Quassnoi
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Иметь vs у меня for physical things
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18 votes

These sentences: Я имею леопарда Я имею самокат are comprehensible but barely grammatical in modern Russian, unless you want to say that you're engaging in an intimate encounter with the leopard or ...

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What's the plural for "пиво"?
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18 votes

Some Russian uncountable nouns do not allow plural (молоко, рис, икра) while others do (табак / табаки́, водка / во́дки, вино / ви́на). In modern language пиво is not used in plural, though Shakhmatov ...

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Why are German soldiers of WWII commonly referred to in the Russian language as fascists (фашисты)?
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17 votes

First of all, people call those they don't like "bastard" and "son of a bitch", even if they were not actually born out of wedlock and their mother was a woman rather than a female dog. "Fascist" is ...

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Does the word "is" have an actual form in Russian? (Usage rules?)
17 votes

Russian does have an imperfective verb meaning "to be" (быть) and it even can be conjugated: я есмь ты еси он, она, оно есть мы есмы вы есьте они суть , though in modern language personal ...

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Why are United Nations and United Arab Emirates translated as "Объединённые", but United States as "Соединённые"?
17 votes

Объединять and its derivatives were not used in Russian before about 1850. Kostomarov did use it time to time in his works, however, he mostly used соединить wherever a modern Russian speaker would ...

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Почему Евклид, а не Эвклид?
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17 votes

Historical Cyrillic had no letter directly corresponding to the modern э. There were three letters instead: ѥ, е and є. Russian recension or Church Slavonic did not use ѥ and had no phonetic ...

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Is there any difference between "окно" and "окошко"?
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16 votes

Окошко is a diminutive for окно. Russian readily uses diminutive forms for some nouns in their neutral meaning, like солнышко instead of солнце, листок instead of лист, червяк instead of червь etc. ...

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Why is “had no choice” translated as «не было выбора» and not «не был выбора»?
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16 votes

Russian has two distinctive features. The first one is the proximal possession. У меня есть выбор ("I have a choice") literally translates as "there is a choice by (or next to) me"....

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Why "их" instead of "его" in Dostoevsky's Adolescent?
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16 votes

Russian has the T-V distinction. This means that you use the plural version of "you" (вы) when addressing a person who is senior, superior, or just someone you're not too acquainted with. ...

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What kind of "girlfriend" is meant by "подруга"?
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16 votes

"Girlfriend" and "boyfriend" are most usually conveyed in Russian as девушка and парень (or молодой человек). Подруга usually means "girlfriend" as well but its meaning is somewhat less suggestive of ...

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Рукописи не горят
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16 votes

"To burn something" in Russian would be жечь. Гореть is an intransitive verb, it does not accept an object. The phrase рукописи не жгут could indeed grammatically mean both "one doesn't burn ...

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Why is «Совет» Transliterated to "Soviet" in English Instead of "Sovyet"?
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16 votes

Before the Russian orthography reform of 1918, the word was written as совѣтъ. The letter ѣ, though having long since merged with е in standard Russian, is pronounced as a long vowel or even as a ...

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Various words for "priest". What are their emotional connotations?
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16 votes

священник is the current neutral word. It's a Church Slavonic loanword. поп is colloquial, can be considered even slightly derogatory. Earlier it was the neutral word. It's most used in proverbs. It's ...

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How to translate "unscratchable itch" to Russian?
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15 votes

I'm not sure "unscratchable itch" is something that applies equally well to both your examples, but if I were forced to use the same Russian idiom for both of them, I would go with мысль … ...

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What is the Russian word that sounds like "bleen"
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15 votes

It's блин, literally "pancake". It's a minced oath for блядь (literally "whore"), a Russian swear word.

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Translating Russian cursive to English
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15 votes

The writing says: Я думаю что важно знать русский язык потому что если это понимаешь, то знаешь что я хочу говорить It's not written by a native Russian speaker and its meaning is quite obscure, ...

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What does "ледяная рябь канала" mean, in Blok's famous poem?
15 votes

It's a metaphor, literally translated as "icy ripple of the canal". Blok was raised in Saint-Petersburg (then capital of Russia) with its numerous canals, so this metaphor conveys feel of a cold ...

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Russian equivalents of "no love lost"
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14 votes

Теперь они друг друга на дух не переносят (or не выносят). A couple examples from the corpus: Мужа своего частенько прилюдно поругивала и разве что не колотила, свёкра не переносила на дух, и он ...

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Moving the subject of the sentence into a dangling participle
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14 votes

This statement is not quite ungrammatical, but it's definitely not a neutral writing and speaking style either. It is parsable and comprehensible, but it abuses the relatively lax Russian word order ...

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Why do some people pronounce "о" as "a" and some just pronounce "o" as "o"?
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14 votes

This is a phenomenon called vowel reduction. A good starting point would be the Wikipedia article on Russian phonology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_phonology#Vowel_mergers In a nutshell, ...

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"Public address system" in Russian
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14 votes

It's громкая связь. Как рассказать о событиях на вашем стенде? Легко! Дайте объявление по громкой связи в павильоне выставки. В понедельник я ещё не успела сменить сапоги на туфли, как по ...

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Is there a reason why "чёрт" and "сосе́д" don't decline for nominative plural according to standard Russian spelling rules?
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14 votes

Сосед and чёрт are the only nouns in modern Russian that retained the old Russian nominative plural form, so in a sense they are the only "correct" nouns with the historical -о stem. All others use ...

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Is this how to say "every other day" in Russian?
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14 votes

Через день is a set phrase which means "every other day". You can also say через два дня ("every third day"), через три дня ("every fourth day") etc., however, to avoid ambiguity, phrases like those ...

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Meaning of как раз-таки
14 votes

Как раз and -таки are emphatic particles, similar to emphatic "do" in English, but slightly differing in meaning. Я купил хлеба / I bought some bread Я-таки купил хлеба / I did buy some ...

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The difference between "свой" and "мой"
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14 votes

In this meaning свой means "belonging to the last agent in the sentence". Алиса отдала Бобу свои деньги // Alice gave Bob her own (Alice's) money Боб отдал Алисе свои деньги // Bob gave ...

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Is it bad if I don't bother to pronounce 'o' correctly?
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14 votes

Yes, Russians will understand you, but such a pronunciation will sound hypercorrect. It will seem like you're spelling the words instead of pronouncing them. Some Russian dialects exhibit ...

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General rules for stressing words the right way
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14 votes

Russian language exhibits paradigmatic accentuation: there is a number of accent paradigms, or models, which are defined by some aspects of the word origin, and are closely linked to the word ...

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History of /f/ sound in Russian
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13 votes

The letter ф is found almost exclusively in loanwords. The only exceptions are sparse native Russian words like дрофа, филин and onomatopoeic words like фу, фыркать etc. The sound [f], though, can be ...

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Before 1957, what word or phrase was used for satellites (natural and artificial)?
13 votes

The word спутник meaning "a satellite of a celestial body" was coined, as were many other Russian scientific terms, by Mikhail Lomonosov. He first used it in his 1744's translation of ...

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Склоняется ли слово "коала"?
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13 votes

As it often happens, this word had been borrowed as indeclinable into Russian, but had later accepted declension as more people were becoming familiar with it. In older texts it's indeclinable: Живут ...

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