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Thread: Usage of hyphen "-" in Russian

  1. #1

    Usage of hyphen "-" in Russian

    My Russian textbook is using hyphens quite a lot.
    I am not sure if ths is a peculiarity of the book, or if hyphens are an important part of the Russian language? (E.g. more than in other European langauges?)

    Is the hyphen actually needed in the sentence below?

    Russia is a wonderful country!
    России - замечательная страна!


  2. #2
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    Re: Usage of hyphen "-" in Russian

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Is the hyphen actually needed in the sentence below?

    Russia is a wonderful country!
    России - замечательная страна!.
    This sentence must have a dash ( — ) rather then a hyphen ( - ). And it does require a dash. We don't normally use any linking verbs in present tense, so we use a dash instead. The dash is used in many other situations as well.

  3. #3
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    Re: Usage of hyphen "-" in Russian

    There is difference between dash — (U+2014) and hyphen - (U+2010).

    The hyphen ( - ) is a punctuation mark used both to join words and to separate syllables of a single word. It is often confused with dashes ( –, —, ― ), which are longer and have different uses, and with the minus sign ( − ) which is also longer. The use of hyphens is called hyphenation.

    So you should distinguish between the minus sign, the dash symbol and the hyphen symbol.

    Hyphens in Russian language serve as complex word separators:
    монтажник-ремонтник, диван-кровать, слесарь-гинеколог.
    (note, there are no spaces before and after the hyphens)

    Dashes are rather important punctuation mark in Russian language and there are a number of rules (I wouldn't dare to quote all of them).

    Россия ― замечательная страна.
    (note the whitespaces befor and after the dash).

    In their everyday life people often use - symbol for both (simply because it's easier to type).
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  4. #4
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    Re: Usage of hyphen "-" in Russian

    Usually, dash is used to point to a missing predicate.

    For example, we miss the verb “to be” in the present. So, if sentence is a definition (“formula”: some noun is some noun) you have to put a dash between subject and object in accusative.

    1) Russia is a [large] country.
    Literally: «Россия есть [большая] страна».
    Right: «Россия — [большая] страна».

    2) This building is a hospital.
    Literally: «Это здание есть госпиталь».
    Right: «Это здание — госпиталь».

    Another example is an iterative predicate, which you may miss.

    1) She studies English, and he studies French.
    Literally: «Она изучает английский язык, а он изучает французский».
    However, you may say: «Она изучает английский язык, а он — французский».

    2) The Russian word «пуд» means “pood”, but sometime means “percent” (slang).
    Literally: «Русское слово "пуд" означает "пуд", но иногда означает "процент" (сленг)».
    Or you may say: «Русское слово "пуд" означает "пуд", но иногда — "процент" (сленг)».

  5. #5

    Re: Usage of hyphen "-" in Russian

    Thanks everybod for explaining this - I get it!
    Thanks particularly Звездочёт for the helpful examples.

    Thanks Translationsmru and Ramil for the technical explanation about dash vs hypen.

    Actually I think Russian is spoken in this way too...(?) As if there were dashes.. It sure is a very "compact" language. No un-necessary words at all! Which is way it can sound a bit "abrupt" sometimes for other Europeans.
    When I've been watching films I've started noticing how the actor says two words, but in the subtitles two full rows are needed to convey the message..

    My conclusion from this is that I need to pay attention to dashes and hyphens when I see them.

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    Re: Usage of hyphen "-" in Russian

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