Yellow Sky
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What does the phrase "Да нет" mean?
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73 votes

Russian 'да' and 'нет' do not mean what English 'yes' and 'no' mean. English is somehow unusual as for the meaning of its 'yes' and 'no', as compared to other languages. In this respect Russian is ...

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Why does italic 'т' look like 'm'
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60 votes

This is for historical reasons, and the form of the Russian italic ‘т’ is, actually, related to both ‘т’ and Latin ‘m’. Before the invention of printing the typical handwriting style used for writing ...

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

The source of that meaning comes from a rather old slang verb динáмить meaning водить за нос; продолжительное время обманывать, вводить в заблуждение, не делать по отношению к кому-либо обещанного ...

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"Член клуба" - how to use "член" in feminine here?
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33 votes

In Russian, член is only male, and adjectives referring to that noun should agree with it in masculine, too: Великобритания — постоянный член Совета Безопасности ООН. or Великобритания — член ...

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Why do I keep seeing зову́т for third person singular?
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29 votes

Зовут is really the third person plural, "[they] call", it is an impersonal verb and has no explicit subject in the sentences about names, so Как его зовут? can be translated word for word as "How him ...

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Why did "он" suddenly become so much more common?
28 votes

Actually, the year is not "around 1915", but the beginning of 1918 when the orthography reform began. Before 1918 "он" was written as "онъ", and naturally before 1918 "он" was not used. Have a look: ...

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Why is the letter "г" in some of the Russian words pronounced differently as it should be?
27 votes

The Russian orthography is based on morphological-historical principles, which means it tries to write down morphemes the same way all the time and keep the historical spellings of the morphemes (the ...

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

There is a Russian word хлеба́ло wich is a vulgar way to say “mouth”. It is derived from the verb хлеба́ть, “to eat liquid food with a spoon; to drink”, this verb is colloquial and stylistically ...

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What does the construction "У меня" mean in this joke?
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24 votes

The guy uses "у меня", because the woman is his wife, it's typical for a couple to speak that way, it brings in intimacy. Actually, the expression is not "у меня", it is "ты у меня", "you, belonging ...

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

Just homonyms.There's an older word, подкол 'joke' together with the verbs подколоть (perf.), подкалывать (imp.) 'to play a joke [on smb]', but here 'the joke' is aimed at a person to make laugh of ...

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What kind of Russian orthography is this?
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23 votes

Yes, it's Russian in the pre-reform orthography. The reform was in 1918, so this is just a hundred years old Russian. It's easy to understand, just as it's easy to understand a hundred years old ...

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Equivalent letter for H in Russian?
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22 votes

Russian has no special letter for the Latin letter H, in different words it is rendered differently, you have to consult a dictionary every time a proper name has H. The main ways it can be written ...

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What's the difference between "люблю" and "обожаю"?
20 votes

Люблю читать is 'I like reading' while your task was to translate 'I love reading'. 'To love' is neutral любить when referring to relationships between people, but when it refers to things or ...

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As a non-native speaker, is it more normal to call myself "Эндрю" or "Андрей"?
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19 votes

If you call yourself "Андрей" you'll have tons of questions from everybody whether you have any Russian ancestry. It's typical for non-native speakers of Russian to call themselves with their real ...

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

Очень интересный вопрос, давайте прикинем. I. Сначала рассмотрим переход индоевропейских фонем в праславянские в варианте *r̥ḱt-os. Поскольку славянские языки – это языки "satem", то *ḱ > *s. ...

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Difference in pronunciation between "щ" and "шь"?
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19 votes

The point is there are at least 2 ways щ can be pronounced and there is no difference in the pronunciation between шь and ш. First, let us have a look at ш. This sound is different from the English "...

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Why is лицо in the prepositional case, and why does свой not match its case?
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18 votes

You're reading the Bible in the Synodal translation (1813—1876) which uses archaic language full of Church Slavonic words and forms. Лице is an archaic form of лицо, it is in the Accusative case which ...

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Почему в русском языке японские названия переведены с 'си' там, где в японском 'ши' или 'щи'
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18 votes

Вы же понимаете, что собственные имена не переводят, их либо транскрибируют, либо транслитерируют. В случае японского языка речь идёт как раз о транслитерации, а именно, транслитерации русскими ...

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Pronunciation of "отпуска"
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16 votes

Óтпуска is the Genitive case singular of óтпуск: У меня давно не было óтпуска. – I haven't got a vacation for a long time. Отпускá is the Nominative and Accusative case plural of óтпуск: ...

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Что значит фраза "не издевайся на домной"
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16 votes

You have the last two words divided in a wrong way. Actually, it is "не издевайся надо мной" meaning "don't mock at me", "don't humiliate me."

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Is the word "зелёный" a noun in this case?
16 votes

It is called субстантивированное прилагательное, "substantivized adjective", an adjective used as a noun. There are a lot of them in Russian, and usually they have a generic noun associated with them, ...

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Baby fox, baby lion, baby X
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16 votes

Russian has the names of most baby animals as separate, distinct nouns, they are formed after the following pattern: [the name of the animal] + -ёнок / -онок, the plural is [the name of the animal] + -...

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Difference between 'падать' and 'упасть'
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15 votes

This is a typical imperfective/perfective pair of verbs, they are different in their aspect only. And they, actually, have the same root, -пад-, only in падать it is followed by a thematic vowel -a-, ...

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What is the word for "Vegan" in Russian? (NOT Vegetarian)
15 votes

It is веган or (rarely) веганец in Russian, the word is a typical internationalism. The word for "veganism" is веганство (analogous to "вегетарианство") or just веганизм. This word has appeared pretty ...

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Special treatment for plural forms depending on number of objects - where does it originate from?
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15 votes

In Old Church Slavonic numerals didn't constitute a distinct part of speech, numbers 1-4 were numerical adjectives, numbers bigger than 5 were numerical nouns, that is why numbers 1-4 agreed in gender ...

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выходить vs. уходить
15 votes

Выходить is to "go / come out", уходить is "to leave, to go away", every dictionary has it like that. The noun derived from выходить is выход, which is not only "exit", but also "a way out". The noun ...

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"Индустрия выдержала удар пандемией" - why instrumental here?
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14 votes

In this very case it is rather problematic to tell if it is a mistake or an intended pun. The Instrumental case names an instrument, and удар пандемией alludes to удар плетью or удар кулаком and ...

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What are the subsequent terms in this sequence?
14 votes

In Russian, there are no such words as *однаждый or *дваждый, there are words однажды “once” and дважды “twice”. Then goes трижды “thrice, three times” and четырежды “four times”. These words are ...

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When to use и or а as “and”?
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14 votes

И joins, unites words and clauses, a contrasts them, singles them out, sets them aside. Imagine a photo of Anna and Tom, a married couple. When showing the photo to your friend who doesn't know them, ...

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Meaning of "подъезд"
14 votes

As an addition to @Artemix' answer, here's a picture of what a подъезд looks like. Usually buildings have several of them, they are counted from left to right, so the leftmost arrow points to the ...

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