Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We're official!

Сегодня в лингафонном кабинете... Умей тусить!

На сегодня... Take your quiz!

Do two brief listening exercises: The link for 3-32 Реклама is here. И вот линк на 3-33 На каком языке?

When you're finished, come hang with us at the tables! Мы будем тусить!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Сегодня в лингaфонном кабинете...

Что сегодня наготове... What's in store today...

1) PLEASE take this survey...
2) Do the listening exercise below on числительные--it reviews numbers to the hundreds. Remember that Russians pay for things in рубли, and you'll hear various forms of the word like рубль, рубля, рублей. These are just different case forms--don't worry about them!
3) Look through the Power Point on Prepositional. Don't you love Power Points?
4) Check out the forms for говорить, which conjugates JUST LIKE the other verbs we've studied, except the vowels change a bit. (BELOW!)
4) Come to the tables, and the tutor or I will work through some exercises.

The whole kit and caboodle shouldn't take more than 45 minutes. (Kit and caboodle in Russian is "wagon and cart, вагОн и телЕжка.")

Listen and read along as the диктор reads numbers 1-50. Here is the recording.

Now do this exercise, jotting down the prices on a клочок бумаги (a scrap of paper). I only want you to do the first 13. Don't listen more than three times.

When you're done with the числительные (numbers), consider the verb говори́ть, to speak. It is very similar to verbs like читать, знать, жить that we've already studied, the sole difference being the vowel  in the ending. Сравните!


In говорить and other verbs ending in -ить, the ending vowel is -и- where there's a -е- in verbs like читать that end in -ать. The они form is -ят instead of -ют.


Finally: We have a lot of grammar left! Look through this PowerPoint on the prepositional case. We've already encountered it: Я живу во Флориде. Иван живёт в Москве. Now, we'll learn how to change modifiers so they reflect the function and gender of the nouns. Read through the presentation a couple of times, and work with me or the tutor on the exercises.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bridge to Crimea

The earlier controversy between Ukraine and Russian about Crimea seems to be resolved. Russia is building a bridge to Crimea across the Kerch Strait. The price of the bridge keeps increasing because of adding a road and tracks for transport. Commuters will be charged a toll to cross the bridge. The bridge will be 11.8 miles long and cost approximately $8.1 billion. The original idea was that the bridge would be built by prisoners who are eligible to work outside the prison but the idea was shot down because they said they did not have the right to use prisoners as construction workers.

Thursday, October 9, 2014



 Psyanky are traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs made by using a wax batik method. Like many Christian traditions, the egg started out as a pagan symbol. It was a symbol of rebirth and was used during spring festivals to celebrate the rebirth of the land. There are many legends involving the Psyanky. My favorite is that there is a dragon chained to a mountain. If the chains break, the dragon will destroy the earth. The only way to keep the chains from breaking is if enough psyanky are made. That is why it is critical for the tradition to be passed to each generation. Because these eggs had a religious significance, they were banned during the Soviet era. My mother has taught friends that emigrated from the Ukraine how to make these Ukrainian eggs because the tradition had mainly vanished in the Ukraine.
 My family makes these eggs every year. My great-grandmother would make a basket of eggs and take them to church to be blessed by the priest. She and my grandmother used a pin imbedded in a pencil eraser to make her designs. My mother and I use a device called a kistka, which has a reservoir to hold the hot wax, which makes it easier to write on the egg. To make the design, you must first draw, using the hot wax, any design you want to be white. Then you dip the egg in the lightest of the colors you will be using, such as yellow. Then you cover any areas you want to remain yellow with the hot wax. Then you dip the egg in the next color. This goes on until you reach the final color, which is usually black. When you are finished, you use heat from a candle or the oven to remove the wax to see your finished design.
Here are some eggs with traditional designs. Each design has a meaning related to fertility, a good harvest, or Christianity.

Here are some of my designs. While some designs are traditional, others are less so.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fabergé Eggs: Remnant of Bygone Days

Fabergé eggs, so named after their creator, Peter Carl Fabergé, are one of the many symbols of the Romanov Dynasty that still resonates today. These masterful jeweled eggs were traditional Easter presents within the Imperial Family from 1885 to 1916. They are regarded by many as Fabergé greatest achievement.

The tradition began with Czar Alexander III when he commissioned one for his wife, Empress Marie Fedorovna in 1885. At that time, Easter was the Russian Orthodox equivalent of Christmas in the Western world, and it was traditional to receive hand-painted eggs from friends and family. Of course, the Imperial Family went a step further. Instead of hand-painted eggs, they gave magnificent, bejeweled works of art. The commission of these eggs was expensive, and Fabergé was given free reign over the design with the stipulation that each egg contain a surprise within. The extravancy of these eggs was such that each one took over a year to create. The most expensive of these eggs, The 1913 Winter Egg would have cost just over three million dollars in today's currency. Its most recent sale was for over $9 million.

The body of the egg is set with over 1300 rose-cut diamonds as well as over 300 brilliant diamonds. The basket has 1,378 rose-cut diamonds.
In the end, Fabergé created fifty eggs for the Imperial Family, although only 42 have survived to the present day. 

My mother is a figure skating coach. Growing up, she was a national level competitor and could have been an Olympic contender. Her biggest competition was the Russian team. She describes them as "fierce competitors, self-disciplined, and dedicated."

The following is a video of 15 year old, Olympic gold medalist Yulia Lipintskaya. She is arguably the best in the world and my mother's students biggest competitor on the international circuit.

Russian Gymnastics: Алия Мустафина (Aliya Mustafina)

Aliya Mustafina is a Russian gymnast who many consider to be one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. She competed in the 2012 London Olympics where she won four medals: silver in the team all-around, bronze in the individual all-around final, gold in the uneven bars final, and bronze in the floor final. More recently, she won the gold medal in the individual all-around final at the 2014 Russian Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Here is a video of her uneven bars routine which won her a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Traditional Russian Foods

After the Pelmeni Party last Wednesday, I was inspired to look at other Russian foods.  I found an article on traditional foods that are not popular here in the United States.

Here are some of the foods discussed in the article:

  • Borshch--A beet soup full of vegetables and meat, served with sour cream. 
  • Pirozhki--Little pastries stuffed with potatoes, meat, cabbage, or cheese.
  • Ikra--Caviar served or blini, crepes.
  • Shashlyk--A kebab formed of any combination of meat and vegetables.
  • Morozhenoe--Ice cream topped with fruit, nuts, or chocolate.

General Info About Putin


Did anyone else realize that yesterday was Vladimir Putin's 62nd Birthday? According to the Kremlin Press, he was deep in the middle of nowhere, Siberia for his birthday.However, Moscow held a celebration in Red Square.

Some interesting facts about Putin's time in power:
He has been president of Russia since 2012, but he was president in the past, too. He was president from 2000-2008 as well.
Before his first reign as president, he was Russian prime minister; from 1999-2000. He also served as prime minister during those years between his presidencies, 2008-2012.
This means that for the past 15 years, Vladimir Putin has always held a position of power in Russia's government.