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Август 6, 2005

03:12 pm - стройка
v строить - to build, v достроить - to finish construction
n строение - building
v строительство - construction
n стройка - construction site
n новостройка (urban slang) - new building

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Июль 20, 2005

10:57 pm - война
n. война - war
adj. военный - military
объявлять войну - to declare war

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Май 3, 2005

09:53 am - Плодиться и размножаться
The Russian equivalent of the Biblical commandment "fruit and multiply" is плодитесь и размножайтесь, which would suggest that "плодиться" means "to fruit". It would make sense, considering that the root плод can be translated as "fruit".
But, in fact, "плодиться" does not mean "to fruit", it means to increase in number through procreation which is the same as multiply in this context.
The non-reflexive form "плодить" usually means the same as плодиться as in creating one's own offsprings
е.g. Наплодил детей. Note that it is a transitive verb. Also, note that it is disparaging in this context.

Размножаться in both its meaning and its usage is pretty much equivalent to плодиться.
The non-reflexive form размножать most often means to photocopy (papers, documents, flyers).
А more popular and informal word for photocopying is ксерить (perf. отксерить), which derives from the Russian spelling of Xerox - Ксерокс.

The dictionaries will tell you that плодить and размножать may also mean to breed. In fact they are very rarely used this way.
The verb разводить is used instead.

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Апрель 18, 2005

05:04 pm - разблюто
Today's word doesn't exist, but I thought I would post it because this myth amuses me (kind of like the "Russians have no word for freedom" myth). In some English publications, Russians are said to have the word "razbliuto", which means something along the lines of "a feeling a person has for someone he or she once loved but no longer feels the same way about."

LanguageHat has an interesting post where he tries to track down the origins of this myth.

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Март 13, 2005

08:46 pm - признавать/признать
I noticed this verb pair today because if you ignore stress--which you would never do--they would appear identical in non-past conjugation. The imperfective признавать follows the same pattern as давать:


While the perfective признать follows the easiest conjugation pattern of them all:


They mean "to admit" or "to acknowledge"; "to recognize" (colloquially, they can mean "to recognize someone by sight", as in "I didn't recognize you"); "to declare"... and probably something else that I'm not aware of.

In writing (where stress isn't marked and ё is rarely used), I assume you have to determine perfectiveness by context. Just thought that was mildly interesting.

(Of course знавать and знать exist in unprefixed form as well, but they weren't in what I was reading. :P)

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Март 12, 2005

11:54 am - любоватся
любоваться (third person pl. -буются) (на кого/что) - a verb meaning "admire" or "feast one's eyes upon, gaze in admiration". The perfective is formed by adding по- or за-. The prefix по- adds the meaning of "for a little while".

The Oxford English-Russian dictionary doesn't list залюбоватся, but Katzner says it means "to gaze with admiration (at); be lost in contemplation (of)". It also says залюбоватся takes the instrumental, not на + acc. like любоватся.
Музыка: Nina Simone - Feelin' Good (Joe Claussell Mix)

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Март 5, 2005

04:40 pm - писать - to write
писать - to write. perfect form is написать, e.g. написать статью - to write an article.
письмо - letter (correspondence). электронное письмо - email
письмо (письменность) - writing, script, alphabet.
писатель/писательница - male writer/female writer
писарь - clerk (really obsolete)
письменный - written, e.g. просьба в письменной форме - request in written form

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Февраль 24, 2005

08:54 am - самобытность
This word was mentioned in a book I'm reading: самобытность, which means "originality" or "individuality". Here's what the book had to say:
Even in the early nineteenth century, when poets such as Pushkin tried to break away from the foreign hold on the language by inventing Russian words, they need to explain these to their salon audience. Hence in his story 'The Peasant Girl', Pushkin had to clarify the meaning of the Russian word 'samobytnost'' by adding in parenthesis its French equivalent, 'individualite'.

-Orlando Figes, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, p. 51
It doesn't say that the word was invented by Pushkin, but it seems to be implying it--or at least that it was a recent invention used by Pushkin. Does anyone know?

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Февраль 22, 2005

09:03 am - землетрясение
You may have heard about the earthquake in Iran. Today's word is землетрясение, which means "earthquake". (link takes you to the BBC Russian news article)

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Январь 19, 2005

05:16 pm
This is a fun adjective: язвительный, which means caustic, sarcastic, or cutting.

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