Saturday, June 27, 2009


And, no, I didn't make this up.
Gazprom seals $2.5bn Nigeria deal
Russia's energy giant Gazprom has signed a $2.5bn (£1.53bn) deal with Nigeria's state operated NNPC, to invest in a new joint venture.The new firm, to be called Nigaz, is set to build refineries, pipelines and gas power stations in Nigeria.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And vocabulary...

This list has vocabulary related to economics and retail... So, perfect for our новость об оптимизме в России "news about about optimism in Russia" and our мультик where the грабители (robbers) steal from a кондитерск

"In every little child, boys and girls, there's 200 grams of explosives...

And, of course, the weekly мультик. Я обожаю этот мультик! I ADORE this cartoon! All good Russian cartoons, for whatever reason, have to have мартышки (which Multitran tells me means "old world monkey"). In this case, it's обезьянки, the diminutive form of обезьянин, monkey. (They look like шимпанзе to me, but what do I know?)

The song at the beginning is hilarious:

В каждом маленьком ребенке и мальчишке и девчёнке
Есть по двести грамм взрывчатки или даже полкило!
Должен он бежать и прыгать, Все хватать, ногами дрыгать
А иначе он взорвется, трах-бабах ! И нет его!

"In every little child, boys and girls, there's 200 grams of explosives... or even half a kilo! He must run and jump, grab everything, and twitch his legs, Or else he'll explode KAH-BOOM! And no more him!" (The прыгать/дрыгать rhyme is rich.)

Here's the rundown:
В этой серии мультика про обезьянок, обезьянки вновь убегают из зоопарка, и помогают справиться с грабителями, которые ограбили магазин-кондитерскую. Обезьянки залезли в машину к грабителям и участвовали в погоне. Грабителей преследовали милиционеры. По дороге обезьянки сумели помочь бегуну выиграть соревнование, помогли они так же поймать грабителей и съесть все краденные сладости..

"In this episode about monkeys, the monkeys once again escape the zoo and help deal with robbers who have robbed a candy store. The monkeys climb into the robbers' car and take part in the chase. The police follow the robbers. On the road the monkeys help a runner to win a race, and they also help catch the robbers and eat all the stolen candy..."

Not a lot of Russian, but a great cartoon. Notice some of the stereotypes--the monkeys, of course (another age!), but also the workers (playing chess, heroically save the day!), the law-abiding милиционеры (hah!).

К россиянам возвращается оптимизм

First, check out the tie, галстук. And what color IS it? Лиловый (lilac)? And the причёска, hair-do???

Listen to the video, first without looking at the transcript, then while reading along. Then, read the transcript (without watching the video) a couple of times, picking out familiar words. Finally, listen to the video without looking at the transcript, trying to pick out the familiar words.

К россиянам возвращается оптимизм

Согласно исследованию «Нильсен», уровень потребительского доверия в России начал расти впервые с начала кризиса. В течение более полугода этот показатель только снижался и в марте остановился на отметке 75 пунктов. Но подсчеты в мае показали разворот: индикатор прибавил семь пунктов и вернулся к уровню февраля. Среди предстоящих крупных затрат респонденты чаще всего называют путешествия и ремонт — по 20 %. Еще по 10 % россиян планируют приобрести компьютеры и мобильные телефоны, сообщает НТВ.

"According to research..."

In class, I like to confirm that y’all have agreed to the terms of the контракт by saying: Согласны? Do y’all agree? Note that the word is related to голос, voice and гласность, glasnost (the period of openness that began in the mid-1980s Soviet Union.) Notice that the Russians use Nielsen to collect their economic data!

If уровень means “level,” потребовать means “demand” and вера means “faith,” what do you thinк уровень потребительского доверия means? How would an economist translate the phrase?

According to the article, this level has begun to rise—notice the word расти, which is related to a whole host of words having to do with growth, birth, etc: родиться, вырасти, родители, рост (born, grow up, parents, size).

If показать means “show,” what does показатель mean? (Think родитель, преподаватель, etc.)

How does one say crisis in Russian?

Снижаться is a verb derived from низкий, low or small. What do you think it means?

Подсчеты is a noun derived from the verb считать, to count.

Разворот means “u-turn” in Russian—the prefix раз- can mean something like “completely” and ворот means turn…

What kinds of крупные затраты, “major expenses”, do 20% of Russians plan? And what about 10%?

What strikes me in this article is the number of anglicisms/borrowed words, which makes sense as economics is a relatively new discipline in Russia: Crisis, optimism, point (пункт), indicator, respondent (for which Russian has the perfectly good words like отвечаюший, “the one answering” or ответчик), plan, computer, home repair (ремонт, from the French remonter, I presume), mobile phone. Not to mention the months…

I've posted a rough translation of the above in the comments--but try first to listen, comprehend, guess...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Emotion words...

Since the мультик is about attitude, I thought a list of words having to do with emotions would work well here. Try these flashcards out.

По дороге с облаками...

По дороге с облаками/On the road with clouds...

Every Soviet kid LOVED the Тигренок мультфильмы. Most people my age (in their 30s) know the songs by heart. The language is pretty simple--you should be able to understand mostly what's going on. I've added the song lyrics below--they're GREAT and very simple.

Remember: скучно 'boring', грустно 'sad', веселый 'happy'. The tiger says "я лучше домой. Галоши надену" "I'd rather go home and put my galoshes on..."

Песенка из мультика “По дороге с облаками” - “Про друзей”

Жить в своем доме всегда одному
Скучно и мне, и тебе и ему!
Ведь сколько на свете хороших друзей
Хороших друзей, хороших друзей
Сколько на свете веселых затей
Веселых затей, веселых затей.

[The first stanza is basically repeated, so if you understand it, the rest are pretty easy:
"Living in one's house always alone
is boring for me, and you, and him!
You know there are so many good friends in the world
Good friends, good friends
So many happy (fun) games,
So many fun games..."]

Воздушные змеи, жмурки и салки
Прятки, мячи, чехарда, и скакалки,
И просто, и просто, и просто скакалки
Ну просто, просто, просто скакалки!!!

[These are all games--in order: "air snakes" (kites), blindman's bluff, tag, hide-n-seek, "balls" (catch), jump rope]

Всегда есть мороженое одному,
Невкусно ни мне, ни тебе, никому.
Ведь сколько на свете хороших друзей
Хороших друзей, хороших друзей
Ведь столько на свете вкусных вещей,
Вкусных вещей, вкусных вещей.

[вкусно=tasty, so "always eating ice cream by yourself isn't tasty"]

Манная каша, ситро и ириски
Компот, молоко, леденцы и сосиски
И просто, и просто, и просто сосиски
Ну просто, просто, просто сосиски!

[Again, a fun enumeration of foods kids love, in this order: cream of wheat, soda (from citron, lemon in French), butterscotch, compote (juice), milk, lollipops, and hotdogs...]

Сыграть во все игры нельзя одному
Ни мне, ни тебе, никому-никому.
Ведь столько на свете веселых друзей
Веселых друзей, веселых друзей
И столько на свете веселых зверей,
Веселых зверей, веселых зверей!

Слоны, бегемоты, кроты и котята,
Мартышки, щенки и просто тигрята
И просто, и просто, и просто тигрята
Ну просто, просто, просто тигрята!

[A list of animals that kids all love: elephants, hippos, moles (!), kittens, monkeys (always gotta be мартышка in a kids song!), puppies and just tiger cubs!]

летняя работа!

The best way to expand your vocabulary is to read and listen to "real texts", paying attention to words that you recognize and learning to figure things out from the context. I picked this item because it has so many interesting borrowings from English.

Фонд Гейтса потерял миллиарды

Listen to the video, first without looking at the transcript, then while reading along. Then, read the transcript (without watching the video) a couple of times, picking out familiar words. Finally, listen to the video without looking at the transcript, trying to pick out the familiar words.


Самый богатый благотворительный фонд (1) в мире похудел (2) из-за кризиса на 11 с половиной миллиардов долларов. Речь идет (3) о Фонде Билла и Мелинды Гейтс.(4)

Еще в январе 2008 года чета (5) филантропов имела в своем распоряжении (6) 39 миллиардов долларов — теперь только 27,5, сообщает НТВ (the network). При этом в прошлом году на гранты — в основном в области здравоохранения (7) — Гейтсы пожертвовали (8) почти три миллиарда и обещают (9) в этом году не сокращать выплаты (10).

  1. благо="good, welfare" творить=create, make... so what does благотворительный фонд mean?
  2. худой="skinny", so what would the verb похудеть mean? Why did the фонд похудел? How much did фонд похудел?
  3. Речь идет means literally "speech goes." What does this idiom mean?
  4. Notice the error-- whose фонд? Genitive would be Гейтса. Or maybe this is how they've decided to handle the genitive plural of Гейтс.
  5. Чета is just an Russian version of пара, pair.
  6. распоряжении="disposal", so the phrase means "at their disposal." Порядок, order, is the root here.
  7. здравохранение comes from two words, здрав- or здоровье, health + хранить, preserve, keep. So, what does the word mean?
  8. пожертвовать comes from the word жертва, victim, sacrifice, offering. The verb has come to mean donate or sacrifice.
  9. обещать="promise." Note that this is one of those words that always takes a person as the object and therefore the object of the verb goes into the dative case--like помогать, отвечать, звонить. You can also say даю слово, I give my word.
  10. Сокращать has as its root the word краткий, short. So, what would the verb mean in this context? Выплаты--the prefix вы- (like выйти, to exit) plus the word плата, like платить, to pay. What does выплаты mean? What do the Gateses promise NOT to do?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Exploring Moscow...

Hannah Chapman. who spent a semester (spring '09) in Moscow, wrote this great piece:

Check it out. Hannah got to know Moscow remarkably well in the five months she was there, and agrees with me: One of the world's great cities.