Friday, November 8, 2013

I am at my wit's end = я уже не могу 
День на день не приходится = It's different every day.
Отклонение от нормы = variation from the norm
Witty = остроумный 
Witticisms = остроты 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Я намереваюсь держать пост. I intend to fast.
Наше конкурентное преимущество перед другой компанией - в скорости доставки. Our competitive edge over the other company is our speed of delivery.
Будоражит/сбудараживает. Excite
Удручает. To upset, sadden.
Глумиться над чем-то. To mock something.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Площадь труда - узкое горлышко для движения = [A particular roundabout in Novosibirsk] is a bottle-neck for traffic.
сколько утечет времени = How much time will pass.
Who will this scheme benefit? = Кому поможет эта программа? Для кого назначена эта программа? Для кого эта программа будет полезной? 
Who else might be potential beneficiaries of this scheme? = Для кого еще эта программа могла бы быть полезной? 
a stack of words = множество слов 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Expressing suitability/appropriateness

подходящий к чему? suitable for something
Он сказал слово к месту. He said something appropriate for the occasion. 
кстати = on the right subject 
во время / своевременный timely
Я готов под тебя подстроиться. I can fit in with your plans. 
приспособиться к чему? кому? To adapt to something/someone.
Он так сделал, но это было неуместно = That is what he did, but it wasn't appropriate (in the circumstances) 
Aдекватная реакция = appropriate / commensurate reaction (response)  
Я подобрал галстук под рубашку. I picked a tie to go with my shirt. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Хулиганство равно́ хамству. Hooliganism amounts to (in the same thing as) loutishness.
Иметь/занимать гражданскую позицию. To take an interest in (to hold an opinion on) issues in society.
Загадать загадку / угадать загадку. To give someone a riddle to solve. / To guess (or solve) a riddle.
Угадай с трех раз, кого я увидел в метро. Three guesses who I saw in the metro.
Выдавать желаемое за действительное. To confuse the way one would like things to be with the way they actually are.
Обмен мнениями. Exchange of views. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

палка о двух концах. double-edged sword
Он меня к этому принудил. He forced me to do it.
принуждение. coercion
He is falling asleep in class. Он засыпает на уроке. 
Я не встречал человека, который знал бы Пушкина лучше чем он. I have never met anyone who knew Pushkin better than him.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Панды находятся на грани исчезновения. Pandas are on the verge of extinction.
Он воюет с ветряными мельницами. He is fighting imaginary foes/straw men.
Хлебом его не корми, только дай ему проповеди слушать. All he cares about is listening to sermons.
Журналист разоблачает всякие финансовые пирамиды. The journalist exposes all sorts of financial pyramids.
Undertakers. Гробовщики/похоронное бюро.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

1. Он питает иллюзию, что он хорошо умеет это делать. He is labouring under the impression that he is good at it.
2. Он поехал на север на заработок. He has travelled to the far north to find work to earn money.
3. Мне нужна подработка. I need part-time work to supplement my income.
4. В отличие от некоторых, он умеет работать. Unlike some people, he knows how to work.
5. Приземлиться/примарситься/приводниться/прилуниться. To land/to land on Mars/to land on water/to land on the Moon. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

1. Risky undertaking. Рискованное предприятие. 
2. Activities. Виды деятельности. 
3. Загорелся чек на панели. The warning light on the dashboard has come on/illuminated.
4. Он заплатил за услугу авансом/наперёд. He paid for the service in advance/up-front.
5. I commend him for good behaviour. Я его одобряю за хорошее поведение. 
6. Он умеет обуздывать свои эмоции. He is able to control his emotions. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1. Все знают английский за исключением этой девушки. Everyone knows English apart from that girl.
2. Бывает, что читаешь и натыкаешься на какое-то незнакомое слово. Sometimes when you are reading you encounter a word you don't know. 
3. He is a bit spineless. Он такой бесхребетный.
4. Day-light robberyГрабёж среди белого дня.
5. Он уклоняется от ответа. He gives evasive answers. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Five words/phrases in Russian-English

Он должен вставить свои пять копеек = He has to give his tuppence worth OR to throw/put in his two cents
Он суёт свой нос в чужие дела = he pokes his nose into other people's business
Спрягай правильный глагол "to play" = conjugate the regular verb "играть"
Мелкая река = shallow river
Она родила близнецов/двойню = she gave birth to twins (male/female)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In-laws and what they are called (not behind their backs, I should add)

In Russian the words for various in-laws do not use the simple 'X-in-law' formula used in English. 

Here is a table showing the various relations. If you are married to (or would like to be married to) a Russian, this will come in useful, if only to follow tales of long-lost relatives at застолья!

In English the same terms are basically much simpler, using the said 'X-in-law' formula.

Here are the equivalents (based on the diagram above, clockwise):
- сват = son-in-law's / daughter-in-law's father (no special term)
- сватья = son-in-law's / daughter-in-law's  mother (no special term)
- свекровь = mother-in-law
- невестка = daughter-in-law
- свекр = father-in-law
- сноха = daughter-in-law
- деверь = brother-in-law
- невестка = sister-in-law
- невестка = sister-in-law
- золовка = sister-in-law
- зять = brother-in-law
- своячница = sister-in-law
- зять = brother-in-law
- шурин = brother-in-law
- тесть = father-in-law
- зять = son-in-law
- тёща = mother-in-law
- зять = son-in-law

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Top ten tips for learning English (or any language for that matter)

1.      Active knowledge (speaking, writing) is built on passive knowledge (listening, reading), so listen and read to as much as you can. (The ideal opportunity is to be ‘immersed’ in English, eg by travelling to the UK or other English-speaking country)

2.      When you read and listen, don’t just try to understand, but also observe and remember the words and expressions mother-tongue speakers use – and copy them

3.      Systematically write down and remember words and phrases, especially ones you can use again

4.      When you can’t say something or when you make a mistake find out how to say it correctly and learn for next time

5.      Play puzzles and word games

6.      Read out loud

7.      Practise translating phrases and texts from Russian into idiomatic English (or vice versa)

8.      Record and listen to yourself speaking English (or Russian). Realise your weak points and work on them (for example words you mispronounce or grammatical mistakes you make)

9.      Create and use opportunities to compose written texts, learning how to express yourself the way mother-tongue speakers do

10.  Look for and use opportunities to use your foreign language in a real-life situation, such as public speaking or speaking to a foreigner.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'Crutch phrases'

Here is a list of common words and phrases used to punctuate/pepper informal everyday speech - in Russian and English.

просто (just, as in, "I just want to say...")
в общем (basically)
собственно (basically)
честно говоря (To be honest with you)
по большому счету (for all intents and purposes)
получается (So, basically...)
так сказать
ну (erm... [if thinking about answer])
ну (uh-huh [if expressing agreement]
ну (y-e-e-e-s [if expressing qualified agreement])
как говорится 
кстати, между прочим (by the way)
конечно (absolutely)
пожалуй (probably, maybe)
как бы (as it were)
то есть (that is to say)
в конце концов, в итоге (At the end of the day)
и все (full stop [GB], period [USA])
Само собой разумеется (It goes without saying)
совершенно верно (Totally. Absolutely.)
понимаешь? (Do you know what I'm saying?)
нужно признать (in all fairness, to be fair)
типо (sort of)
на самом деле (actually)
не скажешь, что он Альберт Эйнштейн. Он далеко не  Альберт Эйнштейн (He's not exactly Albert Einstein)

I can edit/add new items as reponses come in. 

Mission statement

This blog is intended for language learners: English-speakers learning Russian and Russian-speakers learning English.

The idea is provide bite-sized posts on various aspects of language learning and usage.

In so doing I hope to inspire greater language learning and hopefully insight and understanding.