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Thread: Russian in Everyday Life, Russian as a world Language and Keeping your skills up..

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Russian in Everyday Life, Russian as a world Language and Keeping your skills up..

    I thought I'd start a thread for those who like the Russian language, to share experiences of how and when we use Russian in everyday life.

    Apart from overhearing some conversations in Russian, I have not had an opportunity to practice it since returning to Sweden.
    But today, I found myself in a communal laundry room in a block of flats that I am temporarily staying in (a corporate flat, rather modest).

    Myself, an old Iranian woman and a an Estonian programmer were all trying to do our laundry in this place, but the machines were quite complicated. After trying but failing to communicate in Swedish and English it eventually emerged that all of us could get by in Russian. The woman was in fact Armenian-Iranian and spoke Russian. She had emigrated to Sweden to be with her family and for some reason, the state had put her up in the same building that my company and the company of the Estonian coder had put us up in. Quite a mix of people from different backgrounds! We ended up having a rather nice chat in Russian after working out how to operate the laundry equipment. Cool to see that Russian can work as a language of communication when English does not.

    But I was really disappointed to notice how much I'd forgotten in only a few months. Words that I am sure I used to know just didn't come to me... As soon as I've settled down in a nicer place I will surely sign up for a Russian course to continue my studies.

    When did you last speak Russian outside of Russia and how did it go?
    Do you find that you can keep up your skills if you don't use them for a while?
    Last edited by Hanna; November 7th, 2011 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Увлечённый спикер fabriciocarraro's Avatar
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    Well, my wife is Russian and she's found a group of Russian girls living here in São Paulo, Brazil, all of them are married to or date Brazilian guys. There are about 8 girls that meet almost every week, and sometimes they invite the husbands too =P

    When it started one year ago, I just stood there talking with the husbands in Portuguese and the girls would talk in Russian among them, but now, as I'm continuing my Russian course at university, I still don't speak in Russian because I don't feel safe to do it, but I can understand pretty much 70~80% of what they say. That made me really happy, to see my progress in the listening area =)
    But still, I can't speak in Russian. I just keep babbling and usually just get tired of it. When talking to the girls, we all use Portuguese, and some guys use English sometimes.

    And answering your question, I forget Russian ALL the time. When I went to Moscow in 2010 I could say things that I couldn't when I went back there in 2011. That's normal I guess, you just have to practice. I'm starting to forget even my beloved Italian, which is close to Portuguese. You can imagine what will happen to Russian if I quit practicing it.

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    Увлечённый спикер
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    11 years ago I graduated from the University with a Russian major and a 5 month old baby. I tried to continue reading Russian, but my life was busy and very exhausting (Now that I have 6 kids I wonder how I could ever have been busy with just one.), so Russian slipped out of my mind. I needed piano servicing recently and the piano technician is Russian. He is now a family friend. I spoke Russian to him last night. I am studying my old, first year book to relearn grammar, but I also reference some other books and google to learn vocabulary that I actually use in real life.
    Кристина

  4. #4
    Hanna
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    Interesting to hear your stories!

    Flash update! I'll be interviewing tomorrow for an assignment implementing a large software project IN RUSSIA, for a company that I think most people have heard of. How cool would it be if I got that?? Keep ur fingers crossed or say a prayer tomorrow at 9 CET!
    Пожелай мне удачи!

    Small grey text so I don't jinx it. And pride cometh before fall, I'd be very lucky for sure, if they considered me...

  5. #5
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Break a leg!

    Is there a phrase like this in Russian? Meaning good luck but sounds completely backwards?

  6. #6
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    There's the expression Ни пуха ни пера!, which literally expresses the wish "[May you catch] neither fur nor feather!" -- apparently it originated as an ironically backwards way to wish a hunter good luck, by wishing him bad luck -- same as "break a leg."

    And also I'm reminded that "to jinx" is сглазить -- from the noun сглаз, "the Evil Eye".


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    Увлечённый спикер
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    Well, I ended up with a job, using some Russian. My friend has employed me as his secretary. He thinks I'll be better with his customers than his other secretary, who is also Russian and is busy with his own life. My first task is to straighten up the books. They are quiet the mess having gone from my friend, to his daughter, to his friend, and now to me. There are notes scribbled here and there and everywhere in Russian. I've learned the words for "tuning", "sticky keys", and "squeaky pedal". My boss has the owner of a piano store written about 5 times in both English and Russian. Several American names are written in Cyrillic. There are street names and city names in Cyrillic as well. I especially love the names written in both English and Cyrillic letters. The telephone numbers are divided up in the Russian way and they have a cool "T" with points hanging down from the top edges. Then, I get to talk Russian to my boss. It's fun, but I really just hope to get my friend to make surplus money. He was happy living in poverty until he met me... I have him playing in an orchestra on a $12 clarinet. (Fortunately, he can repair clarinets as well as pianos.) He needs clothes for the performance.
    Кристина

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    My mother-in-law arrived for a month-long visit yesterday, and she doesn't speak any English so I'm going to have lots of practice over the next few weeks.

    If only she were someone I want to talk to...

  9. #9
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by zedeeyen View Post
    My mother-in-law arrived for a month-long visit yesterday, and she doesn't speak any English so I'm going to have lots of practice over the next few weeks.

    If only she were someone I want to talk to...
    Why wouldn't you want to talk with her? If you make the effort to get to know her, you'll probably find that she is an interesting person. She is probably very keen to get to know the man that her daughter has married.

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    Увлечённый спикер fabriciocarraro's Avatar
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    My Russian "in-laws" are really great to me, I love them. My wife's parents, grandfather, aunt, cousins, all of them treat me like a son. Only her uncle, he doesn't even look me in the eyes...but I don't care much, he's a douche.

  11. #11
    Hanna
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    Yesterday I went to a work networking thing for women in IT. Since my company was hosting it, I had to be social and mingle and I was talking to random people.

    I talked to one particular woman for a long time because we had a lot in common. I noticed that she looked Turkish or perhaps Greek, and had an accent which I assumed was Turkish. However she said she was Russian from St Petersburg! I would never have guessed..

    Her Swedish was very good and she was a manager in IT, like myself. Like me, she did not have an IT degree and started her career from scratch in a foreign country. I had the advantage that I already knew the language though, whereas she didn't.

    I found her story quite inspirational on an individual level.

    However I learned that she really didn't like Russia. Despite the fact that St Petersburg is a one hour flight away, she had not been back go Russia for ten years!!!
    She said that the political situation was so bad that she was scared to go there.... which really surprised me. I did not thought this would be something that regular people would worry about while on a short visit... All this was a bit peculiar. According to this woman, work is really tough in Russia: hard to get a job and bosses are dictatorial and unfair.

    I'm going to connect with her on LinkedIn though, and stay in touch that way.

    People who know me on the forum (and don't hate me after fights in the political forum....) If you want to connect on LinkedIn, drop me a PM!
    I have finally got around to updating my account although I am still boycotting Facebook.

  12. #12
    Властелин
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    hard to get a job
    It is hard anywhere nowadaes, I think.
    She said that the political situation was so bad that she was scared to go there
    That's just nonsense. How can the political situation affect ordinary people? I mean in such a way that people would be scared. (I'm not sure that the last sentence is correct)

  13. #13
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    It is hard anywhere nowadaes, I think.

    That's just nonsense. How can the political situation affect ordinary people? I mean in such a way that people would be scared. (I'm not sure that the last sentence is correct)
    Exactly, I was rather curious about this myself, but this was supposed to be a work related event, just light hearted professional conversation, so I couldn't ask detailed questions about her personal affairs.

    To me, she was rather un-Russian in her looks and behaviour. Everything about her was like a Turkish or maybe Middle Eastern person. Her name was not typically Russian either (could be wrong about this though). Perhaps she is originally from the Caucasus area and that is what she bases her opinions about Russia on. But she said her mother lived in St Petersburg. Oh well... I'll probably run into her again sometime so then I can find out.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    That's just nonsense. How can the political situation affect ordinary people? I mean in such a way that people would be scared. (I'm not sure that the last sentence is correct)
    You probably familiar with border officers which check you international passport on a way out of country (this doesn't exist in North America but widely practiced in Europe and Russia is not an exclusion). It is up to them to let you out of country if you are citizen of the country. In Russia those officers can check quite a lot of information about a person, even their tax returns and have power not to let person out by any reason
    You can guess what scares people not to go back to Russia

  15. #15
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    In Russia those officers can check quite a lot of information about a person, even their tax returns and have power not to let person out by any reason
    You can guess what scares people not to go back to Russia
    Such things exist everywhere. Then this practice has taken place recently. That can't be the cause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Why wouldn't you want to talk with her? If you make the effort to get to know her, you'll probably find that she is an interesting person. She is probably very keen to get to know the man that her daughter has married.
    She's been my mother-in-law for twelve years, so I think we may be past getting to know each other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Such things exist everywhere. Then this practice has taken place recently. That can't be the cause.
    Why it can't be the cause?
    Don't forget the origin of the problem. That person wasn't afraid of border officers but of political situation, so if border officers wouldn't let her out where she would go for help? And who would help her. Answer this yourself

  18. #18
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    Don't forget the origin of the problem. That person wasn't afraid of border officers but of political situation, so if border officers wouldn't let her out where she would go for help? And who would help her. Answer this yourself
    I have gone abroad for several times and have never had this problem. Do you know many situations like that? Is it common? And what is scaring in Russian political situation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    I have gone abroad for several times and have never had this problem. Do you know many situations like that? Is it common? And what is scaring in Russian political situation?
    I guess you should ask that person. Can't go inside somebody's head

  20. #20
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    I have gone abroad for several times and have never had this problem. Do you know many situations like that? Is it common? And what is scaring in Russian political situation?
    When I fly out of Sweden the border police always ask where I am going after they checked the passport.
    I always respond honestly but it irritates me that they ask - it's my personal business. I have never been asked anywhere else.

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