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75 votes
7 answers
27k views

Why does "охуенно" mean "great" but "хуёвый" mean "bad"

I came across some words chatting with my friend (he's a native speaker). What's the difference between пиздато, охуенно, хуёво and пиздец? The first two words have a positive meaning but хуёво and ...
saq_423's user avatar
  • 767
75 votes
13 answers
13k views

Resources for learning Russian

Using the same structure in the Chinese Resources question, this is a specifically created Community Wiki which gathers resources for learning Russian and it has been approved by the Community itself. ...
59 votes
14 answers
43k views

What does the phrase "Да нет" mean?

Does it mean yes, or does it mean no, or something else?
chubbycantorset's user avatar
59 votes
2 answers
8k views

What are the lesser known Russian cases?

In schools, it is taught that Modern Russian has 6 cases: Nominative (Именительный) Genitive (Родительный) Dative (Дательный) Accusative (Винительный) Instrumental (Творительный) ...
Armen Tsirunyan's user avatar
51 votes
10 answers
16k views

What's the difference between "лежит на столе" and "стоит на столе"?

Can anyone explain the difference between the following sentences: "Чашка лежит на столе" vs. "Чашка стоит на столе" "Мяч лежит на столе" vs. "Мяч стоит на столе" "Лэптоп лежит на столе" vs. "Лэптоп ...
valdemar's user avatar
  • 511
45 votes
3 answers
23k views

Why does italic 'т' look like 'm'

The Cyrillic letter 'т', when italicized, looks like a Latin 'm'. This is illustrated in the image below. The first row is the Cyrillic letter 'т', the second is the Cyrillic letter 'м', and the third ...
ctype.h's user avatar
  • 1,515
43 votes
9 answers
12k views

Why do Russians almost not use verbs of possession akin to "have"?

I have always been puzzled as to why the Russians almost never use verbs of possession akin to "have" or "own." Instead of such verbs, the Russians use the preposition у, whose ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
42 votes
10 answers
7k views

Usage of "про" instead of "о"

One of the prepositions I never learned in Russian courses is про, which I only met later when communicating with native speakers or when reading. Is it possible to give a good rule of thumb about ...
KCd's user avatar
  • 4,984
41 votes
8 answers
4k views

The meaning of "давай" when saying good bye

I was always wondering: When at the end of the phone or other conversation people say "ну давай" meaning "see you later". Where does this come from? In terms of meaning, I always understood it to ...
JAM's user avatar
  • 1,316
38 votes
8 answers
5k views

Why doesn't Russian have native words beginning with А?

I've heard that Russian has no native words beginning with the letter A. The claim is that the words appearing under A in dictionaries were all imported at some stage or another. Browsing through the ...
Vitaly Mijiritsky's user avatar
37 votes
8 answers
8k views

When is it more appropriate to use здравствуйте rather than привет?

As far as I understand, both of these mean more or less the same thing. Rosetta Stone, that introduced me to the Russian language seems to prefer здравствуйте, but it seems привет is more commonly ...
mikl's user avatar
  • 646
37 votes
2 answers
7k views

How can "to teach" and "to learn" be translated to Russian?

I know that there are several Russian verbs can be used to translate the English verbs "to teach", "to study", and "to learn", e.g. учить, выучить, научить, учиться, изучать, ... However, I am a bit ...
Giorgio's user avatar
  • 793
34 votes
3 answers
3k views

What's the meaning of "у нас" in phrases like "он у нас умный"?

The grammatical construction у меня, literally at/near me, is the Russian way to express possession and is also used to express proximity: У меня хорошая подруга. (I have a good friend.) Она сейчас у ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
33 votes
14 answers
35k views

ахуеть and охуеть - which is used, and what is the precise meaning?

I came across the (obscene) verb ахуеть chatting (instant messaging, to be precise) with a native speaker (context: soccer game). A bit of research on the Russian Wiktionary seems to show that this ...
codesparkle's user avatar
32 votes
8 answers
18k views

Do adult Russians normally hand-write Cyrillic as cursive or as block letters?

In The Netherlands, we learn to write Latin characters in cursive in school, but most adults write block letters in practice. My experience is that in other countries using the Latin alphabet, most ...
Херрит's user avatar
31 votes
4 answers
15k views

If a Russian girl calls herself a thawing pike (тающая щука), what could it mean?

I recently had a video call with a Russian girl, and in the middle of the conversation she called herself тающая щука. That made no sense in the context, so I used a mirror to try to understand what ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
31 votes
11 answers
9k views

What is the Russian translation of "excited about something"?

I find it very hard to translate "excited" to Russian. Dictionary says "взволнованный, возбуждённый" which doesn't fit in most cases. For example how would you translate the following sentences: ...
serg's user avatar
  • 419
31 votes
9 answers
4k views

"Руки не доходят посмотреть" - what does it mean?

Could you please explain what this means, and why? Руки не доходят посмотреть.
Dav's user avatar
  • 311
31 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why do Russians add -то behind a word?

Just watched a Russian show today (The Road To Calvary), and I noticed they frequently add -то behind a word. For example: «Когда ж это будет-то» «А потом-то вернетесь» What does adding -то mean? If I ...
universe's user avatar
  • 319
31 votes
6 answers
2k views

Genitive plural of "башка"?

What is the genitive plural and nominative plural of башка? My search returned a lot of contradicting information. Is there any authoritative source with a single concrete answer?
Philip Seyfi's user avatar
  • 2,615
29 votes
10 answers
13k views

In Russian, do vehicles walk? And can one walk across the city using the bus?

It's commonly taught that the difference between ходить/идти and ездить/ехать (and between their prefixed derivations) is that the former connotes movement by foot and the latter connotes movement ...
Chill2Macht's user avatar
  • 3,071
29 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why do Russians call some women a dynamo (динамо)?

In English, you call a person a dynamo to say that he or she is extremely energetic (e.g., she was a dynamo in London politics), but Russians mean something entirely different when they call someone a ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
29 votes
13 answers
9k views

How to address people in the street?

Suppose you want to ask someone for directions or to attract someone's attention. What is the appropriate way to address this person? Context: ..., подскажите, как выйти на улицу Чехова? or ......
Olga's user avatar
  • 6,558
29 votes
8 answers
5k views

How can I finally understand the confusing modal verb "мочь"?

The verb мочь is one of the most basic words, actually a central modal verb, but I am so much confused about it. I am often at a loss as to how to interpret it in particular sentences, and I avoid ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
28 votes
3 answers
8k views

What Russian letter is this?

Is the 4th letter a valid russian character? When I copy the above word it is automatically converted to "сведения".
swayamraina's user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are there words that can be spelled with both т and ф?

Some words of Greek descent use ф as corresponding to the Greek θ, while some use т. The former I think tend to be loaned earlier. However, in "Brothers Karamazov" I have found Mitya using the word "...
zefciu's user avatar
  • 909
28 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is correct: "их" or "ихний"?

My wife always corrects me when I say ихний or ихних instead of их. However, I've seen these pronouns in classical literature many times (Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky). Which form is correct in ...
VisioN's user avatar
  • 675
28 votes
5 answers
2k views

Elementary understanding of the concept aspect

First, for the aim of this question I must say that I am not familiar with the Russian language, but I read a bit about it and am curious. I've never learned Russian before and just able to say a ...
Em1's user avatar
  • 1,658
27 votes
9 answers
19k views

Why do Russians call their women expensive ("дорогая")?

My question is in the title of this post, and I do not know what else to say. I am just puzzled. Okay, to avoid my post being put on hold for being too succinct, I will add a couple of naive thoughts ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
27 votes
4 answers
5k views

What are these Russian characters that aren't in the alphabet in my learning material?

I have this comic book in Russian that uses characters I don't know from my Russian learning materials. Please see my image. There are: small m и with line on top g mirrored s Which 'standard' ...
walter's user avatar
  • 273
27 votes
2 answers
104k views

Слово "дно" во множественном числе

Как выглядит слово "дно" во множественном числе? Одно дно Два дна Три дна Четыре дна Пять ??? Я знаю правильный ответ, но не знаю почему так. Хотелось бы услышать аргументированный ответ, ...
k06a's user avatar
  • 389
26 votes
5 answers
9k views

Why does "ебало" mean a face and "ебаться" mean to fuck?

I had been talking with my Russian friend which used such words like "ебало", "ебаться" and "ебнутый". As I understood, this words have completely difference meaning. It is very curious.
St.Antario's user avatar
26 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I understand this puzzling dialogue with "ну я имею в виду вообще"?

My Russian teacher recently had us, his students, listen some audio recordings of what he called "authentic everyday communications of Russians." We had to understand the dialogues and ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
26 votes
9 answers
2k views

Equivalent adjective of 'thirsty' in Russian

When you're hungry, you say Я голоден. When you're thirsty you say Мне хочется пить. Is there an adjective in Russian that means thirsty? Perhaps derived from жажда (thirst)? Has there ever ...
Armen Tsirunyan's user avatar
26 votes
6 answers
1k views

Mathematical pronunciation of the number 1

I have a question about pronouncing the number 1 in Russian for mathematics. When the number 1 appears by itself on the right side of an equation (or inequality or congruence or other mathematical ...
KCd's user avatar
  • 4,984
25 votes
13 answers
85k views

Is the Ukrainian language understandable for the average Russian native speaker?

The Ukrainian language is very similar to the Russian, but is it understandable for the average Russian native speaker, let's say, in Moscow? Ukrainians understand Russian, but this is mostly because ...
user avatar
25 votes
11 answers
7k views

Usage patterns of "надо" vs. "нужно"

What are the mechanics behind using надо over нужно or vice versa? What governs when they are interchangeable and when not? To be perfectly clear: I have no problems simply using whichever sounds ...
RegDwight's user avatar
  • 1,259
25 votes
6 answers
2k views

What is the meaning of: "- Отнеси кота на веранду. - Да уж лежит там."

In a recent test I had to translate the following: -- Отнеси кота на веранду. -- Да уж лежит там. My translation was: "Bring the cat to the verandah." "It is already lying there.&...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
25 votes
11 answers
4k views

Been learning Russian for 10 years, still can't understand my wife when she talks with her friends, what to do?

I really want to become fluent in Russian. And I've been trying for so many years. With a risk that this question will be closed, I can't think of a better place to ask this. My wife is of Russian ...
25 votes
8 answers
3k views

How are short and long form adjectives used differently?

I'm confused by long form adjectives (which seem to be more common) and short form adjectives. For example, from свобода (freedom) there is the long form adjective свободный and the short form ...
Derek Morrison's user avatar
25 votes
4 answers
2k views

Как бы звучало по-русски название медведя *r̥ḱs-os/*r̥ḱt-os, доживи оно до наших дней?

Как известно, слово "медведь" это слово-заменитель табуированного "истинного" имени зверя. Похоже что такие замены происходили неоднократно - старое "истинное" имя забывалось и табу переходило на ...
Artemix's user avatar
  • 11.3k
25 votes
3 answers
377 views

What is the order of adjectival premodifiers?

What are the syntactic and semantic constraints on the order of adjectival premodifiers in Russian? In English, linguists and nonspecialist users of language alike generally agree that the order of ...
Vitaly's user avatar
  • 353
24 votes
9 answers
6k views

Russian word for a male zebra

Let's suppose I am writing a fictional but realistic story about a male zebra. Here is the problem. On the one hand, the grammatical gender of the Russian word "зебра" is feminine, so it is ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
24 votes
4 answers
6k views

How frequently do Russian people still refer to others by their patronymic (отчество)?

I'm American, and so almost all of the Russian people I know are ex-Soviets, most of whom are very traditional and many of whom have impeccable manners. As such, I think that I may have an overblown ...
Fred E's user avatar
  • 343
24 votes
13 answers
15k views

What is the difference between "теперь" and "сейчас"

It seems to me that these two words have the same meaning. The dictionary doesn't help much, it gives them as synonyms. Although the meaning of "сейчас" is more general and can refer to past events: ...
Olga's user avatar
  • 6,558
24 votes
5 answers
4k views

How come the Russian cognate for the Czech word "čerstvý" (fresh) means entirely the opposite thing (stale)?

In Russian, черствый хлеб (chorstvy khleb) is stale bread. And to my great surprise, I recently learned that in Czech, čerstvý chléb is precisely the opposite thing: fresh bread. My question is: ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k
24 votes
8 answers
16k views

"Left" and "right" in Russian

On a German page about the Russian language, I learned the words прямо [prjáma] – geradeaus (straight on) направо [napráwa] – rechts (right) налево [naléwa] – links (left) for directions (location ...
Em1's user avatar
  • 1,658
24 votes
6 answers
3k views

What's the difference between -либо and -нибудь?

The pairs кто-нибудь and кто-либо, когда-нибудь and когда-либо etc. have slight differences in meaning and each particle is used in specific settings, but I can't quite pinpoint what the difference is....
Vitaly Mijiritsky's user avatar
23 votes
5 answers
22k views

Racist language in Russia/USA

I really hope this question doesn't get deleted or flagged, so to make sure it doesn't I will try to keep it as academic as possible. I am currently an American student studying in Saint Petersburg ...
Rocket Man's user avatar
23 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why do Russians call a joke a stake (прикол)?

In modern Russian, прикол is a very frequently used word and means a joke, a funny incident, or just anything funny, but the original meaning of this word is very different: a stake to which a ship, a ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.3k

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