BY ISA TRAVERSO-BURGER
This issue of World 101 is dedicated to the Russian language, one of great political importance in the 20th century. Its history is di- vided into four periods: Kievan period and feudal breakup, Muscovite period (15th-17th centuries), Empire (18th-19th centuries) and Soviet period and be- yond (20th century).
Russian is spoken in: Russia, former Soviet Republics, former War- saw Pact-member states, Israel, Mongolia, and Svalbard. It belongs to the family of Indo-European languages. Total speakers: About 145 million
Writing system: Cyrillic alphabet Official language of: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Unit- ed Nations, Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Gagauz- ia and some regions of Ukraine.
Here are some popular Russian proverbs and their meanings:
/v trid’ev’atom tsartsv’e/ “in the three-ninth kingdom”, it’s a typical beginning of a fairy tale and is used ironically to describe a place far away.
/ni k s’elu, ni k gorodu/ “neither for a village nor for a city”, meaning of no use or relevance.
/delat’ iz mukhi slona/ “to make an elephant from a fly”, meaning something impossible to achieve.
/kogda rak (na gore) svistnet/ “when the crayfish will whistle (on the mountain top)”, meaning never.
•Thank you very much
•Don’t mention it
•Do you speak Russian?
Vy gavareeteh pa ru-sky?•
•Do you speak English?
Vy gavareeteh pa anglisky?•
•I don’t speak English
Ya ne gavareeu na angliyskom•
•I don’t speak Russian
Ya ne gavareeu na ruskom•
•My Russian is bad
Ya ploha gavaru pa Ruski•
•I do not understand
Ya ne paneemau•
•Could you speak slowly?
Russians in History:
• Peter the Great: Ruled Russia from 1682 until his death. He transformed Muscovite Russia into a major European power. • Alexander Suvorov: Last Generalissimo (not counting Stalin). He never lost a battle; he was famed for his manual The Science of Victory.
• Alexander Pushkin: Romantic author considered the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. • Ivan Pavlov: Won Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for research pertaining to the digestive system. Pavlov was known for first describing the phenomenon known as classical conditioning.
• Yuri Gagarin: was a Soviet astronaut who in 1961 became the first human in space and the first human to orbit the Earth. • Vladimir Lenin (born Ulyanov): Communist revolutionary, the leader of the Bolshevik party, initiator of Leninism -an adaptation of Marxism to “the age of imperialism.
• Mikhail Gorbachev: Leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. He helped to end the Cold War and dissolve the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.