I read about a flower which is called "Иван да Марья". I am assuming, that "Иван" and "Марья" are Russian names, since they start with capital letters and "Марья" sounds like an English name "Maria". What does "да" mean though? I know of it as "yes". Does it have other meanings? Because thinking of it as "yes" in this context does not make a lot of sense to me!

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    As a side note, Ivan is derived from Hebrew Yohanan, which in modern English turned to John. – bipll Jun 11 '16 at 15:05
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    For sheer completenes, your particular combination of names can form a specific single word иван-да-марья, which is a (quite common) folk name for some flowers. It is, in a way, an idiom (perhaps because it sounds great). You'll see "да" between any other names less commonly (in favour of the more neutral "и"), or even if you render Марья in a more common way Мария or Маша: "Иван да Маша" sounds somewhat dodgy, like any distorted idiom (though it's formally correct). – Zeus Aug 6 '16 at 14:41

The word "Да" has got various functions in Russian.

  1. In your example

Иван да Марья (Иван и Марья)

it is a conjunction which means "и". As a conjunction it can also mean "но" ("but")

Солнце светит, да не греет ("The sun is shining, but it isn't warm").

In this case we put a comma in front of "да".

2.As a particle "да" can denote agreement.

-- Вы говорите по-русски?" ("Do you speak Russian?)

-- Да. ("Yes, I do").

It can also express being surprised:

-- Я говорю по-русски. ("I speak Russian.") --Да ладно? ("Really?")

It can also mean "by the way" when it is at the beginning of the sentence.

Да, совсем забыл, напиши ему письмо. ("By the way, I forgot to tell you, write him a letter.")

As a particle it helps to form imperative sentences.

Да будет так!("Let it be so!" if translated literary, but that's also one of the possible translateions of "Amen!")

Or like here:

Да здравствует свобода!(Long live freedom! )

It can be used for putting emphasis on a sentence.

Да не хочу я ничего! ("I don't want anything!", a bit stronger than just "Не хочу я ничего!" which would be translated in English in the same way)

  • So what is the origin of the word?) – VCH250 Aug 5 '16 at 20:03
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    Etymology. Originated from Old Slavonic *da.. Related to Indo-European pronoun do- díns), compared to Greek δή, ἐπειδή «итак, после того, как», ἤδη «уже», Latin dēnique «с этих пор, затем», dōnec «до тех пор, пока». See Фасмер.Этимологический словарь русского языка. – V.V. Aug 5 '16 at 20:41

"Да" means "and" in this case, so it's Ivan and Maria (see also "тишь да гладь", "вокруг да около").

Sometimes it can also mean "but": Я старался, да не смог - I tried but I couldn't (do that).

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    I think, it would be nice to specify here which exactly of meanings of the word "but" is discussed. :-/ – bipll Jun 11 '16 at 15:21
  • @bipll What different meanings of "but" in my example you can think of? – Abakan Jun 11 '16 at 16:00
  • So is it specification by example? – bipll Jun 11 '16 at 16:29
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    @bipll So is it question dodging? – Abakan Jun 11 '16 at 16:36

"Да" means "and" in this case. But its outdated form, now we usually don't use "да" in means of "and"

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