About English Verbs

Об английских глаголах (статья для изучающих английский язык)

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Каждому, кто изучал английский в школе и в институте, знакомы понятия о правильных и неправильных глаголах (к первым относятся те, которые в прошедших временах заканчиваются на -ed – to like – liked, to want – wanted, to jump – jumped, а у неправильных есть свои собственные формы прошедшего времени: to break – broke – broken, to cut – cut – cut, to see – saw – seen). Помимо этого, школьные учителя рассказывали нам, что существуют глаголы смысловые, и какие-то вспомогательные, и некие модальные глаголы и даже глаголы-связки, но уж этих понятий почти никто в большую жизнь из школы не вынес. В этой статье мы коротко напомним вам о них.

Смысловые глаголы в английском не награждены особыми приметами, этим термином обозначаются все глаголы уже только за то, что они обозначают действие, а следовательно, используются в предложении для описания разнообразных действий.

Jack writes books. Джек пишет книги.

My friend studies biology. Мой друг изучает биологию.

Please, call me at five o’clock. Пожалуйста, позвони мне в пять часов.

А вот вспомогательные глаголы имеют свою специфику. Их всего пять, это глаголы to be, to have, to do, а также слова shall (should), will (would), которые тоже принято считать глаголами, хотя на самом деле никому вообще непонятно что это за чудо-юдо. Вспомогательные глаголы совершенно несамостоятельны: их можно использовать в предложении только в сочетании со смысловыми, то есть всеми остальными, нормальными глаголами, помогая образовывать любые времена или, например, делать из положительного предложения отрицательное или вопросительное.

Теперь скажем пару слов о каждом из них.

Глагол to be уникален на фоне остальных английских глаголов, потому что у него с древних времён сохранилось несколько форм:

– в настоящем времени он приобретает формы am (для первого лица), are (для множественного числа) или is (3-го лица, единственного числа):

I am driving to work. Сейчас я еду на работу.
He is writing a letter. Он пишет письмо.
They are waiting for you. Они ждут вас.

– в прошедшем времени у него две формы: was (для единственного числа), were (для множественного числа)

He was writing a letter when I called. Он писал письмо когда я позвонил..
They were waiting for you at 12:30 yesterday. Они ждали вас вчера в 12:30.
– в будущем времени он приобретает форму will be :

They will be waiting for you tomorrow at five. Они будут ждать тебя завтра в пять.

Вспомогательный глагол to do используют для построения вопросов или отрицаний, причём в настоящем времени имеет форму do или does (для третьего лица в единственном числе), а в прошедшем времени – did.

Do you know her? Ты ее знаешь?
She doesn’t live in this house. Она не живет в этом доме.
Did he go to school last Friday? Ходил ли он в школу в прошлую пятницу?

* Вам вероятно приходилось встречать и такие фразы:

Do you do this exercise daily? – Делаешь ли ты это упражнение ежедневно? – здесь “do” появляется два раза: первый из них – это как раз вспомогательный глагол, который служит для построения вопроса, а второй в данном примере выступает как обычный смысловой глагол “делать” (to do) в настоящем времени.

Глагол to have тоже используют для построения разных временных конструкций, включая вопросительные и отрицательные предложения. В настоящем времени он имеет формы have или has (для 3го лица в ед.ч.), в прошедшем времени – had, в будущем времени will have.

My mother has been to Spain. Моя мама бывала в Испании.
He had seen this movie before we saw it. Он видел этот фильм до того, как мы посмотрели его.

will служит для образования форм будущего времени.

Will you go with me? – Ты пойдёшь со мной?

Shall теперь используется совсем редко: только, когда мы сомневаемся и хотим задать вопрос, следует ли (стоит ли) нам что-то делать –

Shall I write it down for you? – Не записать ли всё это для тебя?

Shall I help you? – Не помочь ли тебе?

А формы should или would помогают обеспечить согласование между разными временами в сложных предложениях:

My husband said that he would be in office. Мой муж сказал, что будет в офисе.

She thinks she should go there by herself. Она считает, что ей следует идти туда одной.

Есть ещё в английском несколько модальных глаголов, которые дают возможность говорящему выразить свое отношение к происходящему или различную степень уверенности (неуверенности) в действии. Это глаголы can (could), may (might), must (had to), need, ought to, should, have to, to be to. Многие из них обладают способностью самостоятельно строить вопрос:

May I help you? (Do I may help you?) Могу ли я вам помочь?

Can you call him now? (Do you can call him now?) Можешь ли ты позвонить ему сейчас?

У модальных глаголов есть свои секреты и о них стоит написать отдельную статью; мы это сделаем в ближайшее время.

А так называемые глаголы-связки – или фразовые глаголы – привязывают к себе другие слова, чтобы получить составное сказуемое:
be, become, keep и некоторые другие:

to become clever – становиться умным,

to keep well – держаться молодцом.

Некоторые глаголы могут одновременно относиться к разным группам глаголов (например, be, do, have), потому что способны выполнять в языке самые разнообразные функции. Более подробно о каждой из групп глаголов мы поговорим в отдельных статьях. Оставайтесь с нами!

Breaking the Myths of Language Learning

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Let us face it: nearly everyone has an item like “learn Spanish” or “do Rosetta Stone class” on their bucket list once in a while. When it comes to learning a foreign language, thousands of people around the world start procrastinating and quite often, they stubbornly stick to a popular myth in order to justify their inaction. I am sure you have heard each of the below statements before. Today we will see if they are credible or not.

Myth 1: “It’s a hard work, I can’t do it.”

When I was a high school graduate, I decided it was time for me to learn some adult life skills, so I took a 6-week contract as a farmer’s apprentice during my summer break (it was in 1982, in the USSR). I remember weeding onions from dawn to sunset along with a dozen of women-farmers, who could do the same job five times faster than me and were a way better adapted to doing it in the mid-summer heat. By the end of the very first day my back was aching like crazy and my hands were cut all over by the taut and elastic stems of weeds. That was a kind of job which I call a hard work.

Learning a foreign language is quite opposite to that. In fact, I wouldn’t call it a work at all. You only need to listen, read, watch and react to the obtained information. Because you don’t know many foreign words, your first reactions are simple: whenever you can understand a phrase, you try to respond with the help of hand movements, mimics, exclamations, gesturing, a bit of acting, etc. This simple activity is already the language learning, because when we communicate, this is exactly what we do: we send and receive portions of meaning to each other. This does not sound like a very hard work… and it isn’t.

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Myth 2: “Learning is boring, it always is.”

The process of learning a foreign language can be boring only to those who-

a) like being bored; or

b) are not motivated for learning,

but if you are well-motivated, you will love it!

To make it easy and captivating, start by setting a very simple goal: to exchange any meaningful units of information with other people. Take a dozen of simple words (for example, take the words: I, you, like, need, work, have, this, room, book, class) and practice putting them together into various combinations. Again, be sure to help yourself with mimics, gestures and any other internationally recognized patterns of non-verbal communication. Then, take another dozen of words, and another. After an hour of such practice you will see that you have learned nearly a hundred of words and – most importantly – you can put them together into simple sentences, which means that you can communicate! Was this boring? I don’t think so!

Every learning process stops being boring when you start doing it right, because it begins sending you signals that you are on the right way. Nothing can motivate a learner better than these little signs of success.

Myth 3: “One must have a talent for languages, I don’t have any”

You will have to believe me on this: you are already talented enough. As a language teacher with 25+ years of experience, I can certify: you do NOT need to have any special gift to learn a  foreign language.

You have somehow mastered your native language, haven’t you? This means that your brain is completely developed and prepared to learn more of the language material, no matter if this is your native language or a foreign one.

All people living on our planet have similar anatomy: one head, two hemispheres of the brain to process information, a tongue to be able to speak, a pair of ears for listening and a pair of eyes for watching your partner in dialogue. This fact makes us equal when it comes to learning anything new. In the beginning, you won’t even need to think or torture your brain by remembering stuff: just listen to others, repeat what they say, and copy their intonation… like all toddlers do when they try to communicate.

Learning a foreign language has very much in common with learning your first, native language: if you were smart enough to master that first one, then you are good enough to master another language.

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Myth 4: “To master a foreign language, I need a classroom.”

There are hundreds of life examples, which can break this myth within minutes. Quite often, people learn a new language without any classroom or coursebooks, simply by immersion in the so-called “language environment”. Our brain is a very flexible organ: it remains adaptable for study from early childhood to very old age; it can learn pretty well without coursebooks or grammar exercises. As soon as your brain receives an “imprint” of a new piece of information (for example, a new phrase which you hear someone say in a street), it imediately “sticks” the imprint to its meaning and puts this new element into a certain “memory cell”. No effort on your part is needed for this. Some classroom study can be helpful to those who need to be organized. Every language learning classroom aims to imitate real life situations to those who are separated from the language environment, but if you are lucky to have this environment around you every day, you can start speaking the new language much sooner than any classroom student.

In fact, our brain never stops to learn: you only need to open your mind, welcome the new knowledge and let it in, within the classroom or out of it.

Myth 5: “It is necessary to live in the country of the language.”

No, this isn’t a necessity at all. As we just mentioned above, your learning process can go  much faster if you live in the country of the language for a while, this is true, but living within the language environment is not a necessary condition for the language study.

Today, we are all lucky to live in the informational society. We have instant access to a whole virtual universe, called the Internet, at a single click of a finger. Why not use it as a medium for learning a foreign language?

You can use the Internet resources for reading, social networks for communication practice, video files for better memorizing, and occasional online sessions with a teacher to get your knowledge organized. Learning foreign languages becomes easier and easier every day now, so don’t waste your time deciding, just start it right away!

Myth 6: “Language learning requires lots of time, I don’t have it.”

The good news is: you don’t have to do hundreds of exercises or drill the rules of the new language for hours; it is enough to give it a few minutes a day, but regularly. Try to fill some gaps in your day-plan with listening practice, simple reading, or doing fun language exercises (a lot of which you can find on numerous Internet sites designed specifically for the language learners like you). Why not take a look into a mobile application while you are waiting for your car to be filled at the station? Or listen a passage or two of a simple story while jogging? Or find a random language lesson on Youtube when doing some housework? If you start with 10-15 minutes a day and turn it into a habit, you will soon enjoy the first results.

In the end, we always learn by ourselves, which means that no one but you are the master of your time and knowledge. If you can organize your time well enough, you will always find a few minutes for the language study. Those who feel that they need someone’s organizing hand, can find a teacher and take a few online classes to get the  general idea of the most effective ways to organize your learning process.

Myth 7: “I am too old for this; I will never learn.”

Growing older does not mean becoming incapable of learning new things. While there are some studies suggesting that children have an easier time learning a second language, no studies suggest there’s an age at which learning abilities disappear for good. So, let us put this myth to rest, too, and hink about another incentive instead: your age gives you some certain advantage in the form of life experience. You have been speaking your native language for quite some time, so your innate knowledge of its grammar and sounds will be helpful when trying to learn a new language from scratch.

Finally, let me tell you that I have been learning English for nearly half a century now, and of course, my English will never be perfect, because I have lived my life in the environment of anoher language, but this does not bother me much, because noone’s language is perfect! It really does not matter, how good, or fluent, or literate you are in a foreign language. The most important thing is to learn how to express your thoughts in it: the task which cannot be boring.

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English: the Lingua Franca of the World

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Historically, the term lingua franca was used to identify a bridge language, representing a mixture of Italian with French, Greek, Arabic, and Spanish, formerly used in the eastern Mediterranean. Today, the term has acquired a much wider meaning: lingua franca is a common language used as a means of global communication. We, people, have always needed it, but today, when the world’s population grows incredibly quickly along with the boosting development of communication technologies, the need for a language of global interaction has become crucial for our survival… and interestingly, it appeared by itself, without waiting for our global negotiation, memorandum signing, or approval. People have chosen English to be their “universal” language, and today this fact is accepted by everybody.

Currently, more than 350 millions of lucky guys around the world speak English as their native language, plus 430 million people are using it as the second language, and it is not difficult to find English speakers practically in all corners of the world. More and more frequently now, English is called the international language of business, science, politics, trade, academic world, journalism, travel, Internet, global press, and its influence continues to increase right at the moment, while I am writing these words.

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(These figures are of the year 2014)

But why is it English? It is not the most spoken language in the world. What makes it our lingua franca today?

Though the number of its speakers soars up with acceleration, it is native to 350 million, while there are 500 million of Spanish speakers, nearly 500 million of Hindustani (Hindi/Urdu) natives and 900 million of Mandarin Chinese speakers in the world. The main explanation of the reason why English has gained the status of the world’s lingua franca lies in its linguistic specificity. English is widely considered as a “simple” language which is relatively easy to pick up. It has no noun genders, no complicated morphology, no tone system, it is written in the Roman alphabet which is pretty good at accurately mapping sounds to symbols, and majority of the English learners agree that, due to its mathematically logical structure, it is relatively easy to build understandable phrases in it. Besides this, the prevalence of English-language movies, television programs, and Internet sites makes the language quite accessible to practice.

At the same time, English has an extensive vocabulary and a highly inconsistent spelling system, which can turn one’s learning process into nightmare. It also has hundreds of irregular verbs, some problematic sounds such as “th”, and a large inventory of vowels which can make it difficult for a foreigner to understand the native speakers of English. Still, representatives of many nations would rather prefer to take time and learn English rather than take up Mandarin, Hindustan, or Arabic, for example.

There is one more explanation of the role of English: a historical one. Generations ago, the United Kingdom became the first industrialized nation; the boosting development of technologies started from there and since then, the English speaking nations have pioneered in technologies and science. They managed to colonize the rest of the developing world far faster than other European countries. At some point, the British Empire covered a quarter of the globe at its largest, including North America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, much of West and Southern Africa, South Asia, and parts of South-East Asia. The UK set up English-speaking systems of government, industry, trade and business, which established English as the language of global power in the industrial era. In the 20th century we could see the transfer of power from one English-speaking expansionist to another: the USA’s cultural, economic, political, and military domination has also encouraged the process of global recognition of English as the most important and influential global language. Today, when the world has entered the informational stage of evolution, English has officially become the language of IT, meaning that its status of the global lingua franca has been reconfirmed, and it is unlikely to change any time soon.

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Quickly About Russian Question Words

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Russians love asking and answering questions. In fact, quite often, our communication process keeps going mainly by means of aking each other short questions and jumping from one topic to another just for the sake of the speech process itself. When meeting, Russian close friends seldom greet each other by traditional “здравствуй” (Hello) or “Доброе утро” (good morning), they rather start with questions right away: “Ну что? Как дела?” (So? How are things?), “Что нового?” (What’s new?), “чем занимаешься?” (What’s keeping you busy?), “Что скажешь?” (What will you tell me?) “как оно?” (How’s it going?)… I could continue this list on and on. All these phrases are cliches: we use them so often that we pronounce them automatically, and quite often a newcomer may not recognize them by an unprepared ear. This is why, I listed the main Russian question words below in this article and supplied them with simple transliteration notes for your convenience.

I think I should share one more little secret here: unlike the English-speakers, when Russians ask something, they expect a full, detailed unswer. The talk may move from one topic to another and return back a number of times; Russian love to interrupt each other by telling stories that just came to their mind in association with the object of discussion, and usually they cannot wait to tell their stories.

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People who ask too many questions are friendly called Почемучка (A-why-so-man or woman); those who seem to know answers to all questions are called Знайка (All-knowing guy).

The good news is the face that many questions in Russian language can be made by simply changing intomation of your sentence. For example, the phtase “Ты можешь мне позвонить” (You can call me) can be considered an affirmative sentence when pronounced with ordinary intonation, and the same phrase can turn into a question “Ты можешь мне позвонить?” (Can you call me?) simply by changing the intonation.

Still, there are a number of question words which, like in every other language, serve to ask for details of some events or actions. Here are these question words, and below, a couple of tables explaining how these words can/should be changed depending on the case, gender, or other grammar specificities.

The main question words in Russian:

Что? [shto] – What?      Кто? [hto] – Who?     Как? [kak] – How?

Сколько? [skolka] or [skoka] – How many?

Почему? [pachimU] – Why?

Когда? [kagdA] or [kadA] – When?

Где? [kde] – Where? (Used when you are searching for something. “Where is the bank?”)

Куда? [kudA] – Where to? (indicates motion towards something. “Where are you going?”)

Откуда? [atkUda] – Wherefrom? (indicates motion away from something. “Where are you coming from?”)

Какой? [kakOi] (m), Какая? [kakAia] (f), Какое? [kakOe] (n) – Which? What sort of?

Чей? [chei] (m), Чья? [ch’jA] (f), Чьё? [ch’jO] (n), Чьи? [ch’ji] (pl) – Whose?

Notes: Where gender is shown, the word should agree with the noun it relates to.
The word Какой declines like a stressed adjective, so it must also agree in case.
The words Что? and Кто? have different forms in different cases. Above is nominative. (others shown below)

Cases for the question words Кто? [hto] – Who? and  Что? [shto] – What?      

кточтопадежи This is a similar table, but is provides examples of related words and prepositions which are traditionally used with thes words when we answer case forms of questions Кто? [hto] – Who? and Что? [shto] – What?

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I hope this information with help you a little bit. Don not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

What Can Social Networks Disclose To Us About Our Future?

As unbelievable as it may sound, Facebook has become a significant part of daily life for nearly 1.4 billion (!) people worldwide. The aility to instantly address and receive feedback from such a mind-blowing number of users makes Facebook (as well as other social networks) a powerful research tool that has been largely overlooked. The informaiton available on social networks might be invaluable not only for social sciences, but for any other field of knowledge, because it could help to address a major challenge faced by the scientists today: they have to rely on samples that are relatively small and thus, are insufficient to make statistically significant conclusions. With billions of users turning up online daily and willingly sharing their opinions, experiences, observations or concerns, Facebook becomes an unprecedented storage of research information for scientists.

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During the latest decade, social networks have grown into miniature versions of the real world’s community of people, they bear all major characteristics of the human society, so a network like Facebook can be regarded and studied as a dynamic model of the world community that reflects modern tendencies of human interaction and communication!

I have seen many articles reviewing the opportunities and challenges of Facebook research: some of them provide practical recommendations for conducting research within social networks, others discuss ethical considerations of such study, some focus on ways of collecting self-reports on Facebook, but I have not seen any attempts to see our dear FB as a new, 21-st century-born, worldwide communication model.

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Historically, the phases of human communication developed like this (you can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_communication): Language (pre-history) – Written Language (circa 3200 BC) – The Printing Press (circa 1440 ) (Johannes Gutenberg) – Telephone (1861/1875) – Radio Broadcasting (circa 1910) – Television Broadcasting (1928/1936) – The Internet (1969) (ARPANET) – Smart Phones (1992) (RIM BlackBerry 1999), and – us, a literally worldwide multibillion community of human species, voluntarily sharing everything that comes to their minds electronically, via social networking systems!

Today, in 2017, all the world’s books, dictionaries, maps, and other printed materials are being rapidly replaced by electronic informational resources, especially by those which offer information in condensed, digest-type blocks of pictures, video snippets or visual schemes rather than text or any materials that require reading. People are forgetting how to write, they are growing lazy enough to type and it seems that even traditional reading is beginning to irritate many. (I have deliberately colored these lines to attract your attention to them – please, send me your comments if you think I am not getting it right). 

I could fantasize more about possible changes of life in the far future, but, to be honest, the problems of tomorrow concern me more. The boosting development of Facebook (read: social-networks-based) communication has opened a new era of human interaction, where everybody communicates to everybody at the same time, and neither time nor space matters anymore. If in the previous centuries we needed to overcome distances and time to convey information to masses of people, today it is sent all over the world by a single click of your mouse. Information can literally travel at the speed of thought today!

I can drop a line on my Facebook page and in no time thousands of people will see what I have just thought. Likewise, I can get to know what they think within seconds, too, no matter how much distance lies between us. I can teach online and learn from my students; I can read someone’s book and connect with the author for feedback within seconds, I can share my opinions with the whole world and – what is really new and unusual – time and distance are no longer regarded as participating factors of the communication process.

Does this mean that our future communication is going to experience major changes? Will our children be able to write and read or will there be a new way of conveying information? I can imagine a world where they won’t need those skills… Are we going to develop a new – much faster and more convenient way of communicating information than exchanging words by means of reading and writing? Today, our technologies are developing so quickly that our minds are not ready to digest all information that comes. This means that the rapid change of living environment may cause unprecedented psychological reactions, because people are not machines… therefore, there is a large potential for social scientists and psychologists to study these new and quickly developing phenomena.

So, dear colleagues, what’s next? How can we predict our future, based on what we are observing today? Let us think about it and exchang our thoughts. I am certainly going to study this question and return to this topic again soon.

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Picture taken from https://www.mikogo.com

 

Ukrainians Enjoying Visa Free Travel to Europe

According to Razumkov Center’s sociological study, 55% of grown up Ukrainians have never been abroad, 16.3% go abroad less often than once in 10 years, 11.6% of the population visit other countries once in 6-9 years, 8.6% travel once in 2-5 years, and only 8.7% go abroad once a year or more often. Today, when the doors of the European Union are finaly open, Ukrainians do not need visas to enter the countries of the so-called Shengen zone.

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In a few days now, 40 million Ukrainians with biometric passports will be permitted to enter 30 states in the Schengen zone for 90 days for tourism or business. After many months of ongoing discussions and negotiations, the decision has eventually been made and will come into force on June 11, 2017.  The map below shows Ukraine in red, and the visa free territories in bright green, as well as the light-green territories where visa is issued upon arrival, and the grey territories are the countries which require a visa to be issued prior to the arrival into the country. Well, the good news is:

 THE WORLD IS BECOMING GREENER FOR UKRAINIANS!

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Our local press is full of articles about what to expect on a visit to Europe and how one should prepare for the trip. This fuss causes me mixed emotions, though. I am happy for the Ukrainians, of course. At the same time, this decision was preceeded with such a long period of procrastinating that it no longer excites anyone.

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Still, I believe that every Ukrainian citizen – especially the young ones – MUST visit as many countries as it is possible, because-

THE ONES WHO TRAVEL A LOT CAN UNDERSTAND THEIR OWN COUNTRY BETTER 

The more Ukrainians travel, the sooner they can make their life better. Today, thousands of people still scold their country and always grumble: “Everything is bad, it just can not be worse!” I am sure these are the voices of those who have never traveled abroad.

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If more people travel and finally see the world with their own eyes, this will open their eyes, I a, sure. There are so many things one can do in this country, and there are really many things which are really very good here. One simply needs to have a wider look on things to be able to see this. Today, Ukraine is becoming the country of opportunity for many. I hope that Ukrainians will soon show this to the rest of the world.

 

 

A Writer and His Travel…

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Travel definitely affects me as a writer,” said Anthony Doerr, and he was far not the first one to admit this. Remember Jack Keruac’s “live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry,” or E.B.White’s “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness… Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime,” or E. Hemingway’s: “it is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” I could continue the list of quotes on dozens of pages, but it seems there is no need trying to prove this; everyone already agrees that travel broadens our horizons and boosts our creative energy.

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At the same time, we only get to know the healing and inspiring effect of travel when we are smart enough to be able to analyze things that we see around us. Those who are unable to grow excited, admire, appreciate, or at least compare things to each other will never see the beauty of travel. It is like bringing romance with you to an island when you are looking to have a romantic adventure.

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My recent trips have been doing something wonderful to me. I come up with numerous ideas when I hit the road. Then, during months on returning home, I can’t stop thinking them over and writing. At times, they become overwhelming, but every creative person goes through this stage once in a while. I have an unbeatable drive to put it all on paper, so I have to say to my friends who call me out for coffee: “I’m Sorry. Not now,” I rub my temples and add, “not today… er- maybe some other day… later. Bye.”

It feels rather bad to postpone every other task besides writing, but again, I hear inside me: “To hell with little obligations and tasks, they can wait! To hell with unfinished books that long for some final editing. To hell with everything that is not writing!”

I glsnce at my calendar and my working diary. They seem to look back with reproach. “I will be with you… some day,” I say sternly, “but now, I’ve got to write, it’s important, you know.”

In the end, this is not my fault! It’s the travel…

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The Feeling of Being a Published Author

I know, this would not be a big deal to many, but it is to me. My short story, Every Day of Spring, was accepted by One Persons Ttash literary journal and is available now on their website as a featured fiction story .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a real personal victory to me, because I have been working for years to make this happen. English is not my native language, but it is the one I love very much, so I have always tried to become really good at speaking and writing it. I have published many non-fiction works before, they were in Russian, Ukraiian and English. But writing fiction is different, it requires deeper knowledge of the language and its culture, and so, this publication has come as a confirmation that I am good enough to stand in one line with the natives. So, I am going to have a little celebration today! And tomorrow, I will certainly wake up more confident, and hopefully, more of my published works will soon appear in the western magazines and book stores!

 

 

A Love Letter to a Russian Girl

 

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Quite often, I receive requests from English-speakers for assistance in translating or editing their personal letters, addressed to Russian women, in order to make sure that nothing of what they say would sound inappropriate or clumsy to their charming Russian readers. This post, however, may be interesting to a wider audience than learners of the romantic Russian language. You are welcome to look through the “sample” love letter in Russian and its English translation, just to train you Russian!

This is a sample set of sentences to compliment a Russian woman and to share with her about your feelings. Certainly, there may be thousands of other ways to express whart you feel, but these are just a few examples in Russian and in EngLish. If you are a learner of Russian and would like to know more about how to write your letter or to translate / pronounce some phrases, you ae welcome to contact me and ask for explanations.

Привет, Солнышко! Hello, (my) Sun! (dear / love / darling),
Я давно хотел рассказать тебе о своих чувствах, но долго не мог решиться на это. It has been a long time since I wanted to tell you about my feelings, but I could not dare to do this.
Поэтому я решил выразить свои чувства в письме. So, I decided to express my feelings in a letter.
С тех пор, как я первый раз увидел тебя, в моем сердце загорелась маленькая искорка. Since the day we met for the first time, a little sparkle lit up in my heart.
С каждым днем она росла и становилась все ярче. It kept growing bigger and brighter day after day.
Я понял, что мои искренние чувства к тебе переросли в нечто большее. I realized that my sincere appreciation for you was turning into something bigger.
Я полюбил тебя всем сердцем и теперь я не могу представить себе жизнь без тебя. I fell in love with you with all my heart, and now, I cannot imagine my life without you.
Ты подарила мне все необходимое, что нужно для счастливой жизни. You have given me all I needed to feel completely happy.
Ты для меня – идеальная девушка. You are a perfect woman (girl) for me.
В тебе нет недостатков, ты само совершенство. You have no flaws, you are a perfection.
Я поражаюсь твоей красоте и изысканности. I admire your beauty and grace.
Я горжусь тем, что самая красивая девушка в мире стала моей. I am proud to have the most beautiful woman in the world.
В твоих глазах столько нежности и искренности. Your eyes are so tender and so sincere.
Ты даришь мне тепло, которого мне так не хватало до тебя. You give me the warmth, which I was missing so much before I met you.
Я не перестаю удивляться твоей очаровательной улыбке, которая заставляет меня забыть обо всех проблемах и разочарованиях. I can’t stop admiring your charming smile, which makes me forget about all problems and disappointments.
Мне хочется улыбаться вместе с тобой, я хочу всегда держать тебя за руку. I want to smile together with you and – always – I want to hold your hand.
Но самое главное, что я ценю в тебе, это твой внутренний мир. But most of all, I admire your inner world.
Ты такая добрая и чувственная, ты всегда понимаешь меня с полуслова. You are so kind and sensible, you always understand me perfectly.
Мне нравится говорить с тобой, мне нравится молчать с тобой, я обожаю просто смотреть на тебя. I like talking to you, I like to walk in silence with you, I love to simply look at you.
В твоих движениях скрывается столько открытости и таинственности одновременно, что хочется любоваться тобой вечно. Your movements hide so much openness and mystery at the same time, that I want to watch and admire you forever.
За все это я и люблю тебя, люблю искренне и открыто. For all this I love you, I love you sincerely and openly.
Благодаря тебе я познал любовь и обрел счастье. Thanks to you, I got to know love and found my happiness.
Мне хочется кричать об этом всем и тихо шептать тебе это на ушко. I want to cry about all this to everyone, and I want to whisper these words into your ear.
Я люблю тебя больше жизни и буду любить всегда. I love you more than my life and will love you forever.

Three beautiful girls sitting in cafe

Russian Loanwords in English

Recently, a few friends-writers from social networks asked me to share about the traces of Russian culture in the English language. I think this information might also be interesting to other people, not only linguists and writers.

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Since very old times, the people, who inhabited vast territories of the present-day Russia, were known to have strong connections with other parts of the world. I am talking mainly about the ancient Kiev State and Great Novgorod. The exchange happened on different levels – in politics, trade, technology of the time, culture, and, of course, on the level of language. One of the first Russian words which came into the English language was ‘tapor-x’, which united a Russian and a Norwegian words; the word was found in handwritten manuscripts of 1031. Another English word, to talk, has the same root base with the Russian noun толк [tolk] (verb: толковать).

The words with common roots have been found in both, English and Russian languages since medieval times: sable (соболь), the old English meodu (м`д) and the more recent mead, meaning honey; the old English meolk (молоко), or milk; the old English ploz (плуг), meaning plough.

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The pre-revolutionary Russia brought the following words into the English speaking world: мужик (muzhik), изба (izba), шуба (shuba), квас (kvass), морс (morse), щи (shchi), борщ (borshch), мед (mead), калач (calach), кисель (kissel), водка (vodka), наливка (nalivka), блины (bliny), телега (telega), печь (peach), махорка (makhorka), молитва (molitva), обедня (obednia), хоровод (khorovod), указ (ukase), опричнина (opritchnina), староста (starosta), боярин (boyar), царь (tsar), артель (artel), дача (dacha), самовар (samovar), тройка (troika), дрожки (droshky), погром (pogrom), степь (steppe), тундра (tundra), тайга (taiga), суслик (suslik), борзая (borzoi).

The 70-year period of the Soviet Union state gave birth to a whole bunch of new words, which acquired completely new meanings in the given environment: apparatchik (аппаратчик, an office worker), gulag (гулаг) Soviet-time prison/camp in Siberia. The decay of the Soviet Union enriched the English language with such words as: glasnost (гласность) and perestroika (перестройка).

The words sputnik (спутника) and cosmonaut (космонавт) also came into English through Russian.

Russian tourists and immigrants have contributed the words, associated with the Russian cuisine: blini (блины), borshch (борщ), koulibiaca (кулебяка), kasha (каша), smetana (сметана), kvass (квас), pirogi (пироги), shashlik /shishkobab/ (шашлык), vodka (водка), zakuska (закуска).

Russian suffix -ник (-nik) has become quite popular in English recently, you can find it in words kapustnik (The Daily Express), flopnik (Daily Herald), pufnik (Daily Mail), stayputnik (News Chronicle) (Эпштейн М. 2003).

Today, no English speaker is surprised to hear Russian words рубль (rouble) and копейка (kopek), (interestingly, the word rouble came into English through French), балалайка (balalaika) – Russian musical instrument; казачок (kazachok) – Ukrainian and Russian popular dance; борзая (borzoi) – a Russian dog kind; белуга (a fish) and белуха (a whale) have the same name in English: beluga; the Engish babushka – is a woman wearing a cloth over her head, tied under her chin; and of coure, Russian степь (steppe), тайгa (taiga) and тундрa (tundra), and many others.

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The rest of this article may be interesting to experts in Russian culture or to writers, whose work is devoted to the Russian culture:

1. The names, related to the state organs of power and ranks of the seate service people: czar (tzar ) ‘царь ’, voivodeвоеовда ’, knesкнязь ’, bojarбоярин ’, moujikмужик ’, cossackказак ’, opritchinaопритчина ’, strelscyстрелец ’, starostaстароста, ukaseуказ, kremlinкремль ’, sotniaсотня ’, Raskolnikраскольник ’.

2. Different measurements: verstверста, arshinаршин, poodпуд, sageneсажень ’, roubleрубль, copeckкопейка, chervonetsчервонец ’.

3. Names of items of clothes, foods or household items: shubaшуба ’,kvassквас, morseморс ’,koumissкумыс ’, shchiщи, borshchборщ ’,meadмед, calashкалач ’, shashlikшашлык ’, kisselкисель ’, vodkaводка, starkaстарка, nalivkaналивка, nastoikaнастойка, blinyблины, oladyiоладьи, okroshkaокрошка ’, troikaтройка, izbaизба, telegaтелега, peach‘печь, balalaikaбалалайка ’, bayanбаян ’, samovar самовар ’, tarantassтарантас ’, droshkiдрожки ’, kibitkaкибитка ’, makhorkaмахорка ’.

4. Natural characteristics and animals: steppeстепь, tundraтундра ’, taiga ‘тайга’, poliniaполыня ’, suslikсуслик ’,borzoiборзая ’.

5. Religious words: molitvaмолитва ’, obednjaобедня’ and a few names associated with unique Rusian culture: kokoshnikкокошник ’, khorovodхоровод ’, samovarсамовар’,obrokоброк ’,zolotnikзолотник ’, otrezokотрезок, vedroведро, matrioshkaматрешка ’.

There are many more words, of course, but those listed here are the most “recognizeable” by the English speakers.

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Shelf Love

live mines and duds: the reading life

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librocubicularist | nonfiction | moonlights as the host of Silent Book Club Kota Kinabalu | writes on Scrivener