Welcome back to the second edition of Russian Words! It’s been a good six months since we last explored this kind of everyday vocabulary together. I hope you’ve acquired many new and interesting words in the meantime.
This is an occasional series that highlights interesting vocabulary in Russian. If you’re an intermediate student of Russian and hungry for new vocab (or you don’t speak the language but you have a high pain tolerance for all those funny Cyrillic letters), these posts are for you. Let’s get started!
My свекровь (mother-in-law) came to town recently. This is code for a weekend of language immersion so, as usual, I tried to institute the 10-new-words rule. We didn’t quite reach the goal but sure did a lot better than last time.
That’s no kitten
Here’s Кит, our 4-year-old cat.
I like to cuddle him and call him overly-sweet nicknames, mainly because he always tolerates it with this particularly endearing facial expression. One of his nicknames is котёнок, kitten. D’s mom set the record straight, though- Что?! She stared at me like I was crazy. Не котёнок, а котище! And thus, Кит graduated from kitten to котище, big cat. I always knew this day was coming. *sniff* ; )
*Edited to add: after D read this, he told me that котище is actually related to чудище, monster, and therefore кот + -ище is more like “monstrous cat”.*
We decided to rent a car on Saturday and drive west until we hit the Pacific Ocean.
The beach ended up being 2 completely different places depending upon whether the tide was in or out. At high tide, we walked along a tiny sliver of the beach as big waves rolled in. The next morning, we were out the door early to catch the low tide- actually a minus tide!- and explore all the secret tidepools and shallows.
It’s quite complicated to try to explain tide in Russian without knowing the word- what verb of motion do I use for the movement of water? Вода придёт? идёт? уйдёт? выйдёт? Ugh, those verbs of motion! Luckily свекровь guessed what I was trying to say.
прилив = incoming tide
отлив = outgoing tide
Despite the beautiful backdrop of the Oregon coast, my mind was fixated on less inspiring thoughts most of the time, mainly OH, IT ITCHES. Sorry for the TMI, but some unknown allergic reaction caused my sides and neck to break into an all-consuming itch/rash cycle. I was like a dog with fleas the whole weekend. This cued a constant refrain of “Катя, не чеши!” “Но чешется!” (“Katya, don’t scratch!” “But it itches!”) Physically, it sucked, but you can bet I’ll never forget those words after hearing them fifty bajillion times.
By the way, according to my свекровь, the culprit is this: too many vegetables :p Gotta love that old bread-butter-meat-and-nothing-else mentality.
Speaking of eating, we lucked out when our guest brought a gigantic bag of Russian candies, probably to counteract our dubious veggie-based diet. Here are two that go with this post’s cat theme : ) Sadly, not many of these candies survived the weekend.
Краткое повторение, or RECAP
1. котище = big cat. Here’s a funny котище video.
2. прилив = incoming tide / high tide
3. отлив = outgoing tide / low tide
4. чешется = it itches
5. Не чеши! = Don’t scratch (an itch)! To say this to an animal (cat scratching furniture, etc) you’d use: не царапай!
6. Кис-кис! = Here kitty-kitty-kitty!
7. стакан молока = a glass of milk
До следующего раза! Until next time!
Want more? Click here for the previous edition of Russian Words.