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  1. #1
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    need help understanding

    i had trouble understanding these lines:

    "Н-но, протри ветровые стекла!"
    "Гляди мне, ухо востро держи!"
    "Ишь ты, деликатный выискался."
    "Не то, что вы, лоботрясы, ни черта не могли сделать с Клименко.

    "Макара ко мне!"
    I understand what it means, but I don't understand how the cases are working here. If he is calling Makar, why did he put his name in genitive or accusitive, there is that extra "a" on the end. And why does he say "ко" instead of "к"?

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    "Н-но, протри ветровые стёкла!"

    "Н-но" usually is a statement spoken to a horse to force it to go. In this case it is applied to a man, that is not very polite. "Протри" is from "тереть" (rub). Means "rub windshields completely!".

    "Гляди мне, ухо востро держи!"

    "Гляди мне!" does not have definite sense. It just means "kind threat" that can lead some consequences in a case of non-execution. "Ухо востро держи!" The word "востро" comes from word "острый" (sharp). The whole sentense is an idiom which is used only in this way. Literally it is translated "keep your ear sharp" and means "be ready to dangers and surprises".

    "Ишь ты, деликатный выискался."

    This sentense has ironic sense. Especially because of interjection "ишь ты!" that express surprise. Word "выискался" comes from word "искать" and is used only in ironic sentenses of such type. Sometimes it can be used "нашёлся" instead. Speaker laugh at other man because he think of it as too delicate.

    "Не то, что вы, лоботрясы, ни черта не могли сделать с Клименко"

    "Лоботряс" (трясти лбом — to shake forehead) is a stupid, adscent-minded man. "Не то, что вы, лоботрясы" means comparison probably between these men and someone in preceding sentense who did something with Клименко as opposed to these men that did nothing.

    "Макара ко мне!"

    Here word "позовите" was skipped. "Позовите Макара ко мне!" means "Call Makar to me!" When he skip word "позовите" it makes the sentense shorter and so more similar to order than to polite request.
    If you will use preposition "к" with word "мне" then you will have to pronounce three consonants in a row. It is much better to use preposition "ко" that exist in Russian too.

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    Thanks for the help Tu!
    "Н-но, протри ветровые стёкла!"

    "Н-но" usually is a statement spoken to a horse to force it to go. In this case it is applied to a man, that is not very polite. "Протри" is from "тереть" (rub). Means "rub windshields completely!".
    Yes, but he said it while he was riding in a sleigh, so he was probably talking to the horse. What would it mean in that context?

    another question: now in website I see "вы" capitalized, but they never do this in books. whys that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pravit
    Yes, but he said it while he was riding in a sleigh, so he was probably talking to the horse. What would it mean in that context?
    So it means that the horse must take brush, come to windshield and clean it up…

    Using capitalized letter in "вы" is not so necessary. You use it when you want to underline your respect to collocutor. It is usually used in formal business letters. In private correspondence you don't have to capitalize it. But otherwise nothing bad will happen. Some Russians have difficulties with using big letter and they often put it just for safety because they are afraid that they can insult someone. My advise is to use it when speaking with unfamiliar people (when you write a letter to chief-editor of a newspaper, director of partner company, politician etc). If you write to quite familiar people which often speaking with you (your director, teacher at university, your co-workers) you can use small letter. It depends whether you have enough friendly relations of not. If you speak with your friends even if they older than you, you should not use capitalized letter because it will be too formal.

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    So it means that the horse must take brush, come to windshield and clean it up…
    I don't understand. How would he do that? Do you mean a windshield as in a car windshield, because if I know correctly, sleighs don't have windshields...

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    You know better. This sentense doesn't have double sense and much probably he is talking not to a horse. Because I've never seen horse that can clean up glasses. Whom he is talking with perhaps you can know from previous sentense or at least from surrounding situation and context. Sleighs don't have windshields (or maybe he has put it there). He can speak not about sleighs.

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    May be it means "Rub your eyes!" ?

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    It has to be the horse, because this is the whole selection in context:
    Показались дома Семеновки. Виктор стал на колени, поправляя обмундирование, повесил на плечо автомат. Макар не шелохнулся. Он задумчиво смотрел куда-то далеко, в заснежное поле.
    -Н-но, милая, протри ветровые стекла! - Виктор ударил вожжой лошадь. Комья снега полетели на сани.

    So unless Viktor is gay man he is talking to the horse,because the only other person in the sleigh is Makar, and he should not be a милая. Even if he was gay it would be милый wouldn't it? Anyhow he is obviously in a sleigh with horse, so I don't know what he means by that sentence.

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    So it means "rub your eyes, are you blind?" to a horse.

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    I think he was using "протри ветровые стекла" metaphorically. He implied "You must see what's in front of you crearly. Get ready to ride fast!!" Does this make sense in your situation?
    ~ Мастерадминов Мастерадмин Мастерадминович ~

  11. #11
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    I don't think that the phrase was meant as an order. It was used on analogy of driving in a car.

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