Proper Russian

Quick Notes

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Who the fuck named the Sahara Desert anyway

Sahara is just the Arabic word for “deserts”

You fucking named it the Desert Desert

way to fucking go

chai tea

I’ll take “European Imperialists Who Never Bothered To Translate The Local Languages” for $200, Alex.

"Soviet" means "union"
The Union Union

We’re good at this.

naan bread

maki roll

With all respect, Soviet (совет) means council or advice. Union is Союз. Councils or советы were elected representatives of the people’s will.

(via allthelanguages)

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Russian Popular Phrases

Russians like quotations from famous poems. To understand a speech of an average well-educated Russian, you have to recognize the most popular catch-phrases. I’m going to post some examples here, so you can support a nice conversation with smart Russian people.

На свете счастья нет,
Но есть покой и воля.

(literal translations: There’s no happiness in this world, but peace and freedom). Alexander Pushkin.

Filed under Poetry quotations poems Russian russian literature

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Memrise - Learn something new everyday

In case you haven’t heard about this service yet: Memrise - a community-driven learning tool that is good for building new vocabulary. Features:

  • Spaced repetition approach, i.e. you repeat words exactly when you start forgetting them
  • Bright, vivid pictures to facilitate memorizing new words
  • You can choose the course you like and need most
  • You can create your own courses and mems.

Filed under memrise online learning language learning tools

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Parts of Speech: Noun

According to Russian grammar books, noun is everything that may answer the question who? or what? Nouns may mean anything, but they represent everything as a thing, a subject, or an object. It is unreliable to identify a part of speech by its meaning or its function in a sentence. The most reliable way is to check its grammar characteristics. Grammatically speaking, Russian nouns have gender (they can not change gender, unlike adjectives), number and case. If a part of a speech has these three attributes (gender, number, case), it is a noun.


  • дом (a house) - a thing
  • Китай (China) - a country, a proper noun
  • чернота (darkness, blackness) - a colour (represented as an abstract concept)
  • бег (a run) - an action, represented as an object/subject
  • прохлада (coolness) - a state of being cool, a quality
  • юность (youth) - an abstract concept

Filed under russian russian grammar noun

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Today is the birthday of Victor Tsoi, one of the brightest stars on the Russian rock scene.

Filed under Tsoi

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Anonymous asked: I am really struggling with the declination of numbers in Russian dates. When do I use the prepositional case and when the genitive case? Or the real question is: when do I use the preposition в with dates? Why is it "я родилась 25-ого мая" and not "я родилась в 25-ом мая"? And what do I do with the years? Thank you so much for all your help! :)

I can understand your frustration, dear Anonymous. 

Genitive case for months when saying dates is because you actually say ‘25th OF May’, and ‘of’ normally equals Genitive in Russian. 

Indeed, saying dates in Russian is confusing. I really don’t know why we say ‘Я родилась двадцать первого января’, but ‘Я родилась в пятницу’. I hate the phrase “this is how we say it”, but I can’t find any better answer. 

As for years, it depends. If you want to say I was born in 1998, then you should say ‘Я родилась в 1998 году’. You indicate the year you were born, so you are kind of ‘inside’ the year -> В …. году. 

If you want to say “I was born on May 25, 1998”, in Russian this phrase sounds like “I was born in 25 of May of 1998” -> Я родилась двадцать пятого мая тысяча девятьсот девяносто восьмого года. 

I hope my explanations make it a little bit clearer. 

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Anonymous asked: How would you say "I was talking"? Just "я был говорить" or is there a special way of adding the Russian equivalent of "ing"?

Very good question, Anonymous!  

In Russian we have only three tenses - Past, Present and Future, but we have aspects to differentiate between continuous actions and actions that have been done. 

'ing' in English indicates the Continuous tense. We normally use the imperfective aspect for continuous actions. So, Я говорил is an adequate translation for 'I was talking'. 

'I said' would be 'Я сказал' (perfective).