Sunday, January 31, 2016

First McDonald's Opened In Russia 26 Years Ago

Today marks the 26th anniversary of McDonald's coming to Russia.  The first Russian McDonald's was opened on January 31, 1990 in Moscow when the Soviet Union was still in tact.  The appearance of McDonald's in the Soviet Union at the time indicated the changing of the times.  People received this sign of capitalism with great enthusiasm and would line up outside the restaurant to buy its fries, shakes, and Big Macs (which would equate to a few days' wages for them).  According to a few journalists, the Soviets were amazed at the politeness of the restaurant workers and encouraged by the "expression of American rationalism and pragmatism toward food."  Today more than 500 McDonald's exist in Russia.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


One morning over Winter break, my father walked into my room and showed me the origin of our last name, along with the accompanying immigration collection. The original name was ОНУФРАК, before being adjusted to Newfrock, the Americanized equivalent. Apparently, my last name is Slovakian/Ukrainian of origin.

Diving deeper, I found records and settler information for my ancestors, dating back 200 years ago. Most of the settler information is fairly accurate as well, considering most of them settled around the New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. If you haven't checked out your own name, I would give it a try!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Сегодня в лингафонном кабинете... Русский язык (второй год) (Урок 6 Неделя 3)... Мемрайс, перевод, устный тест!!!

Chill. Расслабьтесь, ребята! Запишитесь! (Sign up!)

День светлый, лёгкий! It's an easy day...

Сначала... Take your quiz! Напишите тест! А потом...

1) TAKE YOUR MEMRISE PILL! Выпейте таблетки «Мемрайс»!
2) Прослушайте Ахматову... Поняли? Блеск, ребята! КРАСОТА! What a beautiful poem.
3) За столами... At the tables: Work with the tutors on your устный тест. And work on the translation assignment.
Что-то || что-нибудь, Кто-то || кто-нибудь, Где-то || где-нбудь
Both particles in translation could mean "-thing" and "any-"...
Someone/Anyone, Something/Anything, Someone/Anyone, etc. 
English is really inconsistent and colloquial in its use of these indefinite pronouns.
Do you know anyone? Do you know someone? Did you go somewhere? I went somewhere. But I didn't know anyone. I didn't know someone. 
But Russian isn't. Remember the rule: -то in statements (present and past); -нибудь everywhere else. And don't confuse these pronouns/particles with negative sentences. No student never does nothing!

4) Practice with the tutors for your quiz!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Old Peter's Russian Tales: "Little Master Misery"

         Little Master Misery is a Russian folktale from "Old Peter's Russian Tales." The story concerns two brothers, one cunning and constantly gaining wealth and one kind and constantly losing wealth. After the cunning brother invites the poor brother over for his "Name-day" and does not give him anything to eat, the poor brother encounters a being called "Misery" on his way home. Misery takes advantage of the poor brother's generosity by causing him to spend all of what little wealth he has going to the tavern every night. When the poor brother finally has nothing left to sell, misery directs him to a boulder in the middle of a field, revealing a large stash of gold, silver and gems. The generous brother, having had enough of misery forcing him to drink away his money and possessions, tricks the being into entering the hole under the boulder and sealing him underneath. When the cunning brother is invited to his previously poor brother's name-day feast, he becomes jealous of his wealth and asks him how he acquired it. The generous brother tells him the truth and the cunning brother intends to release misery in the hopes that he will kill his brother for sealing him away. However, when the cunning brother releases misery, the being mistakes him for the generous brother and latches onto him, eventually forcing him to drink away his money as well. The cunning brother eventually tricks misery into trapping himself in a cart wheel, which he then throws in the river. The cunning brother intends to work his way back to his former wealthy status while the narrator informs us that misery has been released and his whereabouts are unknown.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Сегодня в лингафонном кабинете... Русский язык (второй год) (Урок 6 Неделя 2)... Мемрайс и «который» с Элвисом

Максимальная суточная доза Мемрайса! 
Элвис говорит... Пей лекарство... и лечись!
Russians "drink medicine"... пить таблетку. 

Задачи! To-do's... 
1) Spend at least five minutes doing Unit 6 of Memrise.
Now, spend at least five minutes reviewing the verbs from Unit 2

Забыли? Did you forget. Не волнуйтесь! Don't sweat it... Memorizing entails forgetting... Otherwise, it wouldn't be called memorizing. 

2) Now, прослушайте разговор 2 и ответьте на все вопросы! You'll find the questions on the хендаут. Трудности? ... ну, спрашивайте! Ask an instructor or a tutor for help understanding, if you need it. 

3) Немного грамматики... Now, a little grammar. 

Который is THE relative pronoun in Russian. Relative pronouns link clauses to sentences... They are used in complex sentences like:

This is the house in which Elvis lived. 

"Which" is  the relative pronoun. In the sentence above, it replaces a noun common in the two (implied) simple sentences... 

This is the house. Elvis lived in this house.  This is the house in which Elvis lived.

See? Two simple sentences combined using a relative pronoun. Grammar magic!

"Which" in the complex sentence is relative in the sense that it depends for its meaning on a noun in the first (main) clause, in this case, "house." House is the common noun in the simple sentences; using a relative pronoun (which) lets us make a single complex sentence (a main clause + a subordinate clause). 

Russian works the same way. Который replaces a noun, so (like all nouns and pronouns) it has the gender/number and case. It declines like an adjective... o котором, которого, которой, которому...

Который gets its gender/number from the noun, and the case from the function it plays in a sentence. So, taking the simple sentences above, about Elvis and his house, let's make them one complex sentence using the relative pronoun который... 

Это дом. В этом доме жил Элвис. 

a. Identify the common noun in both sentences=дом (masculine)
b. Figure out the function/case of the common noun in the second sentence=object of a preposition (в) that governs the prepositional case.
c. What's the form of который that corresponds to masculine prepositional=котором. 

Это дом, в котором жил Элвис. 

Notice the "grammatical comma" that always precedes the subordinate clause in Russian. It's not that important, but Russians use it... 

Try to translate these sentences!
Это девушка, которую либил Элвис.
Это девушка, которая любилa Элвиса. 
Это таблетка, которую выпил Элвис.
Это сэндвич, который съел Элвис. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Сегодня в лингафонном кабинете... Русский язык (второй год) (Урок 6 Неделя 1)

Привет, ребята! С возвращением!!! Welcome back!

Make sure you get a lab handout!

 С каждым днём все радостнее жить! Every day we live more joyfully! (A Soviet poster from the 1930s...)

Сначала, на пару минут... Take a second, and read/listen to эти стихи Ахматовой... «Но я предупреждаю вас...». The recording is of the author herself reading the poems.

Вам нужно будет выучить эти стихи! You'll need to memorize this poem for the oral quiz at the end of the unit. (Notice here the use of нужно будет! The future form. You learned нужно было, the past form, yesterday...)

OK, now spend a couple minutes with Диалог 1 и 2. First, just listen to the dialogue recordings...
Диалог 1    Диалог 2

Тhen read the dialogue (it's on the lab handout) while listening to the recordings...
Диалог 1    Диалог 2

Finally, listen once more and answer the questions on your lab handout...
Диалог 1    Диалог 2

Поняли? Did you understand?

Now, come to the table. We're going to discuss naming verbs in Russian: Her name is Viktoria! This book is called Brothers Karamazov.