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Thread: "B" and "HA"

  1. #1
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    "B" and "HA"

    Im finding it difficult to know when to use B before a word and when to use HA before one as a preposition. does anyone know any good rules to help decide

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    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Generally speaking, «в» translates as "in" and «на» translates as "on". These are sometimes used differently than in English, and they're also both used in different circumstances when you mean "at" (e.g. «на работе» = at work, «в школе» = at school). It's difficult for an English speaker to know intuitively which one is used in which situation, so it's best to just learn them by rote.

    Another example: «в России» = in Russia, but «на Украине» = in Ukraine (note that Ukraine is the exception to the rule here, almost all other countries use «в»).
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    Administrator MasterAdmin's Avatar
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    Read these two lessons:
    В - Russian Prepositions
    На - Russian Prepositions

    There's no simple explanation because the use of prepositions is often idiomatic. The choice of prepositions is not identical in English and Russian even in simple phrases. For example, in English you can say "in the end" and "at the end" which will be "в конце" in Russian. But you'll get better at picking the right ones with time.

    P.S. Funny, you typed the Russian prepositions in Latin letters

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    When I studied Russian in college, we were taught that, generally speaking, one used в with "enclosed spaces" and на with "open spaces", which may be a better guideline than trying to say that one equals "in(to)" and the other equals "on(to)". This is also true for their antonyms: the preposition из suggests leaving an "enclosed space" while с suggests leaving an "open space."

    Admittedly, in practice it may not be always obvious which is an "enclosed space" and which is an "open space." For example, if I'm not mistaken, the noun аэропорт was historically considered an "open space" (think of the runways) and therefore usually took на, but nowadays the word is seen more as an "enclosed space" (think of the terminal buildings) and thus the preposition в is often preferred.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

  5. #5
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    Another example: «в России» = in Russia, but «на Украине» = in Ukraine (note that Ukraine is the exception to the rule here, almost all other countries use «в»).
    I'm quite sure that exception comes from old name of Ukrain - it used to be called not "Украина" but "Окраина", which means "the edge". So the natural preposition was "на" - "на окраине" ("on the edge"). Later it changed for some reason to "на Украине", and during the last several years some people from Ukrainian government started trying to change the preposition to "в Украине", like for all other countries. The grammatically correct version is "на Украине":

    Как правильно: на Украине или в Украине?



    Литературная норма современного русского языка: на Украине, с Украины.

    «В 1993 году по требованию Правительства Украины нормативными следовало признать варианты в Украину (и соответственно из Украины). Тем самым, по мнению Правительства Украины, разрывалась не устраивающая его этимологическая связь конструкций на Украину и на окраину. Украина как бы получала лингвистическое подтверждение своего статуса суверенного государства, поскольку названия государств, а не регионов оформляются в русской традиции с помощью предлогов в (во) и из...» (Граудина Л. К., Ицкович В. А., Катлинская Л. П. Грамматическая правильность русской речи. М.: Наука, 2001. С. 69).

    Однако литературная норма русского языка, согласно которой следует говорить и писать на Украине, – результат исторического развития языка на протяжении нескольких столетий. Сочетаемость предлогов в и на с определенными словами объясняется исключительно традицией. Ср.: в школе, в институте, в аптеке, в отделе, но: на заводе, на почте, на курорте, на складе и т. д. Литературная норма не может измениться в одночасье из-за каких-либо политических процессов.

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    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxygent View Post
    I'm quite sure that exception comes from old name of Ukrain - it used to be called not "Украина" but "Окраина", which means "the edge". So the natural preposition was "на" - "на окраине" ("on the edge"). Later it changed for some reason to "на Украине", and during the last several years some people from Ukrainian government started trying to change the preposition to "в Украине", like for all other countries. The grammatically correct version is "на Украине":
    That's interesting. Could that also possibly explain why, until fairly recently, it was commonly referred to as "The Ukraine" in English ("the edge"?)
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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demonic_Duck View Post
    That's interesting. Could that also possibly explain why, until fairly recently, it was commonly referred to as "The Ukraine" in English ("the edge"?)
    He-he! The Ukrainian goverment not only taught Russians how to speak Russian (в Украине) but also taught native English speakers how to speak English (The Ukraine)!
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  8. #8
    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Except with English speakers, because we're so obsessed with political correctness, it worked!

    (Just to clarify, it's now simply called "Ukraine", whereas before it was called "The Ukraine".)
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  9. #9
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    For example, if I'm not mistaken, the noun аэропорт was historically considered an "open space" (think of the runways) and therefore usually took на, but nowadays the word is seen more as an "enclosed space" (think of the terminal buildings) and thus the preposition в is often preferred.
    No, "в аэропорт" and "в порт" only possible both in the past and now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Demonic_Duck View Post
    Another example: «в России» = in Russia, but «на Украине» = in Ukraine (note that Ukraine is the exception to the rule here, almost all other countries use «в»).
    "На" is used with islands (на Кубу, на Таити) and with many Russian and Ukrainian provinces and historical regions (на Брянщину, на Волынь) so the argument is: as Ukraine in not a province any more but a separate state, it should be grammatically supported.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  10. #10
    Старший оракул
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    For example, if I'm not mistaken, the noun аэропорт was historically considered an "open space" (think of the runways) and therefore usually took на, but nowadays the word is seen more as an "enclosed space" (think of the terminal buildings) and thus the preposition в is often preferred.
    I imagine, this could be a story of how an аэродром ("open space") evolved into an аэропорт ("enclosed space").

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