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Words of Days Past
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Январь 20, 2005

01:10 am - Свист
Today's word is
- which means whistle (the sound). It is a noun, masculine. It doesn't have a proper plural form; the prural form of the other word, свисток (see below), may be used instead - it is "свистки":
Вдали послышались свистки. Наверное, милиция ловила вора.
(Whistles could be heard far away. Probably, it was the police catching a thief.)
In English, there are two other meanings of "whistle"; Russian has separate words for them. A thing that produces the whistling sound is свисток (noun, masculine.)
Отец подарил мне настоящий свисток футбольного судьи.
[My} father gave me (made me a gift) a real soccer referee's whistle.
This word also might mean a short whistling sound, that's why it's used sometimes to form a plural substitute for свист.
The verb, to whistle, is свистеть; its perfect form is свистнуть. While you were whistling continuosly, it's я свистел; if you made a single short whistle, it's я свистнул. Like most of perfect forms, свистнуть has no present tense, only past tense (singular masculine свистнул, singular feminine свистнула, plural свистнули) or future tense (sg. свистну, свистнешь, свистнет, pl. свистнут). Imperfect form has all three tenses: я свистел, я свищу, я буду свистеть.
There also was an older form of "to whistle continuolsly" - not свистеть, but свистать; they still use it, for example, in the fleet commands - like "свистать всех наверх!" (not sure I know its exact English naval equivalent, it's something like "all up", "alarm, all go up to the main deck.")

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Январь 13, 2005

06:30 am - образование
образование is a noun, usually it means education, and when used in this meaning it does not appear in plural form.
образование is neuter.
also word образование can be used as formation, both noun (what was formed) and verb,
образование сложных структур - development of complicated structures
удаление вредных образований - removal of harmful developments
as you see, in last case образование has plural form - образования

upd: striked out wrong limitations on plural form

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Январь 10, 2005

02:08 pm - Наводнение
Today's word is, according to the latest news from St.Petersburg, Russia,


which means "the flood". I's a noun, and it's neutral (neither feminine nor masculine):

Вчера в Санкт-Петербурге случилось сильное наводнение (a big flood occured in St.Petersburg yesterday).
The root is "вод," from вода (water,) which is a hint: наводнение is, literally, "overwatering" :)
Вода поднялась на два метра тридцать семь сантиметров выше ординара (the water was 2.37 meters higher than the usual level.)

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Январь 6, 2005

04:35 pm - сморкаться/высморкаться
сморкаться is the imperfective; высморкаться is the perfective. Both mean "to blow one's nose". My dictionary also lists a non-reflexive version, сморкать нос, which means the same thing.

Edit: qnn says that the non-reflexive version may be a regional variation, since he only ever hears сморкаться.

Russian speakers: Is сморкать ever used on its own?

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Январь 4, 2005

11:46 pm - крыло, крылья
noun крыло = wing

крыло is neuter
plural form is крылья

adj. Крылатый = winged
verb окрылять = to give wings

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Январь 2, 2005

08:54 pm - Тело и душа
OK, this year's first couple of Russian Words is
тело и душа, which means "body and soul".

Тело (body) is neutral, neither feminine nor masculine, so it's женское тело, мужское тело и т.д. (female body, male body etc.). Plural form is тела: пляж был покрыт телами загорающих - the seashore has been covered by the bodies of those getting their suntan (can't figure out how to say it better in English.)

Surprisingly enough, душа (soul) is feminine, so it's человеческая душа (human soul.) Save Our Souls (the popular, though incorrect, explanation of SOS signal) would be спасите наши души.

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Декабрь 20, 2004

10:17 am - Call for contributors
Does anyone watching this journal want to contribute words of the day? If so, email me at ladybirdsleeps@livejournal.com with your username and a short explanation of why I should choose you. Your "responsibilities" will be to post a word about once a week (but I won't come after you with a pitchfork if you forget).

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Декабрь 6, 2004

05:00 pm - a hiatus
As my source for Russian words to post here is mainly from my schoolwork, I will be taking a hiatus between semesters. I may still post from time to time - depends if I can make myself hold to my resolution to do work outside of classes! If not, I will pick up posting again in February.

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Ноябрь 29, 2004

10:56 pm - лишь, едва
Two very similar words:

лишь and едва - merely, barely, only just, hardly

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Ноябрь 18, 2004

01:06 pm - sounds: плач, крик, визг
People can make a lot of noise. Here are some nouns:

плач - crying, weeping (from плакaть/заплaкать, 'to cry/sob/weep')
крик - shout, yell, scream
визг - scream, squeal, shriek

I recently encountered these all in Blok's "Незнакомка" ("The Stranger").

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