Russian for English speakers 28


(Граф Орлов) «Нежданная любовь»

Musical "Count Orlov"
Unexpected love

Когда в окно стучится дождь,
Она придет, хоть ты не ждешь,
За недоверие простив великодушно...
Из пелены пустого дня
Войдет и сядет у огня,
Тебе не скажет ничего, но слов не нужно...

When rain knocking at your window
She will come even if you're not waiting her
She will pardon you benevolently for your disbelief
  ("for unbelief /pardoning -ed/ /large-soul -ly/")
From the shroud of an empty day
She'll enter and sit by the fire
She'll say anything to you, but you don't need words

Нежданная любовь,
Ты – гостья запоздалая,
Звала тебя давно
Душа моя усталая...
Нежданная любовь –
Отчаянно желанная,
Как солнце в январе -
Случайная, нежданная любовь...
Unexpected love
You are overdue/belated guest (fem.)
Called you long ago
my tired soul
Unexpected love
Desperately desired
Like Sun in January
Accidental, unexpected love
Мотив забытый мне споет,
Как будто пыль с души стряхнет
И, разрешенья не спросив, присядет рядом...
Начнет простое колдовство,
Не обещая ничего,
Но обещаний никаких уже не надо...

She'll sing me a forgotten (music air) motive
Like dusting off my soul
  ("As if dust from soul /will shake-off/")
And without asking for permission she'll sit near
She'll start simple witchery
Without promising anything
But you don't need any promises anymore

Lesson 28



82 - восемьдесят два

eighty two

83 - восемьдесят три

eighty three

84 - восемьдесят четыре eighty four

Двадцать восьмой (28-й) урок

Twenty eighth lesson



Lesson number twenty eight (#28)

Russian language offers unprecedented level of flexibility. To learn Russian, you must literally expand your way of thinking. First of all - you must stretch your pre-existing sentences templates to accommodate new roles of the nouns in a sentence (expressed by so-called "cases of the word"), these extended roles being greatly simplified in most of the other languages.


This system corresponds to three personal pronouns and three places in a "generic" sentence. By "generic" I mean standard English sentence that uses fixed words order.

Personal pronoun Role in a sentence Example Case



I Nominative
you indirect object give you Dative
he/she/it direct object an assignment Accusative

As you can see, this construction is pretty much rigid and can't be easily extended, not if you follow English grammar rules. As I said, Russian offers much more freedom when constructing sentences and allows you to express relations between single words and words groups, using so-called "case system". In Russian, there are 6 cases and 3 genders of nouns (plus plural that has its own case endings). As you can understand, such amount of flexibility must be compensated by strict rules of usage.

Lets take a look at 5 cases

Nominative case
Role 1 - As a Subject of a sentence.
Я ем - I eat
Ты куришь - you smoke

Role 2 - To name things (that's why it's called "именительный падеж"  - "the case that names things")
Это - масло. А это - мыло.
"This - oil. And this - soap." -> It's oil/butter, and this is a/some soap.


Accusative case
Role 1 - To accuse something (well, it's called "винительный" - "accusative"...)
Я обвиняю того мальчика - I accuse that boy.
Я обвиняю мальчика -
"I accuse boy" - is correct, but hardy ever used.

Role 2 - To express some idea that requires Direct Object
Я ем мороженое - I eat an ice-cream

Role 3 - To name a/some 3-rd object / to give an assignment
Дай мне спичку - Give me a match
Выкури папиросу! - Smoke a cigarette!


Genitive case
In English, this case expresses direct possession of some object by somebody, so we'll start with this Role 1,
Сигарета мальчика - boy's cigarette - a cigarette of a/this boy

Role 2, expressing parent-son relations (родительный падеж -  "case of parenting" or "case of giving birth")
Сын своего отца - His father's son
Дочь своей матери - Her mother's daughter

Role 3, to render "some amount of"
Съесть немного масла - To eat some butter
Коробка папирос - "Cigarettes' box" -> A box of cigarettes


Prepositional case - Предложный падеж - 'A case that's with a preposition)

See examples.
I'll just add that this case can be also used to express motion, like in
Я еду на "копейке", meaning "I ride aboard the Moscvitch car, this car being the first model of".
Lit. I ride on a "cent".

To single-out this case, you need to convert the word in question into plural.
For example, "школе" can be Dative and Prepositional, like in
Я даю моей школе - I give to my school
Я сижу в школе - I sit in (my) school

So you check it using
моим школам - to my schools (dative)
в школах - in my schools (prepositional)


Instrumental case - Творительный падеж

Role 1 - "Creational case"
Говорить языком, творить руками - to talk by the tongue, to create by the hands

Role 2 - "Instrumental case"
Говорить языком, ехать поездом - to talk with a tongue, to ride by train

Role 3 - Expressing co-creator or mode of action
Творить с радостью - to create with joy
Ехать со скоростью, ехать с товарищем - "to ride with speed" (to ride fast), to ride with a comrade

Role 4 - Expressing Agent of action
Оштрафован полицейским - Fined by a policeman


It's important to know (among many other things) how to break a word into syllables, in order to pronounce it correctly.
In "имели", it's "и-ме-ли", so we have here "ли", and in this situation two letters totally merge, and to separate them would be an (awful) error. Practice to pronounce "ли" as one sound.


Well, we've seen 5 cases, and you must be pretty confused by now, trying to assimilate this "web mashup". Wait till we get to the Dative.
You'll never be able to speak normal Russian if you can't look through it all to the core words that must be assimilated into you rather then learned.
Here are two tips of how to get to the general idea of these core words.

"Pure Russian" Arabic-style word ( (1) without last vowel are "masculine" and (2) with a last "а" are feminine) form their plurals by changing voweling in the root.
1) дом - house (masc.) gives дома [дАмаа] - houses, turning this word into "feminine'
2) вода - water (fem.) gives воды [вооды] - waters


As I noted before, Dative and Prepositional cases can be easily confused in singular (but rarely in plural). Thus, it's became common to use Dative endings where Prepositional case's should be.
на береге, на берегу - at the bank, on the shore
в шкафу, в/на шкафе...
- in/at the wardrobe...


1 Declensions.
— Let us go on gnawing our way into them.
Beside the nominative, accusative, genitive and dative, we have met the prepositional and finally the instrumental (with whom or what? by whom or what?)
Let us take examples :
— Masculine : обед, язык, город, мальчик (diner, tongue, town, boy).
Feminine; спичка, папироса, школа (hard L!), копейка (match, cigarette, school, kopeck).
Neuter: масло, мыло (hard L!), произношение, упражнение (oil, soap, pronunciation, exercise).

— Masculine: no change, except for мальчик :
я вижу мальчика
, I see a boy (masculine nouns of living creatures form their accusative like their genitive).

Feminine: я вижу спичку, папиросу, школу, копейку.
So the feminine accusative ends in у.

Neuter: no change.


— Masculine : обеда, of the dinner; языка, of  the language; города, of the town; мальчика, of the boy.
Ending in а.

Feminine : спички, of the match; папиросы, of the cigarette; школы, of the school; копейки, of the kopeck.
Ending in и or ы, according to the consonant before.

Neuter : масла, of the oil; мыла, of the soap; произношения, of the pronunciation; упражнения, of the exercise.
Ending in а or ия.

Prepositional or locative.
— (After the prepositions о or об, about; на, at, on; в or во, in; при, near, without any idea of motion).
Masculine; на обеде, at [on] dinner; на языке, on the tongue (or language); в городе, in the town (no idea of motion anywhere); о мальчике, about the boy.
Ending in е.

Feminine : на спичке, on the match; о папиросе, about the cigarette; в школе, at [in] school; на копейке, on the kopeck (no idea of motion anywhere).
Ending in е.

Neuter : в масле, in the oil; на мыле, on the soap; в произношении, in the pronunciation; в упражнении, in the exercise (no idea of motion anywhere).
Ending in е, and exceptionally и.
— (by, or with, or by means of whom or what?); and after the prepositions с or со, with, за, behind, перед, before.
Masculine : перед обедом, before dinner; языком, with (by means of) the tongue; за городом, behind the town; с мальчиком, with the boy.
Ending in ом.

Feminine : спичкой, with (by means of) a match; папиросой, with a cigarette; за школой, behind the school; копейкой, with a kopeck.
Ending in ой.

Neuter : маслом, мылом, with oil, with (by the means of) soap; произношением, by pronunciation; упражнением, by (means of) the exercise.
Ending in ом or ем.
We shall go no further to-day, and we invite you to wait a little longer for the adjectives and pronouns, as well as the plural.
For full table of declensions, see p. 389.
2. The past tense in verbs.
— It is characterized in the masculine by the ending л, added to the infinitive root :
быть, to be, я был, I was;
, to beat, я бил;
курить, to smoke, я курил;
любить, to love, я любил;
думать, to think, я думал;
знать, to know, я знал;
взять, to take, я взял, etc...
Do not forget to pronounce the hard L in the singular (он был; feminine: она была), but not in the plural (вы были).
 See next paragraph.

3. To have, when meaning to possess, can be said иметь (я имею, вы имеете, он имеет;
past : я имел (eem'eL), вы имели (eem'elee), as L softens before a « soft» vowel, i.e. : и,  е, я or ь).

Иметь refers to the possession of concrete objects :
вы имеете красивый стол, or у вас есть красивый стол, you have (possess) a fine table.
But: у вас есть время, rather than: вы имеете время, , you have the time.

4. The hard sign ъ, in the old spelling, was added to words ending with a consonant. E.g., стол was spelt столъ, друг, другъ, дом, домъ, etc...
This sign subsists only inside words, to divide the elements that form them, as in объяснить; observe a light stop after объ.

The change in the stressing is puzzling and will become familiar only by practice.
E.g., we see : вода, the water (nomin.), воды, of the water (genitive), воды, the waters (plural nomin.);
and likewise : рука, the hand, руки, of the hand, руки, the hands.
But on the other hand : трубка, the pipe, трубки, of the pipe, and трубки, the pipes;
буря, the storm, бури, of the storm, бури, the storms.

And also: она была, она поняла,
but: она знала, она читала.
Let us be comforted by thinking that the Russians themselves can be mistaken.
Let us note, however, that the ending -oii generally bears the stress :
просто, simply; простой, simple.
Дорого, dear (adverb); дорогой, dear (adj.).
Дорога, the road, is a different word.

After на and в, some masculine nouns have a prepositional case in у (stressed) instead of е.
E.g. : в лесу, in the forest; в шкафу, in the wardrobe; в саду, in the garden; на берегу, on the bank; на заводу на заводе, in the factory; на полу, on the floor; на углу, in at the corner; на мосту (sometimes на мосте), on the bridge.

Naturally if there is an idea of motion, these nouns remain in the accusative (same as nominative) :

Идти в угол: go to the corner.
Дом стоит на углу: the house stands at the corner
Я иду на завод: / go to the factory.

Я работаю на заводу на заводе (на фабрике) : I work in/at the plant/factory.

And now, after that little bit of theory on the sand, let us get into the water again; there is no better way to learn how to swim.

Tweested English Russian Section

OK, this problem (with) "на заводе" is much deeper. There appears to be some kind of "Prepositional Dative" that expresses target of movement.
Идти к заводу - to go to a plant/factory

More to this, there is a s.c. "Звательный падеж" - "Vocative case", used to call someone.
Саша, Маша - Саш [Сааш...], Маш [Мааш...]

If you know German, you'll notice its excessive use of Dative case. In Russian, you have not only more cases but actually undocumented cases! Enjoy!
We'll get to them soon.