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:
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