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    More on Verb Tense

    Сюда перепечатаю (а как по-русски cut-and-paste?) целый текст статьи, так как он скоро изчезнет за занавес денег на сайте moscowtimes.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2 ... 0/007.html
    Friday, April 20, 2007. Page 8.

    Getting a Little Verb Tense
    By Michele A. Berdy

    Как схватит...: suddenly grabbed/grabs

    Way back in Russian 101, the language's verb system was presented as a good news-bad news situation. The bad news was aspect, and the good news was the supposedly simple system of tenses. None of the English nonsense of a dozen tenses with preposterous names -- pluperfect, indeed! -- but just three tenses: past, present and future.

    For example, if you take the verb pair читать/прочитать (to read), there is a compound future -- я буду читать -- that denotes a continuous action in the future, and a simple future -- я прочитаю -- that denotes a time-bound action in the future. Simple, right?

    Wrong. What they failed to tell us in Russian 101 is that the future tense can sometimes be used in the past and present.

    I came across this usage while reading, and since I like grammar -- along with spinach and broccoli -- I got out my favorite Russian grammar book and spent a happy hour on the couch traveling back to the future.

    One of the most common non-future uses of the future tense is in what are called "generalized" sentences. Often, this kind of sentence can be translated with "can": Только Вася ответит на этот вопрос. (Only Vasya can answer that question.) Молодость не вернёшь. (You can't get back your youth.) It is often used in the negative to give a rather emphatic quality to a statement: Я никак не найду свои очки! (I just can't find my glasses anywhere!)

    Another common usage is the future tense with как, which indicates some unexpected and sudden action in the past or present. Я шла по улице, и вдруг кто-то как схватит меня за руку. (I was walking down the street when, suddenly, someone grabbed my arm.) This kind of action is comic-book sudden, and you almost want to add some sound effects: Он сидел спокойно, в полудрёме -- и вдруг как вскочит, как закричит. (He was sitting peacefully, half-dozing, when suddenly Wham! he jumped up and screamed.)

    Other curious -- to us English speakers -- uses of the non-future future in the past and present are mostly found in literature. If you are midway through "War and Peace" in the original -- a typical leisure activity in the expat community -- it may be helpful to know that the pseudo-future is used to denote habitual actions in the present or past. Take this bit from a Chekhov story: Было у него странное обыкновение -- ходить по нашим квартирам. Придёт к учителю, сядет и молчит ... (He had a strange habit of going from apartment to apartment. He'd stop in to see the teacher, sit down, and say nothing.) Here -- if this dose of pure grammar hasn't got you snoring -- you of course noticed that Chekhov has молчит in the present, the action in the future -- but it all takes place in the past.

    This use of the future tense is also found in constructions that give a passage greater immediacy and vividness: Ночь была тихая и ясная. Ветер то прошелестит в кустах, то замрёт. (The night was quiet and clear. The wind would rustle the bushes and then would die down.)

    The most unusual literary usage -- from the point of view of an English speaker -- is the combination of бывало (it would happen) and the simple future tense, which is used to show recurring action in the past. The first time you stumble upon the archaic usage бывало пойду (literally "it would happen I will go"), you're ready to give up on Russian forever. Бывало пойдёшь в лес, и через полчаса уже вернёшься с полной корзиной грибов. (You could go into the woods and come back a half an hour later with a basket full of mushrooms.)

    To which you respond: Никак не пойму! (I just don't get it!) Give me the pluperfect any day.

    Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.

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    Thanks, Chaika. It was interesting to look at these issues from the RSL student point of view.

    By the way, I like this guy articles (those that I've read), but I'm always missing them, since I forget to check the site, and when I do check it, they are locked.
    Please, could anybody who has Michele A. Berdy articles post them on that forum? Pleeese?

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    http://community.livejournal.com/learn_ ... ad=7042682

    "The 'Arm' Word Comes in Handy

    By Michele Berdy

    Рука: hand or arm

    One of the classic "proofs" that Russians are загадочные (mysterious), чудные (odd) or simply не такие, как мы (not like us) is the arm/hand issue. In English, the words are separate and distinct; in Russian, рука is used for both. "Aha!" Westerners say. "Russians are so odd they can't even distinguish their hands from their arms!"

    Actually, Russians seem to have a pretty good grasp, as it were, of the distinction. Furthermore, there is rarely any confusion, mostly because context fills in the blanks. It's hard to imagine a context in which дай руку would mean "give me your arm" or in which you might think рукопожатие meant an "armshake" rather than a handshake.

    The only anatomical confusion I can think of is analogous to English:
    -- Федя сломал руку! -- Где? -- На пляже. -- Нет, я имел в виду, в каком месте сломал? (-- Fedya broke his arm! --Where? -- On the beach. -- No! I meant where on his arm?)

    If you need to be more specific -- say, when talking to a doctor -- you can use the word кисть (hand) or запястье (wrist).

    Russian has dozens of expressions that involve hands, many of them similar to English. For example, signs at a demonstration can demand "Руки прочь от Байкала!" and "Hands off Lake Baikal!" in happy harmony. And поднимать руку has the same meaning as the English "to raise a hand against": Он на женщину руку поднять не может! (He couldn't raise a hand against a woman.)

    But other Russian hand expressions either have slightly different meanings or are expressed a bit differently in English. For example, the notion of "a hand not rising" indicates indecision in Russian: Уже пять лет не ношу эти туфли, а выбросить -- рука не поднимается. (I haven't worn these shoes for five years, but I can't bring myself to toss them out; literally, "my hand doesn't rise to toss them.")

    Руки потирать is to "rub your hands together" in satisfaction, delight or happy anticipation. This is the same in English, although we are more likely to add a bit of clarification. Take, for instance, this poetic example: Ты руки потирал от наших неудач. (You rubbed your hands together in delight over our misfortunes.) In English you might even leave
    out the gesture: You delighted in our misfortunes.

    Руками замахать means to wave your arms around, but it indicates disagreement, as if one were thrashing the air to get rid of a bad smell. Она замахала руками и сказала: "Оставь риторику!" (She waved away his words and said, "Stop blathering!")

    Руками и ногами упираться means to "resist with hands and feet," that is, to refuse to do something. The image is like, say, a cat that one is trying to put in a carrier to drive out to the dacha. This spread-eagle embrace might be described in less-polite terms in English (or in Russian, for that matter), but figuratively we express the concept with slightly different body parts. Можешь упираться руками и ногами, но мы тебя всё равно женим. (You can fight it tooth and nail, but we'll marry you off.)

    Руки ломать is literally "to break one's hands" -- a more vivid version of the English "to wring one's hands." Both mean "to be terribly upset about something." In English you might express the meaning rather than the gesture. Не плачь, Аннушка, не ломай рук. (Don't cry, Annushka, don't despair.)

    Руки чешутся -- literally "my hands are itching" -- conveys an eagerness to do something. In English, only the verb is the same: Так хочется поскорее начать ремонт, аж руки чешутся! (I'm just itching to get started on remodeling.)

    Руки нагреть -- literally "to warm one's hands" -- is a homey gesture for the nasty art of getting kickbacks or windfalls off something or someone. Чиновники нагрели руки на дефолте. (Bureaucrats got rich off the default.)

    In other words, if you've got an itch for money -- scratch it!


    Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter. "
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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    Спасибо, Лампада! Пошуршу по блогам, может быть найду еще что-нибудь.

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    http://pda.moscowtimes.ru/article.php?aid=174290

    Friday, February 9, 2007. Issue 3593. Page 8.

    Talking About the Age of Obsolescence

    By Michele A. Berdy

    Женщина бальзаковского возраста: a woman of a certain (or uncertain) age ###ie

    ###Технический прогресс -- вещь великая (technical progress is a great thing). But there is one problem: It's going so fast it makes me feel old. Way back when -- that is, about 20 years ago -- you had a decade or so to enjoy your VHS tapes before DVDs took over, and your computer broke before you needed to upgrade it. Now, all of this happens in the blink of an eye, and before you've even worked the bugs out of that snazzy printer you bought, your computer guy tells you sadly: Ваш принтер морально устарел (Your printer is obsolete).

    Cruel, cruel world.

    The basic verb for getting old in Russian is стареть, but you need to pay attention to prefixes. Устаревать/устареть is the verb pair you use for an inanimate object that is becoming obsolete. But устареть can also be used to describe anything that is out of date: У Вас устаревшая информация. Наша фирма уже давно ничего не производит. (Your information is out of date. Our company hasn't been involved in production for years.)

    For human beings, you can use the unadorned стареть: Он стареет (He's getting on in years.) After you see someone for the first time in several years, you might exclaim: Как он постарел! (He's really aged.) You might also use the verb состариться: За год после кончины жены он сильно состарился. (He aged tremendously in the year after his wife died.)

    If someone has gotten so old or decrepit he seems to have lost the will to live, you could use the verb сдать: После трагедии он здорово сдал. (After the tragedy he just seemed to fall apart.)

    In Russian you can politely refer to an older person as пожилой: Пожилым людям трудно привыкать к новым условиям жизни. (It's hard for elderly people to adapt to the new living conditions.) Старый is plain old "old." Надо помогать дедушке! Он же старый человек! (You have to help your grandfather. He's an old man.) You often hear old people referred to as старик/старичок (old man) and старуха/старушка (old woman), but these can also be terms of affection for your much younger peers: Слушай, старик, давай сходим в баньку. (Come on old man, let's go to the bathhouse.)

    On those dark days when you are feeling your age or older, your Russian friends -- kind, loyal, devoted and cheerful liars that they are -- will protest: Ты -- старая? Ты же во цвете лет! You -- old? You're still in the bloom of youth!) Or: Ты в расцвете сил! (You're at the peak of your powers!) Or the delightful: Ты в самом соку! (You're in your prime, literally "you're right in the juice").

    These middle-aged folks can be neutrally called люди средних лет. Middle-aged women are sometimes called женщины бальзаковского возраста (literally "women of a Balzacian age"). This refers to the age of the older women Balzac wrote about fondly.

    A less fond designation is женщины не первой молодости (women past their first youth). A most un-fond designation is the jocular женщины не первой свежести (literally "women past their first freshness"). This comes from the Soviet designation of продукты второй свежести ("food in the second category of freshness") and unfortunately might be translated as "women past their sell-by date."

    So what is this euphemistic "certain age?" Here it gets tricky. Russian blogs insist that Balzac's women "of a certain age" were 25 to 30, but when I conducted an informal poll of Russians to find out what бальзаковский возраст meant to them, I got a range of 35 to 45.

    But one blogger begs to disagree. He clarifies the question this way: Особы не первой молодости, лет под тридцать и более... (Women past their first youth -- going on 30 and older ...)

    A 28-year-old woman -- past her first youth? Cruel, cruel world.

    Michele Berdy is a Moscow-based interpreter and translator.
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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    http://www.multitran.ru/c/m.exe?a=Forum ... &L1=1&L2=2

    Friday, June 9, 2006. Issue 3429. Page 8.

    Getting Your Translation Money's Worth
    By Michele A. Berdy

    Переводчик: translator, a highly skilled professional

    I need a vacation. I know because the run-of-the-mill follies of translation and interpretation that I usually barely notice have been driving me nuts lately. I keep writing on different themes and how to tackle them in Russian, but maybe I should write a bit about what translation and interpretation are.

    They are professions. The ability to translate is very different from language competence. If someone can understand another language or speak it, it doesn't mean he or she can translate it.

    This means that you shouldn't hire your sister-in-law's friend's daughter who just graduated from a teaching institute with a major in English to translate your hotel guest information. Because if you do, she will write: In extreme cases turn to the reception service. The Russian guests know what to do (в случае экстремальной ситуации обращайтесь в службу приёма), but English speakers will have a hard time getting "in case of emergency, contact reception" from her efforts. Russian guests will also understand 12.00 – единый расчётный час, but English speakers will be baffled by "12:00 are a settling hour." Make that "Check out is at noon."


    Or if you ask your teenage nephew -- "он знает английский в совершенстве" (he knows English perfectly) -- to translate Московская консерватория имени Чайковского, it may come out as the Moscow Conservatory in the name of Tchaikovsky.

    When you hire translators, you should expect them to translate everything and not leave out the hard bits. So you shouldn't pay someone for rendering the phrase "the next stage is the road show" as: следующий этап -- road-show. It is also cheating to just transliterate. "Shopping mall" shouldn't appear in a Russian text as шопинг-молл. If you get a text with half the words highlighted by your spell-checker, you're dealing with an amateur.

    You can also expect translators to find the accepted English spelling of non-Russian names and organizations, instead of just translating from Russian (or vice versa). That means that Всемирная организация здравоохранения will not be rendered as the All-World Organization of Public Health, but the World Health Organization. And the Chinese province of Хейлуйдзян will not be Kheiluidzyan, but Heilongjiang. A client should expect this even if half the translator's fee goes to pay the Internet bill for checking it all.

    These might seem like minor annoyances, but examples of mistranslation are legion. I'll bet anything the folks who needed to translate the name of a recent student journalist competition didn't ask an experienced professional for help. So Russia Beyond the Headlines (Россия не по газетам) was billed as Россия Вне Стереотипов (Russian Beyond Stereotypes). If you didn't know better, you would think young Russians were all bizarrely obsessed with stereotypes about their country.

    If you have an interpreter at a meeting, you should expect constant, complete translation. If you ever have to ask, "Why are they laughing?" your interpreter isn't on the job. Interpreters always speak in the first person, in part so the audience can tell if the speaker is referring to himself or someone else. If you hear "He said that ... " (Он говорил, что ...) -- you've got a novice. Get the hook.

    And if you have a VIP coming to speak, hire a VIP interpreter. I know what American actor Richard Gere and Turkish author Orhan Pamuk said in Russia, but the Russian-speaking audience didn't always hear it.

    Also make sure your translator knows the subject. There are no universal translators, so run from anyone who promises любой текст в любой области в кратчайший срок (any text in any field in record time). I may be a native speaker of English, but I can't tell a widget from a washer, so don't ask me to translate a Russian technical manual.

    Although I did do a pretty good job on those VCR instructions, didn't I?

    Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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    http://www.russiansabroad.com/news/Russ ... leId=38363

    Taking Plunge Into Plumbing Nightmare

    By Michele A. Berdy
    To Our Readers


    Ремонт сантехники: Plumbing repairs, an expensive, time-consuming, intrusive process to fix broken plumbing; can be translated as "the seventh circle of hell."


    If I were to write an up-to-date, truly useful Russian-English phrase book, right after the most basic sentence all foreigners should know -- "My papers are in order" (мои документы в порядке) -- the next phrase would be "I need a plumber right away!" (Мне срочно нужно вызвать сантехника!) In my funky apartment, water is always flowing where it shouldn't and not flowing where it should.

    Should this happen to you (and it will, believe me) call your local ремонтно-эксплуатационное управление, or РЭУ, (housing maintenance and repair administration) right away. They are commonly referred to as коммунальщики (the utilities folks).

    The dispatcher will ignore your first 10 calls, so call early and call often. If you are lucky, he will say: я принял вашу заявку, и слесарь придёт сегодня после обеда (I've taken your order and the plumber will be there after lunch today). Слесарь is an all-purpose word that means anything from plumber to locksmith to repairman, depending on the context. Сантехник is a more specialized professional, trained to deal with broken pipes and leaky toilets. All are hired based on their capacity to consume enormous amounts of alcohol and still tell a wrench from a hacksaw. После обеда means any time between 2 p.m. and the end of the following week. Prepare to wait.

    If you are suffering from nothing more than a leaky faucet, you can say: кран на кухне течёт (the kitchen tap drips). If the drip is a torrent, you can say (to get more prompt service): из крана сильно течёт (the faucet is gushing!). Hopefully, the plumber will just have to change the washer (заменить прокладку) and not put in a new faucet altogether (поменять кран). To do either he'll have to turn off the water, so it is good to know (having asked your landlord ahead of time) where the turn-off valves are (где вентили, чтобы перекрывать воду?). In my apartment, built during more communal times, the turn-off valves are in the apartment next to mine, accessed through the next подъезд. This makes simple home repairs a nightmare of negotiation and coordination.

    If, on the contrary, the problem is water that doesn't flow, i.e. a clogged drain, the dispatcher will first try to solve the problem over the phone. If that doesn't work, he'll send in the boys with the plumber's snake (трос), and you can watch 30 years of the previous tenants' grease and gook get scraped from the pipes.

    Or let's say -- hypothetically, of course -- that you come back from a delightful Christmas vacation in placid American suburbia to discover the absolute worst plumbing crisis known to post-Soviet man: трубу прорвало (a pipe burst). This is at least a three-day crisis. Day one: Call the plumber, who determines the nature and scope of the disaster and writes a shopping list of plumbing supplies for you to buy. Day two: Go to the строительный рынок (building supplies market) with the shopping list and buy mysterious items. Day three: Empty out three storage spaces and give up your apartment to two drunken plumbers who will enrich your vocabulary of Russian obscenities and drench your carpets before finishing the job.

    And then there's Day four: Go to the downstairs neighbors and find out the damage there. Залили (или затопили) соседей (we flooded the neighbors) is one of the most chilling phrases in the Russian language. Not only will you have to pay for your repairs, you'll have to pay to repaint, re-wallpaper and refit whatever your gushing pipes ruined below you. At this point, закон подлости (Murphy's Law) is sure to kick in. You will discover that just before the holidays your neighbors finished евроремонт (European-style remodeling), and you will have to pay to fly in three Italian kitchen remodeling specialists, along with a bin of silk wallpaper and a crate of handmade ceramic tiles.

    Which is why the third essential sentence in my phrasebook is: Разливай водку! (Start pouring the vodka!)


    Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator.
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



  8. #8
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    Whoa! Thanks, Lampada!
    I've also found a few articles by Berdy, but I feel bad for invading Chaika's topic. Shouldn't we start a new one or it's to late?

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    http://compling2.narod.ru/volodja.html

    Friday, May 14, 2004. Page 7.

    Linguistic Highlights of the Putin Presidency

    By Michele A. Berdy

    Надо исполнить закон всегда, а не только тогда, когда схватили за одно место: You have to obey the law all the time, not just when they've got you by the short and curlies.
    History will judge Vladimir Putin's presidency, but judging by a new book -- Путинки: Краткий сборник изречений президента (Putinki: A Short Collection of the President's Sayings) -- we can say one thing for certain: Putin has revolutionized the language of the Russian presidency.

    His are not the folksy inaccuracies of Mikhail Gorbachev (ложьте for положите), the verbal tics of Boris Yeltsin (Понимаешь? You know?) or the
    malapropisms of Viktor Chernomyrdin (Мы всегда можем уметь -- We can always be able). And it's not that Putin's speech is crude (though it can be salty), street-tough (though cop-talk sneaks in) or inappropriate (though it comes close). But it is plain-talking, straight, down-to-earth Russian. He calls it like he sees it.

    Take this comment about Russian participation in Iraq: В ответ на предложение, чтобы российские военнослужащие сейчас приняли участие в операции в Ираке, так и хочется сказать: нашли дураков. (In response to the proposal that Russian armed forces take part in operations in Iraq, you want to say -- right, like we're that stupid.) Or one of his many comments directed at the oligarchs: Все должны раз и навсегда для себя понять -- надо исполнять закон всегда, а не только тогда, когда схватили за одно место.
    (Everyone has to understand once and for all that you have to obey the law all the time, not just when they've got you by the short and curlies.) Or his comments on criminals: Когда смотришь на это, кажется, что своими руками задушил [преступников]. Но это эмоции. (When you see all that, you feel like you could strangle the criminals. But that's just emotion talking.) Or on terrorists: Когда Буш говорит о Бен Ладене как "о злодее" -- он очень интеллигентно выражается. У меня другие определения. Но я не могу их использовать в средствах массовой информации. (When Bush calls bin Laden a villain, he's speaking very properly. I'd use other words. But I can't use them in the mass media.)

    He's clear about Russia's position in the world: Россия не стоит с протянутой рукой и ни у кого ничего не просит. (Russia is not standing
    around with its hand outstretched; we're not asking anyone for anything.)
    Or more poetically: Она [Россия] как птица, будет хорошо летать, если будет опираться на два крыла [Европа и Азия]. (Russia is like a bird; she'll fly well if she is supported by two wings [Europe and Asia].) Or more logically: Если мозги утекают, значит они есть. Уже хорошо. Значит они высокого качества, иначе они никому не были бы нужны и не утекали. (If there is a brain drain, it means there are brains here. That's a good start. It means that they are high-quality or else no one would want them and there would be no brain drain.)

    And he's not afraid to call Russia on some of its failings: У нас старинная
    русская забава -- поиск виновных. (We have an old Russian pastime: search for the guilty.) Neither is he afraid to admit to some of the temptations he experiences as president: Не могу выйти за рамки Конституции России, но иногда очень хочется. (I can't operate outside of the framework of the Russian Constitution, although sometimes I'd really like to.) Самое простое -- махать шашкой, рубить головы и выглядеть на этом фоне крутым руководителем. (The easiest thing to do is rattle your saber, cut off some heads and look like a tough-guy leader.)

    Nor does he spare his former co-workers: Спецслужбы не должны совать свой нос в гражданское общество. (The secret services shouldn't stick their nose into civil society.)

    Why does this go down so well? My theory is that he owes his great
    popularity with the Russian public to the way he speaks. He's the first
    Russian president who sounds like the guy next door.


    Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Whoa! Thanks, Lampada!
    I've also found a few articles by Berdy, but I feel bad for invading Chaika's topic. Shouldn't we start a new one or it's to late?
    Ой, я как-то не подумала, что захватываю Чайкину тему.
    Чайка, извини! Ты как? А то я могу перенести мои посты в новую тему.
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



  11. #11
    DDT
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    I have given up the Gambling, the Wine and the Cows!.. I'm back now! ....nope Im gone again!
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    Well so far I have only managed to get through Chaikas' post. Interesting but not as hard to understand as the author intimates. I have tried to read more complicated and confusing Russian concepts!
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

  12. #12
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    Re: More on Verb Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    Сюда перепечатаю (а как по-русски cut-and-paste?) целый текст статьи
    Копирую сюда текст статьи...

    cut-and-paste = просто "скопировать"
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Есть одно дурное слово, которое я услышал от одного программиста: "копипастить".

    - Я сейчас это быстро откопипастю.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Есть одно дурное слово, которое я услышал от одного программиста: "копипастить".

    - Я сейчас это быстро откопипастю.
    А, точно, я такое тоже слышала. Только оно звучало "скопипэйстить".
    Но, Чайка, не пиши так, пожалуйста
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Старший оракул
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    Руки ломать is literally "to break one's hands" -- a more vivid version of the English "to wring one's hands."
    Между прочим, есть ещё выражение "выкручивать руки", совсем с другим значением -- заставлять кого-то сделать то, что он не хочет.
    ...your computer broke before you needed to upgrade it...
    Компьютеры раньше не ломались!
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

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    Lampada , да нет! Подвези как можно больше статей этой забавной писательницы, чтоб они все были вместе. Побукмаркирую эту страницу в del.icio.us под словами russian language Berdy. =:^)

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    Вот несколько ее статей, найденные мною в блогах.
    к сожалению, названия не всегда были указаны.


    On paronyms by M. Berdy (точное название неизвестно).

    Paronimy: paronyms, words allied by derivation from the same root.

    Because Russian is largely built on one proto-language that has been fine-tuned by all sorts of prefixes and suffixes over the millennia, there is a plethora of paronymous words that native speakers often confuse. And if they confuse native speakers, they're guaranteed to wreak havoc with us hapless non-native speakers.

    A classic example is abonement and abonent. Abonement is a season ticket, a subscription; abonent is the subscriber. Ya kupil abonement na tsikl lektsii v muzeye (I bought a season ticket to a series of lectures at the museum.) Ya khochu ostavit soobshchenie dlya abonenta 53999 (I want to leave a message for subscriber 53999).

    Zhelanny/zhelatelny can also throw you. Zhelanny is something you are aiming for, zhelatelny is what you would like to see happen, the preferred outcome. Sometimes these are synonyms - what you are aiming for is what you prefer to get - but sometimes they are not. However, you can see the subtle distinction in the following sentence (which is a bit of a linguistic stretch, for illustration purposes): Dima - zhelatelny kandidate, no Sasha - nash zhelanny kandidat. (Dima is a preferred candidate, but Sasha is the candidate we want).

    Confused? Then take two kinds of "friendly": druzhny and druzhestvenny. Both express the idea of "being disposed in a friendly way" but druzhny means "internally friendly," made up of friends, while druzhestvenny means "externally friendly," disposed in a friendly way to others. So druzhnaya komanda is a team made up of friends, while druzhestvennaya komanda is a team that is friendly to other teams.

    You can see the difference in the news headline that was the inspiration for this migraine-inducing column: Yabloko i SPS uzhe ne druzhnyye partii, no mozhet byt, oni stanut druzhestvennymi? This is a real nightmare for translators. What it means is: Once upon a time the members of the Yabloko and SPS parties were all good friends, but now they aren't. Can the parties at least get along? But that doesn't help the poor translator in the news bureau, who has 10 minutes to come up with a headline. How about: Yabloko and SPS are no longer one big happy family, but maybe they can still be friends? Or: Yabloko and SPS are no longer chummy, but maybe they'll at least stay congenial? You lose the word play, but at least you get the meaning.

    Thank heavens nadet/odet (to dress) are paronymous words with clear-cut rules of usage - if complicated. Nadet chto (what) na kogo (on whom) or na chto (on what); odet kogo (whom) vo chto (in what) or chem (as what). The rule of thumb is that nadet is followed by an inanimate object (WHAT you are putting on), and odet is followed by an animate object (WHOM you are putting it on). Nadet is the verb to use when you are talking about yourself. Ya nadela palto (I put on my coat.) Ya nadel braslet na yeyo ruchku (I put the bracelet on her wrist). Ya odela rebyonka v shkolnuyu formu (I dressed the child in his school uniform.) Ya odela rebyonka zaichikom (I dressed the child as a rabbit).

    So how about a more interesting example: What verb do you use for a condom? The confusion comes from not knowing if a body part is considered to be animate or inanimate in Russian. But look at the example above: Ya nadel braslet na yeyo ruchku. In Russian, body parts are inanimate (sorry, guys). Nadet is the way to go: You use it for putting something on yourself, or for putting something on something else.

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    On dogs by M. Berdy (точное название неизвестно).

    Собачник/собачница: dog lover.

    Russian dog lovers are no less passionate about their pets than their cat-loving cousins. A dog in Russian is собака or пёс. Both words are usually made into a million loving diminutives: собачка, собачонка, пёсик. A pedigree dog is either породистая or родословная (a pedigree is a родословие, the same word you use to describe a person’s illustrious parentage). A mutt is a дворняжка or дворняга, from the word for courtyard (двор). But folks who love their noble beast despite its dubious bloodline often pun and call their mixed-breed дворянин, “nobleman,” since двор also refers to the royal court.

    Breeds have various functions, which Russians take seriously. There are служебные собаки (work dogs, often referring to guard dogs), сторожевые (guard dogs), гончие (racing dogs), охотничьи (hunting dogs), пастушьи (shepherds), норные (burrowers, like dachshunds) or легавые (pointers, setters). The classic Russian breeds include the ethereal борзая (borzoi), who looks two-dimensional, лайка самоедская (Samoyed, who looks like a polar bear), and the московская сторожевая (Moscow guard dog), who looks a bit like a St. Bernard, but will take your hand off with one bite. The opposite is болонка, a lap dog.

    If you have a pedigreed dog, you might think about continuing the line. In Russian, the words you use are разведение (breeding) or вязка (the process itself; also the word you use for knitting — go figure). Most of the time the dogs figure it out: You just introduce your bitch (сука) to a handsome sire (кобель) and nature takes care of things. In a couple of months, you have a litter (помёт) of puppies (щенки).

    If you run in a park and are plagued by unleashed dogs chasing after you, you can first call out to the owner: Ваша собака кусается (does your dog bite)? If the answer is a smirk and the dog is still coming at you, shout: Держите вашу собаку на поводке (leash your dog)!

    The kind of owner who lets his dog chase after hapless joggers needs a дрессировщик (trainer). You can also get a trainer to teach your dog tricks. If it’s a fancy trick, you can call it трюк — but this is more like what animals do in the circus.

    Every dog owner needs a vet: ветеринарный врач. Раз в году врач делает собаке прививки (once a year the vet gives my dog her shots). The vet (or pet store) can also help you with other problems that plague dogs that spend time at the dacha: fleas (блохи) and ticks (клещи). Мы купили ошейник от блох (we bought a flea collar). Врач дал спрей от клещей (the vet gave us some anti-tick spray).

    Judging by common expressions, dogs in Russia have, well, a dog’s life (собачья жизнь). The adjective from dog — собачий — appears as an intensifier in not very pleasant expressions, like собачий холод (freezing cold, literally “dog cold”), чушь собачья (utter nonsense, bull), собачья усталость (being dog-tired). It’s also handy to know the expression: Какое твоё собачье дело? (It’s none of your damn business!) Two other canine qualities show up in common metaphors: Он был злой, как собака (he was as mean as a junkyard dog); and Он был предан ей, как собака (he was as devoted to her as a dog).

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    The Word's Worth A Guide to the Zone by M. Berdy

    Most ordinary frairy (people) wouldn't have the slightest idea what to do if they woke up and found themselves in prison. Very few Russians have a decent understanding of criminal

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    About "Pofigisti"! by M.Berdy (точное название неизвестно)

    Pofigist: someone who doesn't give a damn about anything

    The Duma election is over, but I still have words associated with it in mind. The turnout (yavka) was sufficient to have it declared legitimate (vybory sostoyalis), and the votes are being counted (idyot podschyot golosov).

    A lot of people chose not to exercise their constitutional right to vote or simply marked the box "protiv vsekh" (against all or "none of the above"). As one disgruntled non-voter said: mnye naplevat na vybory! This was translated in one publication as "I spit on the elections," which is what it means literally, but a better translation might be "I don't give a damn about the elections."

    You can also use the expression, naplevatelskoye otnosheniye (a disdainful attitude) as in the phrase: u nevo naplevatelskoye otnosheniye k rabotye (he doesn't give a damn about his work). Depending on the context, naplevat can sometimes be translated as "forget it," as in the exchange: "Chto mnye delat?" "Naplevat!" ("What should I do?" "Forget it!") Often naplevat is pronounced very deliberately, with pauses between the syllables for emphasis: Na-ple-vat! (Don't give it a thought!)

    In Russian slang you can also say, mnye nachikhat na vybory (literally "I sneeze on the elections") or mnye nakakat na vybory ("I crap on the elections"). All of these expressions are good ways to show your disdain for something or someone, but take care - they are not very polite.

    It's useful to know that when you want to describe something that is an important achievement, sneezing comes to the fore again. Ne baran pochikhal! - literally, "it wasn't just a sheep sneezing" - is the Russian equivalent of the English, "that's nothing to sneeze at."

    If you want to express a more neutral kind of indifference in Russian, you can say, mnye vsyo ravno (it's all the same to me), or mnye bezrazlichno (it's all the same to me). The latter is often used when one is presented with a choice; mnye ravnodushno (it doesn't make any difference to me) can be used to describe a general state of apathy.
    For some reason two idioms in Russian that express indifference involve lights: yemu do lampochka! (lampochka is a light bulb) and yemu do fonarya! (fonar is a street light). Both expressions can be translated, "he couldn't care less" or "he doesn't give a damn."

    In Russian slang, pofigism is a state of total indifference, a "screw it all" or "who cares" attitude. And pofigist is someone who doesn't give a damn about anything or anyone. "Tvoy muzh golosval?" "Da nyet! On - pofigist!" ("Did your husband vote?" "Of course not - he couldn't care less.")

    The main reason for the disdain for elections seems to be a kind of twisted golden rule: do to them as they do to you. There are lots of colorful expressions in Russian for mistreatment and deception: Nas duryat! (They are making fools out of us!); za kogo nas prinimayut? (who do they take us for?); veshayut lapshu na ushi! (they are pulling one over on us, literally, "they are hanging a noodle on our ears."); izdevayutsya nad nami (they treat us like dirt!); vytirayut ob nas nogi! (they treat us like doormats, literally, "they are wiping their feet on us."); vduvayut nas! (they are jerking us around!); pudryat mozgi! (they are screwing around with us, literally, "powdering our minds.")
    So what do you do when they treat you like that? Na-ple-vat!

    ЗЫ. Автор допустил несколько ошибок в русских фразах. Думаю, вы сами их найдете.

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