Posts Tagged ‘Russian’

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

September 26, 2011

Learn Russian Like a Native

Imagine yourself just born and learn the language as a baby would.


Day one

I opened my eyes and saw a bunch of large beings surrounding me. The one who held me announced, “Eto devochka!”
I opened my mouth to say, “Take me to your leader,” but all that came out of it was, “Waaa.”
The being holding me pointed to another – a very sick looking being, and said, “Eto tvoya mama.”
Great! Of all the healthy creatures in the room they give me to a loser! I screamed, “Waaa,” in indignation.
The nurse was now handing me over to the dying being called ‘mama’, who screwed up her face in distaste and grumbled, “Syestra, uberitye eyo…”
Syestra retreated, “Poydyom detka, poydyom milaya. Nado tyebya pomitj i vzvesitj…”
I thought, hopefully mama will be dead by the time we come back and the nice being will get to keep me.
Now I had three names: devochka, detka and milaya. Hmmm. I quickly found out that pomitj meant dipping me into a basin of water and scrubbing all over. Vsvesitj apparently meant to lay me on a cold metal surface and to announce, “Tri s polovinoi kilogramma.” As syestra was wrapping me in a blanket she said, “Ti u nas boljshaya! Ish kak mamu utomila!” Another name for me: boljshaya. Is it my fault mama was so sick! I felt guilty.
Syestra was carrying me somewhere else again. She left me in a room full of other little creatures like myself. Did mama die? Did no one want me? Is everyone in this room extra? I cried from helplessness and fear. I was also very tired and had a bad headache, so I must have dozed off. When I woke up, syestra was poking my face against a round pillow growing out of my mama’s chest. She kept shoving some bump into my mouth about the size of my thumb. As I bit into the thing in anger, a warm sweet liquid squirted unto my tongue. Mama complained in a whiny voice, “Oi! Ona kusayetsya!”
I felt divided: a part of me wanted more of the liquid, but another part felt guilty, because, obviously, mama didn’t feel too keen on sharing it. I spat the tasty bump and waited. Syestra stuffed it back into my mouth, saying to me, “Pei molochko, detka! Pei.” Mama didn’t object. I figured that syestra was really in charge, and mama was just food. I started sucking in earnest, ignoring mama’s oi’s. After a while I felt an extremely disagreeable sensation in my tummy. Great! Are they trying to poison me! Syestra lifted me upright and rubbed my back, until a bubble of air erupted loudly out of my mouth, spraying her shoulder. My tummy immediately felt fine.
Another being walked into the room. Syestra showed me to it and explained, “U vas dochka.” The new being shyly touched my finger with the tip of his finger, “Nevestochka…” Its voice was lower in tone than everyone else’s. I wondered it was a much older being or of a different type.
The nurse said, “Hotitye poderzhatj?” and handed me to the being. It said, “Spasibo syestra.”
“Eto tvoi papa,” syestra explained to me, as it clumsily lifted me in his arms.
I noted the difference: my mama was ‘tvoya mama’, but this new being was ‘tvoi papa’. So they were different somehow. I wondered what his part was in my life. Was he replacement food for when I’m done eating mama?
Papa handed me back to syestra and sat at the edge of mama’s bed. He bent over and touched mama’s face with his mouth. I bolted in fear – he is so big, if he started eating her, there would be nothing left for me! But he stopped and just sat there, stroking her hair, then got up.
“Chto tyebye prinesti?” he asked her.
“Klubniki,” she replied.
“Kakaya zhe klubnika osenjyu!” he laughed. “Nu poka, ya poshel. Ti otdihai.”
He left. Mama’s eyes looked wet.
Eto – this is
Devochka – a girl
Detka – a small child
Ya – I
Ti – you (informal), vi – you (formal)
Mama – a mother
Papa – a father
Milaya – dear (feminine), miliy – dear (masculine)
Tvoya – yours (feminine), tvoi – yours (masculine)
Syestra – a nurse, a sister
Boljshaya – big (fem.)
Utomitj – to make someone tired, utomila – made tired
Ubyeritye – take away
eyo – her
Chto – what
Moloko, molochko – milk
Tyebye – to you, for you
Prinyesti – to bring
Podyerzhatj – to hold
Klubnika – strawberries ( klubniki – of straberries )
Kakaya – what
Osyenj – fall ( osyenju – in the fall )
Poydyom – let’s go
Nevesta, nevestochka – a bride
Hotitye – would you like? (formal address), hochesh – do you want? (informal)
Nu poka, poka – see you later
Poshyol – went
Otdihai – rest

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Photo by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch

November 10, 2010

One thing going online can do is to access the world.  Here are a couple paintings of a Russian surrealist painter, Pyotr Lukyanenko.  He has a fairly complete explanation of his work and philosophy on his website at:

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