Tag Archives: Russian

Russian up… and some other phrasal verbs you never knew existed

russian out up

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

The other day I had another class with my Russian beginner group and one of my students had just returned from a trip to Russia. We all asked how it went and he was really enthusiastic about it, though he admitted he was ‘a bit russioned out‘ by the end of it (= a bit tired from hearing Russian all the time). Wow! Once again I was surprised by the creativity of English!

However, this reminded me of how I went to visit my friend and her baby daughter, and when her English husband was in another room we obviously switched from English to Russian, so he shouted ‘Stop russioning her [the baby] up!’

Ah, the ever-so-flexible English language, even when it comes to Russian!

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Losable… and other -able adjectives

losable

Photo credit: funnyjunk.com

What an eventful week… Yesterday I taught my first Russian class at a language school – it was a new experience for me as so far I have only taught individual students. It is also a men-only group, so it was very funny when they arrived and got their little notebooks out and said they felt like they were back to school. Then they started comparing notebooks and telling each other where they got them from – some ‘stole’ theirs from work, while some had to go to a stationary shop. The guy who came with a brand-new notebook said he didn’t know whether to buy a large A4 one or a smaller (A5) size, but decided to go for the smaller one, which, they all agreed, was more portable, but also more ‘losable‘! What an adorable word!

I’ll be honest – I do have a strange fascination with these made-up-on-the-spot words ending in ‘-able’.

When I watched ‘Closer’ for the first time, there was a scene in which Jude Law said about Nathalie Portman ‘She’s completely lovable, and completely unleavable‘, and it just blew me away. I guess one of the reasons I love English so much is that it is so flexible and it lends itself to puns and wordplay and making things up and really encourages a playful attitude to a language.

I am really looking forward to the next lesson in the hope that my students learn some Russian and I maybe learn some an English word or two!

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‘Thank you’, ‘Please’ and the magic words

thank you in english

Photo credit: Margaret Littman, Tribune Newspapers

When I was initially thinking about how to structure this blog, I was considering (and many people were encouraging me) to write it in Russian. I thought that would somewhat limit the number of potential readers, so I decided to go with English. However, sometimes I come across phrases that have perfect Russian equivalents (and I have a thing for perfect equivalents – as if something in my mind clicks and the missing piece of a puzzle falls into place), so I can’t resist mentioning them.

Yesterday I spent about an hour reading a book in a café and there was a mother with a 5- or 6-year old daughter at the next table. At some point she was given something sweet, I think, but forgot to say ‘Thank you’. To which her mother replied ‘I think the word ‘thank you’ was lacking‘. I immediately thought of how in Russian we say ‘А где же волшебное слово?’ (‘And what about the magic word’) when we want a child to be polite and say ‘Please’. To me that’s a near-perfect equivalent!

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