Friday, December 22, 2006

Lesson 14 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

• ❑ Opening Word

Ну, здравствуйте, мои дорогие слушатели = Well, hello, my dear listeners!
Как вы поживаете? = 'How are you?'

'Как вы поживаете' is basically the same as 'Как дела'. The difference is in the use. I'd never say 'Как дела' to a person I just met, or to someone who's a lot older than I am. 'Как дела' is reserved for close friends, family and children. The use of 'Как поживаете' in turn is more appropriate when addressing people much older than you, groups of people, someone you don't know very well, or simply to show respect.

So, как вы поживаете? У меня всё хорошо. (I am doing fine). Are you ready for another spoonful of Russian today?

• ❑ Lesson#14 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It would be more than appropriate to teach you a few Christmas and New Year-related phrases.

Many of you probably know that Russians have always been big on celebrating the New Year's rather than Christmas. After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. In 1992 the Christmas celebration was revived and announced to be an official state holiday. Note that the Orthodox Christmas falls after the Western Christmas on the 7th of January! Together with the Russians the Orthodox Christmas is celebrated by Romanians and Serbs, while the Greeks adopted the Western Christmas.

Did you know that the New Year holiday has been celebrated in Russia for more than 300 years? It's Peter the Great who established the New Year celebration on the 1st of January. In his documents the evergreen trees were considered the main decoration for the holiday. That will explain my choice for today's song later.

But let us turn to Russian Christmas and New Year vocabulary.

Now, during the time right before the New Year holiday people say 'С Наступающим Новым Годом' literally 'With forthcoming New Year'. But I'd translate is as 'Happy Holidays'!

Natalia: Джулия, с Наступающим Новым Годом! (S Nas-too-pah-you-schim Novym Godum)
Julia: И тебя тоже, мам.(Ee te-byah toh-zhah, mum) = ('You, too, Mom.')

When the clock strikes 12 on January 1st, it's safe to yell out: 'С Новым Годом!' You can hear people saying 'С Новым Годом' well into February. Especially to the ones they haven't seen since the previous year:)

'Merry Christmas' will be 'С Рождеством Христовым' (S Rozh-deh-stvom Khris-to-vym). I do not remember the particulars of the Russian Christmas celebration, since I left Russia in 1995. But I did some research on the subject and compiled some facts that I hope you'll find interesting. You can find the text file 'Russian Christmas' in my 'downloads' section.

Once again, if you want to wish someone a Merry Christmas, say 'С Рождеством Христовым!' And if you want to wish a Happy New Year, say 'С Новым Годом!' But all through the holiday season 'С праздником' (S prahz-knee-kom) will be always appropriate and timely.

'С праздником, дорогие товарищи! :))))))) Well, maybe not that official... 'товарищи' means 'comrades'.
'С праздником, друзья!' ---- 'Happy holidays, friends!' Now, that's more like it.

• ❑ Song

"В лесу родилась ёлочка"

("A Little Fir Tree's Born") performed by a children's choir.
This is the most popular Russian New Year's song. Every Russian knows it. It's something that no winter holiday can do without. The author of the lyrics is a school teacher, who was also a librarian: Raisa Adamovna Kudashova. The song was born in 1903 and since then it brings joy and excitement to Russian kids just like that little fir tree from the song......

"В лесу родилась елочка"

В лесу родилась елочка,

В лесу она росла,

Зимой и летом стройная,

Зеленая была.

Зимой и летом стройная,

Зеленая была.

Метель ей пела песенку: 

"Спи, елочка, бай-бай!"

Мороз снежком укутывал:

"Смотри, не замерзай!"

Мороз снежком укутывал:

"Смотри, не замерзай!"

Трусишка - зайка серенький

Под елочкой скакал.

Порою волк, сердитый волк,

Рысцою пробегал.

Порою волк, сердитый волк,

Рысцою пробегал.

Чу! Снег по лесу частому

Под полозом скрипит;

Лошадка мохноногая

Торопится, бежит.

Лошадка мохноногая

Торопится, бежит.

Везет лошадка дровеньки,

А в дровнях старичок,

Срубил он нашу елочку

Под самый корешок.

Срубил он нашу елочку

Под самый корешок.

Теперь ты здесь нарядная,

На праздник к нам пришла,

И много, много радости

Детишкам принесла.

И много, много радости

Детишкам принесла

(the English Translation)

In the woods a spruce was born,

It was growing in the wood

In summer and winter

it was straight and green.

The blizzard sang it a lullaby:

Sleep dear spruce, sleep tight!

The frost put snow around it
Don't freeze!

The timid grey rabbit

hopped under the tree,

From time to time

The angry wolf just trotted by.

Hush, listen! Deep in the woods

Snow scratches under a sleigh.

A heavy horse 

Runs smoothly.

The sleigh carries firewood,

and in it was an old man

He chopped it down

at the very roots.

And here it is,
all dressed up,

it's come to us for the holiday

And lots and lots of happiness

it brought to the children.

And here is the same song performed by my 10 year-old Emily:

• ❑ Closing Word

Вот и всё. That's it.

А я прощаюсь с вами и говорю вам 'Счастливого Рождества и с Наступающим Новым Годом!'
(I am saying 'good-bye' and 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!')

Увидимся в следующем году!
('See you next year!')

Help - Which Mic to Get?

I wrote a special Christmas edition of "A Spoonful of Russian" and trying to record it now. My current mic (Samson C01U) is acting up and giving me the same problems as last time. (Remember the poor sound quality?)

I decided to go out and get a new mic. Any suggestion as to which USB mic to get would be much appreciated!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Lesson 13 - Family Matters

Добрый день, друзья! Как дела? Хорошо? Отлично.
(Hello, friends! How are you? Doing well? Great!)

It's December now, and I am a bit late with my coming back to the 'Spoonful of Russian'. I was hoping to get it started again in November, they say in Russia: "Люди предполагают, а Бог располагает!" Which literally means "People make plans, but everything is in God's hands'.

To quickly bring you up to date we are in our new house in Charlotte, NC and lovin' it! Still lots of things to do around the house to make our home --> thus lack of time for making podcasts:(

For all the listeners who were asking about our trip to my hometown in Russia - the trip did not materialize for a couple of reasons. The Russian embassy told me I had some problems with my Russian passport at the last minute when I had the tickets in my hands! Then the airline company refused to refund us after we told them we were not going to Russia. But enough of that. Let's get to our lesson.


А теперь давайте окунемся в сегодняшний урок = Let us dive into today's lesson. We are in the middle of great family holidays now. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving (День Благодарения) and now you are looking forward to Christmas (Рождество)! One thing these 2 holidays have in common is family gatherings. Dads, Moms, Grandmas, Grandpas, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, daughter, sons, grandchildren....get together for a very special time. Would you know how to label a specific branch of your Family tree in Russian? To help you out I made a chart of the family members and relations. All family members have gender-specific names. Please, listen carefully as I pronounce the words. You are welcome to pause this podcast recording, rewind and repeat.

(click on the chart for a larger view) ...


For the musical part of the podcast I chose a timeless song performed by a singer from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia - Nani Bregvadze. The song is called "Снегопад" or "The Snowfall" where the snowfall stands for the end of one's youth. The singer is pleading with the Snowfall to wait and not to knock on her door. She still has love and tenderness to give, and hopes to share. The text is full of beautiful metaphors and similies. Almost 40 years have passed since Nani sang the song for the first time, but it still resonates in people's hearts, because the theme is eternal.


Я еще не успела испить свою осень
А уже снегопад сторожит у ворот
Он надежды мои как дороги заносит
И грозит застелить надо мной небосвод

Снегопад, снегопад, не мети мне на косы
Не стучи в мою дверь, у ворот не кружи
Снегопад, снегопад, если женщина просит
Бабье лето ее торопить не спеши

Не спеши, снегопад, я еще не готова
Ты еще не успел мою душу смутить
Неизлитую боль лебединого слова
Не тебе, а ему я хочу посвятить

Снегопад, снегопад, не мети мне на косы
Не стучи в мою дверь, у ворот не кружи
Снегопад, снегопад, если женщина просит
Бабье лето ее торопить не спеши

Я еще разобьюсь о твою неизбежность
Голубая метель запорошит мой дом
Я прошу, снегопад, не заснежь мою нежность
Не касайся любви ледянящим крылом

Снегопад, снегопад, не мети мне на косы
Не стучи в мою дверь, у ворот не кружи
Снегопад, снегопад, если женщина просит
Бабье лето ее торопить не спеши
Торопить не спеши, торопить не спеши


That's it. Now you can call your family members using the words you've learned today. But be advised, when addressing your brother, he might have a negative reaction to the word. It's somewhat close to the English word 'brat' :)

I want to apologize for not answering all of your e-mails. After the move I have taken up some new responsibilities and am very short on spare time. But I still welcome all your input and comments.

This lesson's recording quality leaves much to be desired, but I promise next lesson will be much better.