone.
У тебя есть эта штука? - Do you have this thing?
У вас есть блендер? - Do you have a blender?

If you don't have something, you use у меня нет:

У меня нет времени. - I don't have time.
У меня нет сил. - I'm tired (literally: I don't have powers).
У него нет денег. - He doesn't have money.
У них нет детей. - They don't have kids.
У меня нет никакого желания это делать. - I don't have any desire to do it.

In colloquial we often skip есть completely:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Russian anecdote about Vovochka

  This is a very old anecdote that many Russians know. It features Vovochka, a character of quite many Russian anecdotes. There are a few versions of this particular story, I'm posting the one I heard in childhood.

Учительница показывает детям ужа и спрашивает:
-Дети, вы знаете, кто это такой?
Никто не знает.
Тут Вовочка встаёт и подходит к ужу. Он гладит ужа по голове и задумчиво говорит:
-Так вот ты какой, северный олень!

A teacher shows a grass-snake to her pupils.
“Do you know who this is?” she asks.
No one knows.
Then Vovochka stands up and approaches the snake. He strokes its head and contemplatively says:
“That's how you look like, the reindeer!”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Russian prefix от-

  The prefix от- comes from a preposition от (from, of). Words with от- often mean moving away from somewhere.

отсюда - from here, hence
откуда - where from
отойти - leave, withdraw, stand back
отъехать - pull off, drive off
отлететь - fly off
отбежать - run away
отнести - carry away
отменить - to cancel
отложить - lay aside, save
отстать - fall behind
отвернуться - face away, turn one's back
отодвинуться - to move away


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Russian word of the day: соль

  Some salty Russian vocabulary for you today. ;) This post also shows you how Russian words can be made by using prefixes and suffixes. So many words are made from one simple соль!

соль - salt
солонка - salt shaker
солёный - salty
несолёный - unsalted
солить - to salt
пересолить - to oversalt
пересоленный - oversalted, too salty
недосолить - to salt not enough
недосоленный - not salty enough
засолить - to marinade, to pickle
солёные огурцы (маринованные огурцы) - pickled cucumbers
рассол - brine, pickle-water (a popular post-hangover «medicine» in Russia ^^ )
рассольник - a traditional Russian soup made from pickled cucumbers and sometimes with brine too (I don't like it at all, even though I love pickles.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Celebrities speaking Russian

  Some foreign celebrities have Russian roots or lived in Russia, so they speak Russian a bit. Some learned a few words for their visit to Russia or to play a Russian character. Below are a few videos of famous actors speaking Russian. If they are not afraid to speak sometimes not so perfect Russian in public, why should you be? ;)

Mila Kunis

Milla Jovovich
Turn the subtitles on by clicking CC. Some fun insights into Russian weddings and drinking of alcohol :D. The video ends with everyone performing a song in Ukrainian.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Russian idioms about cats =^.^=

  In the Russian language we have quite a few idioms featuring cats. Either we adore cats a bit too much or Russian simply is a rich language ;). Below are a few pretty common Russian cat idioms.

  • жить как кошка с собакой - «to live like a cat and a dog» - to constantly argue and fight, a cat-and-dog life; can be shortened to как кошка с собакой to describe someone's relationship
  • как кот наплакал - «as little as a cat wept» - very little
  • кошки на душе скребут - «cats are scratching one's soul» - to worry; can also be about one's heart: кошки на сердце скребут
  • доброе слово и кошке приятно - «a kind word is pleasant for a cat too»
  • кот в мешке - «a cat in a sack» - something you buy without knowing much about its quality or usefulness; pig in a poke
  • (идти) коту под хвост - «(to go) under a cat's tail» - go to waste; in vain, down the drain
  • тянуть кота за хвост - «to pull a cat's tail» - to hesitate, to postpone
  • не всё коту масленица - «not all days are Maslenitsa* for a cat» - a good situation doesn't last forever.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Russian half

  In Russian language we use пол- in the same way as semi- and half- are used in English. It originates from половина («a half»). There are many words that start with пол-, such as:

полчаса - half an hour
полтора - one and a half
полпути - halfway
полдороги - halfway
полдень - noon (literally «half-day»)

Instead of пол- we sometimes use полу-. The meaning is the same. I'm not sure why some words have пол- and others полу-, to be honest. Maybe because it sounds better in those words?

полумесяц - half moon, crescent
полуночный - midnight (adj.)
полуторачасовой - hour and a half long
полувековой - semicentennial
получасовой - half-hour long
полуденный - midday (adj.)
полумрак - twilight, semidarkness

If after пол- we have a vowel or л, the word will have a hyphen:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Russian morphology: negative prefix не-

  Russian prefix не- comes from нет and works just as English prefixes un-, non-, in- etc. When you see a word starting with не-, there is a very big chance it means something negative. If you know what this word would mean without не-, you can guess the meaning of it with the prefix.

Some examples:

небольшой - small
невысокий - short, low
неженатый - single, unmarried
неважный - unimportant
непонятный - incomprehensible
некрасивый - ugly
некоторый - some, unspecified
невероятный - incredible, impossible
нежирный - low-fat

некто - somebody
нечто - something


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Russian self, linguistically speaking

  Today we'll look at the Russian word for self – сам. Below are examples of its use, words with the same root and more.

сам - oneself, itself (masc.)
само - oneself, itself (neut.)
сама - oneself, itself (fem.)
сами - oneself, itself (pl.)

с самим собой - with oneself
разговаривать с самим собой - to talk to oneself

сам по себе - by itself, by oneself, alone
Кошка гуляет сама по себе. - A cat is walking by itself (i.e. choosing her own way).

Я сама связала этот шарф. - I knitted this scarf by myself.
Я сам! - I'll do it alone/by myself!
Машина едет сама. - The car is driving on its own.
Он любит говорить только о самом себе. - He likes to talk only about himself.
Сделай это сам. - Do it yourself.
Сами они из Австралии. - They themselves are from Australia.
Он сама невинность. - He is innocence itself.
Само собой я сделаю это. - Of course I'll do it.
Он сам не знает, что говорит. - He himself doesn't know what he is saying.
Сам Пушкин не смог бы написать лучше. - Pushkin himself wouldn't be able to write (it) better.
Им самим нетрудно это сделать. - It's not hard for them to do it by themselves.

Complex words with -сам- root:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Are Russian words too long?

 Чувствовать, необыкновенный, железнодорожный, бессердечный, преподаватель, североамериканский... These words are so long! How can you learn them at all? Russian language might seem tough, but fear no more – I'm going to show you that even such monsters as железнодорожный are learnable.

First, remember that big words are made from smaller words and morphemes. For example 'North American' in Russian is североамериканский. It's made from words северный (northern) and американский (American). Северный is made from север (north), and aмериканский is made from Америка (America).

Преподаватель (a teacher) is made from преподавать (to teach) which in turn is made from давать (to give). Пре-, по- and -тель are prefixes and a suffix. So in the heart of this big word lies a short давать that you can easily learn.

From железо (iron) we can make железный (iron, adj.), from дорога (road) — дорожный (related to roads), and together they make железнодорожный — railroad (adj.). Looks less scary now, doesn't it?

Поприветствовать (to greet) is made from привет (hello) by adding a few morphemes. I'm sure you know привет already. ;)

По-весеннему (like in spring) is made from весна (spring).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Voices of Russian Women

  A small collection of Russian songs for you :).





Monday, July 9, 2012

Russian superstitions.

  Superstitions and weird beliefs still thrive in Russia. How many times have I heard “Don't whistle in the house!” because otherwise there won't be any money in this house. Or “My ears are hot. Someone must be berating me!” And I'm not kidding, people actually believe in these kinds of things. Not everyone though – most of my friends are less superstitious than my aunts and uncles. Hopefully one day whistling inside of the house will no longer be forbidden, because these restrictions are quite annoying to me :).

There are tons of superstitions in Russia, some of them are regional and rare, some are more common. I'll list here only those that I heard constantly when living in Moscow.

  • If you drop a fork, you'll have guests, probably male.
  • Hiccups mean someone is thinking about you right now.
  • It's a bad sign to give something over a threshold, both people should be either outside or inside.
  • If you break a mirror, there will be seven years of misfortune.
  • If you break dishes, something good will happen.
  • But do not keep broken dishes – that would only bring misfortune. Even if there is a tiny crack on a cup, you have to throw it. Even if you really really like it...
  • Rain before traveling means your trip will be safe.
  • If a black cat crosses your path, something bad will happen. To protect yourself from it you should hold a button on your clothes when you meet a black cat.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Russian poetry read by a native

  Below are five Russian poems recited by Boris Vetrov. I linked to their texts as well, so you can read along if you want.

Alexander PushkinУ Лукоморья

Vladimir NabokovВ полнолунье

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to say you are for or against something in Russian

  If you want to say you're for something, you use за. If you're against something you use против. On to examples!

за - for
против - against

быть за — to be in favour
быть против — to be against
Ты за? - Are you in favour [of it]?
Кто за? - Those in favour?
Все против. - All against.
Ты не против? - You're not against it? Do you mind?
Ты не против, если я возьму это? - Do you mind if I take this?
Я за мир во всём мире. - I'm for world peace.
Я против войны. - I'm against war.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Russian adjectives turned into nouns

  Sometimes adjectives no longer want to play the roles assigned to them and become nouns. At least that's what happens in Russian once in a while. Such newborn adjective-nouns look and conjugate like adjectives but play the role of nouns in a sentence. I'll give you a few examples.

книжный - bookstore
Я купила журнал в книжном. - I bought a magazine in a bookstore.
столовая - dining-hall
В столовой было много народу. - There were many people in the dining-hall.
гостиная - living room
В их доме две гостиных. - There are two living rooms in their house.
парикмахерская - hairdressing saloon
Он пошёл в парикмахерскую. - He went to a hairdressing saloon.
слепой - blind person
глухой - deaf person
У слепых и глухих бывает много проблем. - Blind and deaf people face many problems.
немой - mute person
Немые учат язык жестов. - Mute people learn sign language.
русский - Russian person
Русская и американка позавтракали в кафе. - A Russian and an American girl had a breakfast in a cafe.
дорогой - darling, dear
Дорогой, принеси мне мой телефон. - Darling, bring me my phone.
военный - military man
По улице шли военные. - Military men walked down the street.
другой - other
Мы часто не замечаем проблемы других. - We often don't notice problems of others.
остальной - the rest
Остальное можно оставить здесь. - The rest can be left here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Russian tongue-twisters – for the brave learners!

  One of the ways to practice pronunciation of foreign words is learning tongue-twisters. Russian tongue-twisters (скороговорки, from скорый - fast and говорить - to speak) might seem pretty hard, but it's a fun way to master all those weird sounds. :) Below are three videos from Russian natives. First two are easier, and the third one is for the bravest of you – even I cannot say all of those tongue-twisters. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Japanese words in Russian language

  With Japanese culture now being so popular in many countries including Russia, it's no wonder that other languages borrow words from Japanese. Below are a few Russian words of Japanese origin.

Some such words are quite common. Most Russians know what kimono and karate mean. Others are better known amidst people who like Japanese culture, for example tanka and shamisen.

кимоно, сакура, икебана, бонсаи/бонсай, суси/суши, васаби, дайкон, мисо, соба, саке, цунами, катана, самурай, сёгун, харакири, камикадзе, ниндзя, банзай, боккэн/бокен, айкидо, дзюдо, джиу-джитсу, карате/каратэ, сэнсэй, сумо, тануки, кицунэ, гейша, сямисэн, кото, тайко, оригами, го, тамагочи, хокку, хайку, танка, синтоизм/синто, дзэн

Young Russians are often familiar with words related to manga and anime. Even those who don't watch anime usually know what kawaii and nya mean. Below are words mostly from young people's slang.

манга, аниме, анимешный (adjective: anime-related, like in anime), анимешник (a fan of anime), косплей, косплейщик (a cosplayer), отаку, сэйю, кавай/кавайи/каваий (adverb or noun?), кавайный (adjective), кавайно (adverb), кавайность (noun: kawaiiness), ня!, няшка (noun: something cute), няшный (adjective: cute), покемон, гайдзин, гайдзинка (female gaijin)


Monday, April 23, 2012

Youtube for studying Russian language

  Youtube doesn't consist of only cat videos and music. You can find there recipes, BBC and National Geographic videos and even free language lessons. Here is what I found for studying Russian.

Learn Russian Online



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Double agents of Russian language

  Many, if not all, languages have homonyms (омонимы) – words that look and sound the same but have different meanings. Think of 'bow' or 'cool' in English, they too have more than one meaning. Russian is no exception. It might make things confusing even for someone advanced in the language, when you see a word like ручка and don't know if this time it means a handle or a pen. I'll give you some examples of Russian homonyms.

лук — onion; bow (weapon)
мылоsoap; email
ручка — handle; pen
коса — scythe; braid; spit (landform)
косой — cross-eyed; askew, sideways; nickname for a hare
бабочка — butterfly; bow-tie
брак — marriage; spoilage, flaw (in a product)
мир — peace; world; society («Война и мир» - “War and peace” can also be translated from Russian as 'War and society' and 'War and world')
киви — kiwi fruit; kiwi bird
мука — torture (мука — first syllable is stressed); flour (мука — second syllable is stressed)
чайник — teapot, kettle; inexperienced driver, a beginner in general, a dummy (colloquial word).

Monday, April 2, 2012

Viktor Tsoi – a Soviet rock legend

  It's been so many years since Viktor Tsoi died, but he and his songs still live in the hearts of fans. He was – well, he still is – a legend. Of Russian and Korean origin, he formed a band called Kino, and became an icon for people of so many nations in USSR and beyond. I like his songs, and my friends in Moscow would often play them on acoustic guitar and sing. Below are just a few bits of Viktor Tsoi's heritage.

(Pechal' - Sadness)

Группа крови
(Gruppa krovi — Blood type)

(Kukushka - Cuckoo)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A bit of Russian humour. Brace yourself

  Sometimes even I don't understand certain Russian stuff. Russian folklore gave birth to quite many strange things. The other day a friend sent me an old joke that I just had to share with you. Let's see if it makes you smile :).

По реке плывёт кирпич, деревянный как стекло, ну и пусть себе плывёт, нам не нужен пенопласт.

A brick is floating down the river, as wooden as glass. Let it float, we don't need that styrofoam.

Yep, you read it right. I don't have anything else to say.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Indian folktale turned into a Soviet cartoon

  I've watched this cartoon countless times. A beautiful and kind golden antelope helps a little boy escape from the evil raja's hands. It's a story about greed and friendship, and there are many cute animals there ^^.

Золотая антилопа (zolotaya antilopa)
The Golden Antelope

USSR, 1954.
Script by Nikolay Abramov.
Directed by Lev Atamanov.
More info about this cartoon here (in Russian).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A weird type of a Russian dog

  You've met this dog before, you just didn't know it was called a dog. In Russian language the symbol @ is called собака (sobaka, a dog) or собачка (sobachka, a small dog). I don't know any other name for @ in Russian.

When you tell your email to someone, you say собака for @: — хххх собака ххх точка ком
очка, tochka - a dot)

There are two theories about the origin of this word. One states that @ in certain Soviet computers had a shorter “tail” and looked more like a dog. Another version is that in some game called Adventure there was a dog following a player, and @ was its symbol.

Russian language can be cute as well! :)

Read also about what Russian email and soap have in common here.
Read a Wikipedia article about @ in Russian here.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Russian word with 3 "E" in a row

  My grandfather once asked me, if I knew a word with three "e" in a row. I couldn't think of any. He told me that the word was длинношеее, long-necked (neutral form). I didn't believe it and had to write it down to see for myself :).


It's made from длинный (long) and шея (neck). Masculine form is длинношеий, feminine - длинношеяя.

For example, длинношеее животное — long-necked animal
or длинношеее создание — long-necked creature.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Russian words for “both”

  There are two words (or rather, two forms of a word) for “both” in Russian language:
оба — for masculine and neutral nouns
обе — for feminine nouns.

оба носка — both socks
оба друга — both friends

оба ведра — both buckets
оба солнца — both suns

обе девушки — both girls
обе стороны — both sides


Thursday, February 9, 2012

When Russian prepositions are in love...

  What happens when two prepositions meet and fall in love? They want to stay together!

That's what happened a long time ago when two Russian prepositions из (from) met за (behind) and под (under). They liked each other so much that they merged into new prepositions — из-за (from behind) and из-под (from under). Let's see how they are used nowadays.


Кот вытащил игрушку из-за дивана.
The cat pulled its toy from behind the sofa.

Из-за горы показалось солнце.
Sun appeared from behind a mountain.

This preposition also has another meaning – из-за can mean 'because'.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Word game

  My husband and I sometimes play this simple word game. He is a Finn and he studies Russian. I'm a Russian who studies Finnish. So we play it in Finnish or Russian. The rules are simple. You say a word, the next person says a word starting from the last letter of the first word, and so on.

машина — ананас — сок — кожа — апельсин — норма — авария — яхта

If you are learning Russian, you could play this game with someone. You will have to recall all the Russian words you know and pay attention to how words are spelled, so it's good practice. Russians usually have a rule of using only nouns, but it's up to you how you want to play it. If the word ends with ь (there are no words in Russian language that start with it), then you need to use previous letter.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wings, legs and tails

  I'm making videos for this blog now (there'll be a special Youtube channel for 33 letters ^^), so while I'm busy with them you can watch this wonderful and a bit crazy Russian cartoon. Enjoy!

Wings, legs and tails
Крылья, ноги и хвосты

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Funny Russian Word

  The other day we had guests from Russia, and they wondered how to translate a certain Russian word to English. We couldn't find an exact translation :). The word is хомячить (homyachit'), made from хомяк — a hamster. It's a verb that describes eating greedily, stuffing your mouth like a hamster.

I guess we can translate it as 'to hamster'? :) It's a pretty new word, you probably will not find it in Pushkin's poems, but isn't the word cute? It seems to me it's usually used when talking about people, not other animals. Hard to imagine a hamstering cat :).

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