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Russian language "live": Everyday's expressions' Journal

Saturday, July 28, 2007

7:29PM - Б/у, сэконд-хэнд

The things having had a previous owner are called б/у (pronounced бэ-у) or сэконд-хэнд in slangy speech. Б/у is an abbreviation for бывший в употреблении, originates from private ads in newspapers. Synonym: бэушный. (Бэушная Нокия = Б/у Нокия)

The word "сэконд-хэнд" refers mostly to clothing.

7:07PM - Родной

Родной (adj., m.) - slangy: accessory belonging to something from the very beginning, original packaging, not replaced.

Literally: native, own. Compare: родной брат, родная речь.

1. Как носить молокоотсос на работу? В родной коробке неудобно, может быть, есть какие-то специальные сумочки? (How should I take the breast pump with me at work? Its package is not handy, are there any special bags for it?)

2. Купил б/у Нокию, довольно потрепанная, конечно, но батарейка и наушники родные. (I bought a secondhand Nokia, it's really worn, of course, but the battery and the earphones are original.)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

2:08PM - Порожняк

Порожняк - (n., m.) - useless, goalless, vain ideas or acts. Waste of one own's time, but often waste of other people's time. Often, everyone is fully aware in advance that there will be no result.
Also: порожняковый - (adj.) - день, мысль, идея, разговор и т.п.

Literally: no freight.

На той неделе в офис приходил Петров, смотрел студию, оборудование, рассказывал, как и что снимать собирается для своей программы, но, как обычно в его случае, это всё был какой-то порожняк - с тех пор пропал. (Last week, Petrov came to the office, examined the studio, the equipment, told us how and what he would shoot for his TV program, but as usual in his case, it was a total waste of time - since then he disappeared.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

1:17AM - Подогнать

Подогнать (v., perf.asp., подгонять - imperf.asp.):
I. To drive, to hurry up, to urge on.
Examples: Read more...Collapse )

12:34AM - Результаты опроса

Ниже выборочно представлены результаты опроса. Большое спасибо всем, принявшим участие.

Below you can find the selected results of the poll. Thank you to everyone who replied.
Read more...Collapse )

Saturday, May 13, 2006

2:21AM - Quiz results

Okay, we successfully finished our first Very Important Quiz. I hope you liked it, and probably you'll get such short tests from time to time.

The quiz consisted of 9 questions based on daily_russian's articles, some questions had more than 1 correct answer. There were 10 replies (not so many), and unfortunately none of the participants got the maximum possible mark. But anyway, there're two winners, who gave the best answers. Below you can find the answers' review, and now...

The Oscar "Best Reader" title goes to...



Congratulations!! :) I'm not sure you'll like the userpics, but anyway you have your title :)

Read the answers' review.Collapse )

Thursday, May 11, 2006

12:50AM - Опрос - CLOSED


И теперь небольшой опрос для всех читателей, в том числе и для русскоговорящих, при этом английская версия несколько отличается. Ваши ответы помогут лучше представлять аудиторию коммьюнити. Комментарии скрываются. Спасибо!

And now a short questionnaire for all readers. Please note that English version is a bit different. Your answers will help understand the audience of the community better. Comments are screened. Thank you!

Read more...Collapse )

12:07AM - Selected quotations from "Общее языкознание"

Below you can find selected quotations from a book "Общее языкознание: структурная и социальная типология языков." by Н.Б.Мечковская (М., Флинта: Наука, 2003), both in Russian and English. Probably these facts about Russian language will be at least interesting. Read more...Collapse )

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

4:21PM - Short Quiz - CLOSED

UPDATE: This quiz is closed. See the results here.

Now we're going to have some fun.
Below you can find a short quiz in daily_russian's materials, specially created for NON-Russian readers. Comments are screened. The first correct answers will be rewarded with a userpic "The DailyRussian Best Reader" :) The quiz is valid at least till May 17th (to be confirmed). Some questions have more than one correct answer.

Russian readers: a quiz for you is coming soon.
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2:05PM - Проверка на вшивость

Проверка на вшивость - literally, lousiness test, a colloquial slangy expression meaning testing someone for being honest, true, loyal, accurate, for comprehension, etc.
Examples:Read more...Collapse )

Monday, May 8, 2006

1:48AM - Без чьего-либо ведома

An interesting expression: "без чьего-либо ведома", or "без ведома такого-то", means without somebody's knowledge, unknown to somebody. The word "ведом" as "knowledge" is very old and is not used anymore, but its roots can be found in many other modern words:
ведомость (n., f.) - list, pay-sheet, roll.
ведомство (n., n.) - department, authorities.
ведьма (n., f.) - witch.
ведь - (conjunction).
заведовать (v., imp.)- to be in charge, to be the head (of department).
заведующий(n., m.) - head (of department).
заповедь - (relig.) commandment, precept.
музыковед - musicologist.
неведомый - unknown.
неведение - ignorance.
проведать, наведаться - to visit someone, to come to see.
проповедь - sermon, исповедь - confession. (observe the usage of prefixes "ис-" and "про-").
сведения (n., plural) - information, knowledge, data.
уведомить (v., perf.) - to inform, to notify.
уведомление (n., n.) - official notification, notice.
Also note: ведмедь (Ukrainian) = медведь (Russian) = bear. "Knows-honey".
Another note: "veda" means "knowledge" in Sanskrit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

1:50PM - Лох

Лох (n., m.) - coarse and slangy, contemptuous - ignoramus, a person who knows and understands nothing in particular subject or in general. Foolish or stupid, amateurish person. Fool, idiot, common person.
Лохануться (v., perf.asp.) - coarse and slangy, contemptuous - to do a foolish or stupid act.
Лоховство (n., n.) - coarse and slangy, contemptuous - description of something of bad taste, demonstrating the lack of education, foolish, amateurish.
Examples: Read more...Collapse )

Saturday, February 18, 2006

3:46PM - ФИО

"ФИО" - frequently occurring abbreviation in official papers, forms and applications, standing for Фамилия-Имя-Отчество (Family name, Personal Name, Special form of father name).
For example, Иванов Сергей Михайлович.
Though there's a possibility to choose any name/family name/even father's name at the age of 18 and further, it's customary to take husband's family name after marriage and to pass this family name to children. The family names originated from personal names or nicknames, objects and so on. Nowadays they have no specific meaning.
Mostly, the Russian family names end with -ов, -ев, -ин, -ский, etc. (Романов, Горбачёв, Путин, Жириновский). Female version of the family name is formed by ending . (Романова, Горбачёва, Путина, Жириновская).

According to research results of "Русский генофонд" scientific project (http://genofond.ru) partially published in "Русский Newsweek" and "КоммерсантЪ-Власть", the most widespread family name in Russia is Смирнов.

NB: In addition to the Families Top-10 in "Русский Newsweek" and Top-250 in "КоммерсантЪ-Власть", there're some journalistic comments in these articles, so if you are going to read them, please bear in mind that "Русский генофонд" doesn't fully agree with these comments publishing a disclaimer.
But these Tops are quite convenient for our entertaining purposes.
The most widespread family names in Russia.Read more...Collapse )

Friday, February 17, 2006

4:44PM - Докопаться

Докопаться (v, perf.asp.; докапываться - imperf.asp.) - slang - to search out the weaknesses in annoying matter, to find fault with someone, something. To repeatedly ask someone about something, to criticize in an annoying way. To nag.
Literally: to dig down to something.
Synonyms: привязаться, пристать.

Another meaning is not slangy, means to get at the heart of the matter, to get at the roots of things, to find out. But! In the main meaning the preposition "до" is always used, while in slangy variant "к" ("ко") is also used.

Examples:Read more...Collapse )

Thursday, February 2, 2006

1:19AM - Dreams

Dreams and more...
A dream, or a series of events or images that happen in one's mind while
sleeping, is called - сон (n., m.) in Russian.
See declension table below.
Synonym: сновидение (n., n.)
Please note that dream also means "hope" in English, which is different in
Russian. Dream=hope=мечта. (n., f.)
Also, "сон" means the resting state, sleep: Ты меня не разбудишь - у меня
обычно крепкий сон. (You won't wake me up, usually I'm a heavy sleeper).

Possible expressions:
1. Dream as "a movie":
видеть во сне кого-либо, что-либо - to dream about someone, something, literally: "to see someone, something in your dream";
Example: Я часто вижу во сне мою бабушку. I often dream about my granny. (Literally: I often see my granny in my dream)

сниться - images that you dream about, literally: to dream oneself.
Example: Мне часто снится моя бабушка. I often dream about my granny. (Literally: My granny often dreams herself to me)

NB: In comparison with "видеть во сне", "сниться" is the more popular and common word, while "видеть во сне" might seem pathetic or literary. Not used without objects, so complete phrases like "Я видел во сне." or "Мне снится." are not correct.
Read more...Collapse )

Wednesday, February 1, 2006


Обновлена информация о сообществе. Добавлены правила. Read more...Collapse )

Sunday, January 29, 2006

1:12AM - Базар

По вашим просьбам/Upon your requests:
Базар (n., m.):

1. Usual meaning: Market. Some dictionaries advice replacing it with a word "рынок" as the more modern. Anyway, it's often used in colloquial speech:
- Где вы мясо такое хорошее покупаете? (Where do you buy such good meat?)
- На базаре. (At the market)

2. Figurative: Disorder, mess, confusion.
- Опять в пиаре базар развели - все хором одновременно говорят, суетятся, работать невозможно. (There's again the mess in the PR(-department): they talk all together at once, they fuss, it's not possible to work here.)
развести базар (v., perf.asp.; разводить базар - imperf.asp.) - to make a mess, fuss;
устроить базар (v., perf.asp.; устраивать базар - imperf.asp.) - to make a mess, fuss;
разбазарить что-либо (v., perf.asp; разбазаривать что-либо - imperf.asp.) - to waste something, to squander. F.e. деньги, страну (money, country).

3. Figurative: Slangy meaning, originates from prisoners' speech. Low colloquial, rough. Means: to have a talk; talks, disputes, discussions. Doesn't sound good and intelligent when used in this meaning, except for joking, perhaps. Used in many idiomatic expressions:
гнилой базар - useless, disagreeable, annoying talks;
держать базар - to have a talk;
кончай базар! - stop talking!
отвечать за базар - to be responsible for the talks and used words;
свернуть базар - to stop talking, to change the topic;
фильтровать базар - to select appropriate expressions for the certain talk, to think about the words one uses.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

1:59PM - Frost & Swimming in Russia

Better late than never: last week, when temperatures plummeted below -30 C in Moscow, I got an anxious question from a Swiss girl. She worried about me going to swim into ice pools, because "it's traditional for Russians, isn't it?" Not that she believes these mythes about bears dancing at the Red Square, she's quite an intelligent and modern girl, she also knows me for a long time, been to Russia, but her question was provoked by many scandalous headlines. "Fancy a -41 C swim?" She just wanted to check if I hadn't slided into madness so far.

At the Orthodox Epiphany, Orthodox believers recall the day when Jesus Christ came to the river Jordan and was christened in the river. Shortly, water becomes blessed. Practically, it happens in January and even if these record temperatures below -30 C are not taken into consideration, it's still January, the middle of winter. There've always been some people, recreational ice swimmers, who dip into ice water without any connection to any religion, some do it for fun, some believe it improves health. They're called "моржи" (walruses). The mass media usually doesn't pay much attention to their activities until it coincides with their reportages' goals. As well as publicity-seeking politicians. In this case, the record frost was the top media event, the second event was Orthodox Epiphany, and it was a great PR idea for politiciants to join "walruses" and religion at once.

I haven't ever been acquainted with any "walruses" in my life; also, none of my friends, relatives, colleagues swimmed in rivers&ponds in these days. The only thing that everyone wants to do at such temperatures is to stay at home. If your imagination shows you the picture of Moscow's snowy park with a frozen pond inside and people swimming there at the temperatures of -30 C, after work, for example; bear in mind that it's the same media myth as the covered by babushka-style shawles bears drinking vodka, playing balalaika and dancing at the Red Square. Oh, yes, forgot about the bliny and valenki. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

7:29PM - Тёрки, тереть, перетереть

Тереть, перетереть, потереть - all words are slangy, mean "to speak", "to talk to someone about something", "to have a discussion". Literally: to rub, to grate. Sometimes "перетереть" (perfect aspect) has the meaning "to come to an agreement about something".
Тёрки (n., plural) - = разговоры - talks, conversations, discussions.
Examples: Read more...Collapse )

7:03PM - Positive appraisal

How to make a positive slangy appraisal of something:
(all words are synonymous, mean "cool, good, great", given in alphabethical order)

зачот - in written form used with "O" instead of "Ё" (and capital: "зачОт"). Developed in Internet blogs from the words "зачёт", "зачтено", "засчитано", etc. In its normal meaning mostly used in college&university speach.

зашибись - a form of the verbs "зашибиться", "зашибить", but actually it's not important what do these verbs mean because this word was formed as more or less decent analogue of an obscene (матерный) word. Also used in opposite sense.

здорово - just great.
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