Wednesday, November 08, 2017

No more updates, but the site will still exist

This blog has been in a vegetative state hooked up to life support for a looooooong time. I do not have time to upkeep it, but at the same time I am not going to pull the plug and delete it. The site provides a lot of helpful info and has a right to exist. Browse away....

Thursday, April 07, 2016

My YouTube Channel Has Been Re-Enabled!

Finally! Thanks to the Big G tech support we were able to sort out the problem. Now I will be able to upload my videos to The Spoonful Of Russian channel again. So relieved.

It's been sooooo long. I feel like I am a bit rusty. My last vid was uploaded 1 year ago. I am going to ask you, guys, for your suggestions as far as my next video. Go!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Unable to log in to my YouTube to upload or approve comments

Not sure what happened exactly, but I am unable to log in to my own YouTube account in order to upload new videos or manage my subscribers' comments. At the same time there is no problem logging in to Google, GooglePlus or Blogger. Hmmmmm. Thank you for being patient as I am looking into solutions.

Friday, November 14, 2014

a Spoonful of Russian 032

Today I fill a request of one of my Podcast listeners/ YouTube subscribers by reciting a short poem written by one of Russia's greatest talents - Anna Akhmatova. Лотова Жена - Анна Ахматова (Lot's Wife - Anna Akhmatova). To view the text:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Enjoy your Spoonfuls?

Enjoying the podcast? Got a minute? Please, add your iTunes review for my podcast.

It is currently buried underneath 40 or so other foreign language podcasts. Let's put it on the front page! More votes, more exposure, more content. Thank you in advance.

Click to add your vote/review

Monday, October 20, 2014

a Spoonful of Russian 031

The video that goes with this episode can be found on my YouTube channel: Episode 031

Toasting is a huge thing in Russia. Has been for ages. A full glass must be drunk to the bottom after every toast, because “a toast without wine is like a wedding without a bride!” A traditional Russian drinking party usually includes a sequence of several standard toasts.

You can refresh them by watching my Most Common Russian Drinking Toasts/Phrases video.

The most common first toast is...

To our meeting!
За встречу!
[za FSTRYE-tchoo] … sort of an ice-breaker toast:)

Another good opener toast is…

To our health!
Будем здоровы!
[BOO-dem zda-RO-vy]

The toasts that follow largely depend on the occasion that brought the people together. At a birthday party, the first toast (with wishes of health, success and a long life) is usually to the birthday guy or lady. The second toast is to their parents as a sign of honor.

At a wedding, the first toast is “To the health of the newlyweds.” After that, the guests shout "Горько!"(Gorko!) often and loudly, all through the banquet. “Gorko” literally means "bitter” in Russian, implying the bitterness the wine being drunk. By yelling that the wine is bitter, the guests are inviting the newlyweds to make it sweeter by giving each other a sweet long kiss. As the bride and groom kiss, the guests count the seconds: “Один! Два! Три! Четыре! Пять! ... One, two, three, four, five..." until the kiss is over, whereupon they raise their glasses in a toast.

At a funeral banquet, the first part of the toast is usually an uplifting or touching story about the dearly departed; it is concluded with the words Пусть земля ему/ей будет пухом! Вечная память! (Let the ground in which he/she rests be like goose down. Eternal memory to (him/her). When people in Russia drink to the dead it is customary not to clink glasses.

Without a doubt towards the middle of the party someone usually proposes a toast “За женщин”! “To beautiful ladies!” or “To the ladies present here!" At this point someone else usually says that real men stand up when they drink a toast to beautiful ladies, and they drink to the bottom. All the gentlemen present promptly comply.

The last toast, “На посошок!” / “Na pososhok", is usually pronounced when the guests are about to leave. In olden days, travelers used a walking stick, called posokh or, diminutively, pososhok in Russian, during long journeys. A toast to the walking stick, therefore, is meant to make sure that the return journey is safe.

Learn some Russian today!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

a Spoonful of Russian 030

The video that goes with this episode can be found on my YouTube channel: Episode 030

Asking questions in Russian can be quite a daunting and intimidating task, especially if you try to follow the proper grammar rules of declention, gender agrement, etc. What if you are a beginner? Should you not even try? Of course not.

By knowing basic Russian interrogatives, you'll be able to express your questions, even without an extensive vocabulary or grammar knowledge. Lots of times you don’t even need to form a complete sentence to ask a question. All you need is to know the ‘question word’ and your pointer finger:)

Learn some Russian today!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

a Spoonful of Russian 029

Ever wanted to pronounce the days of the week in Russian like a native? Piece of cake!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

a Spoonful of Russian 028

Today’s spoonful is going to consist of a useful Russian phrase and a poem in Russian. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the poem. The reason for reading out loud is so that you can get more familiar with the Russian sounds.

As you’ve probably noticed I started this podcast with the expression Добрый день translated as ‘Good afternoon’. There is also Доброе утро (‘Good morning’) and Добрый вечер (‘Good evening’). So when is the appropriate time of the day to use these expressions? Most Russians use the following time frames for them. For example, use Доброе утро from 6am till noon. Use Добрый день from noon till 6pm...and Добрый вечер is used anytime past 6pm and before bedtime.

Now here’s your chance to practice saying Доброе утро, Добрый день, and Добрый вечер in Russian. First I say the phrase, then you’ll hear a sound - that will be your prompt to repeat the phrase after me. Then I repeat the phrase one last time, so you can check your pronunciation. Давайте начнем. Let’s begin.

Доброе утро
Добрый день
Добрый вечер

Замечательно! Wonderful! And now for the poem. I will be reading one of the most popular poems written by Sergei Esenin in 1913. It’s called БЕРЕЗА (The Birch-Tree). It was part of my middle school program, and I can still recite it by memory.

The Birch-Tree

Just below my window

Stands a birch-tree white,
Under snow in winter
Gleaming silver bright.

On the fluffy branches

Sparkling in a row
Dangle pretty tassels
Of the purest snow

There the birch in silence

Slumbers all day long
And the snow gleams brightly
In the golden sun.

And the dawn demurely

Going on its rounds
With a silver mantle
Decks again the boughs

(translation by Peter Tempest)

This is your spoonful of Russian for today.

I encourage you, my Listener, to leave me a voicemail. It can be a question, a comment, a suggestion.

Your feedback and ratings on iTunes means a lot to me. I read every single comment. It just makes my day.

До свидания and stay hungry for the next Spoonful of Russian!

- Leave a quick voicemail calling: 209-980-7877 (209-980-RUSS)
- For longer question email:
- twitter: @russianspoonful (with hashtag #askNataliaW )
- YouTube:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Russian Vocabulary: Family (Семья)

Ever wanted to know how to call your family members in Russian? I don't mean nicknames:) I mean official titles.


Sunday, May 04, 2014

What's On My Mind (О Чём Думает Моя Голова) reading out loud

Almost everybody has a book that they read and re-read in their childhood. When we read it again as adults it takes us back into the wonderful world of childhood fantasies and dreams.

I have a book like that too. In Russian it was called "О чём думает моя голова". Translated into English "What's on My Mind". It's a collection of short stories about 2 elementary school girls, the best of friends. About their everyday adventures, how they made friends, how they took revenge on enemies, tried to avoid problems at school, how they pleaded with their parents to adopt a puppy, and more. Basically, I saw myself in one of those girls. The best part is that the narrator  is one of the girls, and you can really hear a 3rd-grader talking. Kids come alive in the pages of the book.

I am lucky enough to have the very same copy of my favorite book with me. Today I wanted to share the first chapter with you. If you are a beginner and cannot follow, don't despair. Simply hearing the Russian speech will aid you in your studies. I am reading at a normal speed.

О Чём Думает Моя Голова - читаем вслух

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not Gone. Just Getting Ready for my Oldest Child's Wedding.

Thank you all who enjoys the content I produce and who is patiently waiting for updates. This Sunday (in 3 days!) my oldest daughter is getting married. As you can imagine things are pretty hectic now. But even at this time I'm getting fresh ideas for my next YouTube video / iTunes podcast.

As always, I'm open to suggestions.

Again, спасибо. And... до скорой встречи!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Russian Christmas (Рождество)

Many of you probably know that Russians have always been big on celebrating the New Year rather than Christmas.

After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. It wasn't until 75 years later, in 1992, that the holiday was openly observed.

Today, it's once again celebrated in grand fashion, with the faithful participating in an all-night Mass in incense-filled Cathedrals amidst the company of fellow believers and the painted icons of the Saints of old.

The Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar; therefore, its Christmas celebration falls on January 7th. It's a day of both solemn ritual and joyous celebration. Before this date, Orthodox Russians fast for 40 days. The Lent period ends with the first star in the night sky on January 6 -- a symbol of Jesus Christ's birth. Many Orthodox Christians go to the church to attend a Christmas liturgy that evening.

So today It would be more than appropriate to teach you how to say Merry Christmas in Russian.

'Merry Christmas' will be 'С Рождеством Христовым' 

(S Rozh-deh-stvom Khris-to-vym)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Most Common Russian Drinking Toasts

Most Common Russian Drinking Toasts. There are more, but these will get you started:)

Little Fir Tree (В Лесу Родилась Ёлочка) Happy New 2014!

Little Fir Tree (В Лесу Родилась Ёлочка).  

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 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.

Автор текста (слов): Кудашева Раиса Адамовна
Композитор (музыка): Бекман Леонид Карлович

"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 saying:
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.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Russian Vocabulary - Borrowed Words in Modern Russian


The best way to think about the borrowed words in Russian is from a historical perspective. The influx of foreign words came in waves depending on what country or culture had influence in Russia:

• Byzantine influence and conversion to Christianity: influx of Greek words

• The reign of Peter the Great: influx of German and Dutch words (e.g. шлагбаум,  гастарбайтер, бутерброд and so on)

• End of 20th century, perestroyka (перестройка) and post-soviet Russia, globalization: influx of English words

• There are many words of French origin (because Russians have been fascinated with French culture, especially in 18-19 centuries), for example шансон, авангард and many others

• There are a few of Japanese words in Russian, such as самурай, банзай, хокку, каратэ, цунами, etc.

• Some Chinese words - женьшень, тайфун, чай, шарпей, фэншуй etc

• Some Turkic words - башка, сундук, казна, утюг, чугун, шашлык, алыча, амбар, сарай, халат etc.

In this video I mention just a few borrowed words. Knowing them will give you confidence to go on learning.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Russian Vocabulary - Antonyms (Антонимы)

A fun way to learn Russian is by learning the words with opposite meanings. Here are some antonyms for you.

Stay in touch:

- site:
- voicemail: 209-980-7877 (209-980-RUSS)
- email:
- twitter: @russianspoonful

Saturday, August 10, 2013

UPDATE: "Houston, we have a problem!" Moving feeds in Feedburner.

UPDATE: to cut the long story short iTunes /Mac app support basically told me I was 'out of luck'. I did a bit more thinking. My head must have been exceptionally clear today, because I came up with a solution! Now all 'A Spoonful of Russian' media should show up in your podcatcher app. Now I got my podcast tied to the right gmail address, all the dear old subscribers are kept, and iTunes Store reviews/ratings are intact. That reminds me - I can always use a review or two;)

"Houston, we have a problem!" A couple of days ago I tied the podcast's feed to a different feed burner account, a dedicated gmail email for my podcast. Because I have changed the feed URL without taking steps to redirect the iTunes  Store it's no longer possible to subscribe to the feed in iTunes, and the Store page is stuck with a cached copy of the last time it could read the old feed. found out about the procedure involving adding a special tag to the old feed a little too late….

I really do not want to lose my dear old subscribers nor the iTunes Store reviews. I hope and pray the Apple iTunes support team could help me out and swap the feed URLs for me. 

I found out the podcatchers like Downcast (#Downcastapp) are able to get all of my media with no problem. Get the iPhone app  or the iPad app and watch the tutorial I just made:

Friday, August 09, 2013

Q and A Session #1

Здравствуйте и добро пожаловать … Hello and welcome to the very first 'Questions and Answers' edition of A Spoonful of Russian Podcast. Coming to you from a small home studio in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina.

Instead of trying to find time to get back to each and everyone of you individually through email, I decided to start accumulating the questions and answering them in a podcast. I am thinking of getting one out once a month maybe. I am getting questions sporadically. Sometimes several a day, sometimes nothing for days in a row. My hope is to have a large pool of questions to pull from. That way you can count on regular Q&A sessions.

Ways to get your questions over to me:

- contact form on my site:
- Leave a quick voicemail calling: 209-980-7877 (209-980-RUSS)
- email:
- twitter: @russianspoonful (with hashtag #askNataliaW )
- YouTube:

I am aware that many of you prefer to listen to podcasts rather than go to my YouTube channel and view content there. I myself am an avid listener of a handful of podcasts. When I am cooking in my kitchen or lifting weights in my garage I do not really want to look at a video. Truth is we all consume media in different ways depending on our activities. So, hopefully you, guys, will find this format useful and enjoyable.

This would typically be a time in a podcast where I'd share with you a quick word from my sponsors, but I don't have any sponsors! I've been podcasting since 2005 when the whole podcast phenomena was rolled out by Steve Jobs. Since then several companies approached me, but none of them seemed like a good match for the content of this podcast. So, I'm still waiting for my advertising 'prince' … for the business marriage made in Heaven. Make me an offer I can't refuse, and you will not be 'sleeping with the fishes'. So if you are a huge corporation with lots of spare change in your pockets listening to me now, reach out by emailing me:

### What do you think about the Hollywood actors' Russian accent?

MOSFILM (Мосфильм) has been the largest and oldest film studio in Russia. It was founded in 1920 and its output includes most of the widely-acclaimed Soviet-era films.

Some of my favorites:

-  1968 War and Peace (Война и Мир)
-  1968 The Diamond Arm (Бриллиантовая Рука)
-  1973  Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (Иван Васильевич меняет профессию)
-  1975 The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your Banya! (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!)
-  1977 Office Romance (Служебный Романс)
-  1979 Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears (Москва Слезам не Верит)
-  1985 Love and Doves (Любовь и Голуби)

Here's the interview with Andrei Tarkovsky, a critically acclaimed Soviet film director:

### In the age of instant information exchange and assimilation of cultures do Russian emigrants still hold on to some "Russian-only" traditions and ways?

That is a great question. Very well-constructed I might add:) I agree that today cultural borders are getting less and less defined. Internet, I think, is mainly to thank for that. I remember times when the only way I could get info about foreign countries was through the hand-written letters of my pen pals. Back in the 1980s our TV had only 2 channels and both of them were run by the government. Radio was a bit different. One could catch BBC World Radio service or Voice of America station and get news that way. But being a little girl that was not my thing.
Now Russians are very much cosmopolitan and have adapted the ways of the West into their everyday lives. But when a Russian moves away from his or her Motherland, they tend to resurrect and cherish their Russian-only customs and traditions. I'd say it is out of sentimental reasons. There is an innate desire to keep to our roots, preserve the rich legacy for our children. I hope I am correct when I speak for my friends here in the States when I say that things we took for granted while in Russia we now find of great value. Personally, I am re-reading all the classics I skimmed through while in high scroll and in college. The same goes for films. I bug my Mom for her family recipes every time I get her on a Skype call. I also try to collect all the family history and old photos.

As far as traditions themselves I'd say hot tea drinking is among the top ones. Of course, drinking Vodka for relaxation will be another. For many, but not for me. I never developed a taste for the stuff:) I'm more of a red wine person. Taking shoes off indoors, of course. Russian emigrants’ New Year celebration is  much more involved and elaborate than that of a regular American family.

- That holiday in itself carries tons of traditions, such as making of винегрет (salad based on beetroot). Here's the best recipe of it I could find:

- Оливье (check out this Olivye recipe:

- селёдка под шубой (dressed herring). A layered salad composed of diced salted herring covered with layers of grated boiled vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beet roots), chopped onions, and mayonnaise. Some cool info and link to recipes here:

- заливная рыба (one of the ways the phrase is translated is 'aspic fish'). There's a very famous and widely quoted line from that film I mentioned above that says "Какая гадость, какая гадость эта ваша заливная рыба!" -  "this aspic fish of yours is a total failure" (a polite way) or more straight forward translation "Jesus, your aspic fish sucks bit time!"

a YouTube link to the clip

- There's also фаршированные яйца (deviled eggs)

- холодец (aspic) One of my favorites growing up. My мама used to make it just right. The best recipe is from Natasha's kitchen:

- Something else that my Mom excels at is мясо по-французски (French Meat Casserole). I looked around the interwebz and the closest recipe to my Moms was one published by Nadia. Here's the link:

So those are just some of the staples. I am sure I'm missing some. If you catch it, send me and email:)

As you can see Russians are very fond of their traditional foods. The prep work  for the New Years' feast involves your whole family and oftentimes friends cooking together, while watching 1975 film “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy your Banya!” (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!). Every...single...year. And we never grow tired of it:)

Boy, this whole New Year traditions thing got me quite exited:) LOL …and sentimental.

For the sake of time we do need to move on to the next topic. But if the above information births a question in your mind, do not hesitate to contact me.

### Is it easy for foreigners to get a job in Russia? 

It's been a long time since my last visit to Russia, so I contacted one of my American friends who is currently living in the country. He says "Short answer is no. You need a work visa, and an invitation from a Russian company that is willing to sponsor you. What about coming and working for a non-profit organization? They are under a lot of scrutiny from the government right now. You can still get "humanitarian" visas I believe. But you would need a sponsor as well."

### Why are Americans the 'bad guys' in modern Russian action movies and games?

Let me answer this question with a question "Why are Russians always the 'bad guys' in almost all American movies? Remember "Crimson Tide", "Red Dawn", "The Hunt for Red October", "Air Force One", "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", "Red Heat", "Salt", "The Tourist", "The Sum of All Fears". I can go on on on. And it's more than just in action films. There are plenty of animated films that have cute little villains speak broken Russian, like that Blue Russian cat in "Cats & Dogs" or Steve Carell as Gru in Despicable Me. So yeah, it goes both ways. It always did. There's just this strange dance going on between the two countries. Kind of reminds me of the movie "Mr and Mrs Smith":) By the way, a couple of detergent-making companies should consider naming their products "Crimson Tide" and "Red Dawn".

### Good Russian bands/songs?

I get asked this a lot too. Unfortunately, I cannot just give you a list. Music tastes differ so much. One man's 'awesome music' is another man's 'garbage'. I am sure you can google 'Russian traditional music' and get lots of results. For a taste of current Russian artist point your browser to

...and you'll get a pretty good idea. I've been listening to it today and my personal favs are Город 312, Юлия Савичева, МакSим, Zемфира, Би-2, Браво, Кино, Елка, Сергей Лазарев, Света, Жанна Агузарова...

### Are Russian men womanizers like French guys?

First of all, I personally do not have any experience with French men, so I cannot confirm nor deny the assumption that they are womanizers.  As far as Russian men go, I'd say they are gallant towards women. At least within the circle of my family and friends. They will open the door for a woman, they will get up from their seat in the presence of a woman. They will get up and offer a woman their seat on a public transport. I guess some western women take that as flirtation, but for us this behavior is the norm.

### What kinds of transportation are used in Russia?

This question is interesting because the ways of transportation have evolved in the last 15 years dramatically. Growing up in 1980s all I knew on a daily basis was buses and trolleys. Occasional taxi, when my parents felt like splurging. In the early 1980s when I was a kid my Dad bought a car (LADA make, for those who are interested) and that was considered a luxury. When most Russian folks would ride a bus to their 'dachas', Daddy used to take us to dig up our potatoes in style:) Nowadays my understanding is that lots and lots of people own a car in Russia. Problem is there are not enough parking space for all these cars. Certain infrastructures will have to play a game of catching up. And fast!

Trains and airplanes have been on the transportation scene for a while now.  Not much changed there.

### When will the 2014 Winter Olympics be held?

7th February - 23rd February in Sochi (Сочи) Russia.

### What foods do Russians enjoy eating? 

Борщ (borsch) Served either hot or cold. Traditional borsch soup in Russia uses beef, beef stock, beets and cabbage. However, today's recipes have been modified and borsch often contains a variety of different vegetables.

Щи (Shchi) - is a Russian soup with cabbage as the main ingredient. Its primary distinction is its acidic taste.

Картошка (potatoes) - Russians also enjoy a number of dishes made from potatoes, representing the heartier side of Russian cuisine.

Блины (crepes) - Bliny, pronounced "bleeni," with the last vowel sounding like the "i" in "it," appear as a thin pancake, much like a crepe, filled with savory or sweet toppings. Popular Russian variations include sour cream and caviar, preserves, potatoes, mushrooms or meat. Because a blin, singular, has such a light taste on its own, you can fill it with almost anything.

Оладьи (pancakes) - Olady (pronounced [aladyi]) is one of many Russian traditional flour treats, usually served for breakfast. There are classic and simple olady. Classic are made with yeast, and simple are made with baking soda and buttermilk or sour cream.

Пельмени (pelmeni) are dumplings consisting of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough)

Черный хлеб (chorny khleb) - a form of rye bread that's not actually black, has a very sharp flavor and firm texture. It may take a while, but many non-Russians come to love the black bread.)

Пироги (pirogi) - In the Russian frame of mind, everything with a crust counts as a pie, or "pirog." While some Russian pirogi contain fruit, others feature savory fillings like meat, mushrooms and a fresh cheese called quark. Pirozhki, the diminutive form of pirogi, means "small pies."

Окрошка (Okroshka) - is a traditional cold Russian summer soup that doesn't need to be boiled. It is usually made on hot days when nobody wants to move, let alone cook something serious in the kitchen. This soup contains mostly raw vegetables, boiled eggs, and fermented drink kvass.

Квас (kvass) - Kvass is a fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread.

Каша (kasha) - porridge ranks as a common Russian breakfast meal made from buckwheat or any cereal wheat, barley, oats, millet,rye and cooked in milk or water. At least a thousand years old, kasha is one of the oldest known dishes in Central European and Eastern European cuisine. Grechka (гречка) is by far my favorite. Has been since childhood. My husband and kids love it too now. Buckwheat groats are used and it is cooked like rice. Has awesome nutritional profile ( )

dozens of different salads drenched in mayonaise:)

### Do bears still walk along Russian streets?



Looks like this is it for the first Q and A session of the podcast. I did my best and hope you enjoyed your time. You might   have even learned something new today. I sure hope so. I know I did while getting this podcast together:)

In closing, I just wanted to thank you all for taking time out of your busy lives to listen to my ramblings. From the feedback you guys leave on iTunes I gathered that the audience of A Spoonful of Russian is a peculiar one. In a good sense of the word:) For one reason or the other Russian language is not considered to be one of the highly sought out foreign languages like Spanish, French, or German.

(go ahead and leave your feedback for my podcast on iTunes. 
Bring the ratings for the Russian language up!)

There is a small yet a well-defined layer of the society that finds the Russian language and the Russian culture of great interest. You are that layer, and I salute you! Your reasons for sticking with a less popular language could be different. So, I leave you, my friends, with this question:

"What is it that draws YOU to the Russian language, history, culture?"

I am looking forward to your answers and will share them in the next Q and A session.

Ways to get your answers over to me:

- Leave a quick voicemail calling: 209-980-7877 (209-980-RUSS)
- For longer question email:
- twitter: @russianspoonful (with hashtag #askNataliaW )
- YouTube:

The above ways of communication are not just for questions. Any kind of feedback is encouraged and appreciated!

Until next time. До встречи! In the meantime, in the words of a famous physicist Richard Feynman "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."

Крокодил - Корней Чуковский - Часть 3 / "The Crocodile" by Korney Chukovsky - part 3

Final Part 3 of Крокодил (The Crocodile) by Korney Chukovsky.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Крокодил - Корней Чуковский - Часть 2 / "The Crocodile" by Korney Chukovsky - part 2

Part 2 of Крокодил (The Crocodile) by Korney Chukovsky. Крокодил (часть 2) Корнея Чуковского. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Add your iTunes review for this podcast, please.

Enjoying the podcast? Got a minute? Plz, add your iTunes review for my podcast. Let's put it on the front page! More votes, more exposure, more content. Thank you in advance.

Click to add your vote/review

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Russian Vocabulary - Weather, Seasons, Pets

Learn some Russian words related to weather, seasons, and pets.

Twitter @russianspoonful

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lesson 27 - Russian Stress Patterns ( Accented Vs Unaccented Vowels)

Russian Stress Patterns ( Accented Vs Unaccented Vowels)

1. Greeting by a subscriber (Thank you, Emily) - Спасибо!

2. BIG thanks to all who show their support by:

- purchasing authentic Russian food at also via a banner

3. Lesson - Russian Stress Patterns ( Accented Vs Unaccented Vowels)

4. Contact

Twitter @russianspoonful

You can also leave a voicemail by dialing 209-980-RUSS (209-980-7877) and I will play your recording on the air and will try my best to answer.

p.s. I also appreciate your rating of the podcast in iTunes:)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Гой Ты, Русь - Сергей Есенин / Hey there, Russia

Subscribers spoke. Some of you mentioned you would enjoy listening to Russian spoken without thinking of grammar. I've been thinking of doing it for a while now. Auditory training is an integral part of any foreign language learning.

Thus, I created a dedicated playlist within my YouTube channel. I hope to fill it with masterful creations of Russian poets. 

Question: would any of the parents of young kids out there be interested in Russian fairy tale/poetry/short stories recorded by 'yours truly'? 

Finally, I am not ashamed of the audio quality. Just received my RODE Podcaster mic back from repair!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother-Daughter Duet (Опять Метель)

Just to change the pace a little, my daughter Emily and I are trying our hand at covering one of the most popular contemporary Russian songs originally performed by Alla Pugacheva and her daughter Kristina. Those two don't need introduction.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Lesson 26 - Consonants [p][b] and [n][t][d]

Lesson on bilabial stop consonants [p] [b] and dental consonants [n] [t] [d]

1. Greeting by a subscriber (Thank you, Jeanette, and Happy Birthday!) - Спасибо! С днём рождения!

2. Recommendation of recording apps

- Voice Record Pro (for iOS)
- Hi-Q mp3 Voice Recorder (for Android)

Another way - Google voice 209-980-RUSS (209-980-7877)

BIG thanks to all who show their support by:

- purchasing authentic Russian food at also via a banner

3. Lesson - bilabial stop consonants [p] [b] and dental consonants [n] [t] [d]

Twitter @russianspoonful

You can also leave a voicemail by dialing 209-980-RUSS (209-980-7877) and I will play your recording on the air and will try my best to answer

p.s. my apologies again for the sub-par sound. IPad's mic produces uneven sound even with a slight deviation from it. Can't wait till I get a Mac!

p.p.s. I also appreciate your rating of the podcast in iTunes:)

To all my Russian friends: "С Днём Победы!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lesson 25 - Russian Accented Vowels

Russian accented vowels sound much richer and fuller than their English equivalents. That is because Russian is spoken much more vigorously than is English - there is greater muscular tension throughout the organs used in speech production.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lesson 24 - Russian Sound System. Introduction

Ученье свет, а неученье тьма
(Knowledge is light, ignorance is darkness)

Век живи - век учись
(Live and learn)

And the last one is quoted around our house quite often:)

Повторенье - мать ученья
(Repetition is the Mother of learning)

I thought I would start talking about the Russian sound system. Since I want to be true to the podcast's format and keep it short'n'sweet and to the point ... It will take us several lessons. 

Some of the items used for pronunciation practice will be isolated syllables or words whose meaning is of no immediate relevance, while others will be complete sentences that you will be able to add to your Russian phrase book and practice it as often as you'd like. You should not concern yourself with the grammatical forms of the sentences used at this point. You should simply learn them in the form given to you, striving to imitate your teacher as closely as possible. You must always keep in mind the importance of the spoken models presented.  While descriptions, transcriptions, and diagrams maybe of some help, you should rely mainly on the spoken model in your attempts to approximate the sound patterns in Russian. Remember always that at the early stage of instruction it is the sounds of the language that are our primary concern, not the written forms, which are a secondary and imperfect system of representing speech. While Russian spelling is more regular than that of English, there are places where it does not represent the sound system accurately. Strive always for good pronunciation, and don't let the written forms mislead you!

Next time we are going to talk about the Russian Accented Vowels, but for now I will leave you with a few phrases you should just listen to without trying to repeat. Listen to them as many times as you'd  like to. 

Это дом. 
Это он. 
Он там. 
Это мама. 
Это она. 
Это папа. 
Это он. 
Это Анна. 
Она тут. 
Это Антон. 
Он там. 
Мама дома. 
Она дома. 
А папа там. 
Анна тут. 
А Антон там. 

Song in Russian - (Дорогой Длинною, performed by Nani Bregvadze).

Ехали на тройке с бубенцами, 
А вдали мелькали огоньки... 
Эх, когда бы мне теперь за вами, 
Душу бы развеять от тоски! 

Дорогой длинною, погодой лунною, 
Да с песней той, что в даль летит звеня, 
Да со старинною, да с семиструнною, 
Что по ночам так мучила меня. 

Да, выходит, пели мы задаром, 
Понапрасну ночь за ночью жгли. 
если мы покончили со старым, 
Так и ночи эти отошли! 

В даль родную новыми путями 
Нам отныне ехать суждено! 
...ехали на тройке с бубенцами, 
Да теперь проехали давно!
You rode on a troika with sleigh bells, 
And in the distance lights flickered.. 
If only I could follow you now 
I would dispel the grief in my soul! 

By the long road, in the moon light, 
And with this song that flies off, ringing, 
And with this ancient, this ancient seven-string, 
That has so tormented me by night. 

But it turns out our song was futile, 
In vain we burned night in and night out. 
If we have finished with the old, 
Then those nights have also left us! 

Out into our native land, and by new paths, 
We have been fated to go now! 
...You rode on a troika with sleigh bells, 
[But] you've long since passed by!
ekhali na troyke s bubentsami, 
A vdali mel'kali ogon'ki... 
Ekh, kogda by mne teper' za vami, 
Dushu by razveyat' ot toski! 

Dorogoy dlinnoyu, pogodoy lunnoyu, 
Da s pesney toy, chto v dal' letit zvenya, 
Da so starinnoyu, da s semistrunnoyu, 
Chto po nocham tak muchila menya. 

Da, vykhodit, peli my zadarom, 
Ponaprasnu noch' za noch'yu zhgli. 
esli my pokonchili so starym, 
Tak i nochi eti otoshli! 

V dal' rodnuyu novymi putyami 
Nam otnyne ekhat' suzhdeno! 
...ekhali na troyke s bubentsami, 
Da teper' proekhali davno!

Closing word, reminders, etc.

I love hearing my subscribers speak Russian. I encourage all who are listening right now to record yourself saying Привет, Наталия or Здравствуйте, Наталия. I would love to open up my next podcast with your greeting! 

Twitter @russianspoonful

You can also leave a voicemail by dialing 209-980-RUSS (209-980-7877) and I will play your recording on the air and will try my best to answer.

#1 Fan, here is the answer to your question: 

"I love my wife" in Russian is "Я люблю свою жену"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spoonful of Russian is now LIVE on Twitter and YouTube!

Follow me on Twitter @russianspoonful now and get your Russian language related questions answered. Ever wonder how to pronounce words in Russian? Just ask me and I'll upload an audio file just for you.

I wondered how to satisfy people's inquiries and fit it into my schedule. Looks like Twitter is the perfect medium for that. So, go head and click  @russianspoonful

I just created my YouTube channel, but I have many ideas how to make it awesome!

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Russian Cursive files are now compatible with iPhone!


Refresh your browsers

also, you may need to 'unsubscribe' and 're-subscribe' to the podcast for the changes to take effect. Feedburner might need a few hours to refresh their data as well.....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Announcement: by popular demand popular demand of many of the subscribers I am now offering one-on-one video/audio chat for the purpose of going in depth of my podcast's lessons.

This would be a perfect way to solidify all you've learned, practice your pronunciation, and ask questions.

All you need is a computer, broadband internet connection, and an iChat, AIM, or Skype screen name. Google video chat is also an option.

Along with this I am still offering translation services (letters, docs, etc).

Please, email me for more info.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lesson 23 - Nouns and Gender

Today we'll talk about nouns and genders. Keep in mind that we are going to look only at singular nouns in nominative case (more on the 6 noun cases later).

As you know, a noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, event or idea. All Russian nouns are divided into 3 genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. It's important to know the gender of a noun, since it needs to agree with other parts of speech. Let me give you an example: красивая девушка (a pretty girl) is correct, while красивый девушка is not. Ending -ый of the adjective красивый denotes masculine gender.

Learning gender rules is not an easy process. Many times you will be able to determine the gender of a noun simply by using your biology knowledge. Ex.: мальчик (masculine), девочка (feminine), etc. But most of the time noun gender is random and unchangeable. Gender rules MUST be memorized. However, the secret is simple: the ending of a noun determines its gender. After learning a few rules you'll be able to instantly recognize whether nouns are masculine, feminine or neuter.

Here's a Russian Noun Genders table for your convenience.(Click the table for an enlarged view)


*Every Russian noun has a gender (masculine, feminine or neuter)
*Every adjective or verb must agree with the gender of a Russian noun (and pronoun)
*Most masculine nouns end in a consonant, as well as -ь or -й
*Feminine nouns usually end in -а, as well as -я, -ия, and -ь
*Most neuter nouns end in -о or -е, but can also take endings like -ие, and -[м]я
*A handful of Russian nouns appear to be feminine by their endings, are in fact masculine. Commit them to memory!


It's been a while since I added a Russian song to my podcast. So many of you requested this feature back! I promise to add one when I get a chance to obtain license-free Russian music. May 9th is the Victory Day in Russia. (День Победы). To mark this day I am including a well-known song from the Soviet era called «В землянке» - "In the Dugout" performed by Михаил Гулько.

Here are the lyrics of the song and its translation.

В землянке
Музыка: К.Листов Слова: А.Сурков

Бьется в тесной печурке огонь,
На поленьях смола, как слеза.
И поет мне в землянке гармонь
Про улыбку твою и глаза.

Про тебя мне шептали кусты
В белоснежных полях под Москвой.
Я хочу, чтобы слышала ты,
Как тоскует мой голос живой.

Ты сейчас далеко, далеко,
Между нами снега и снега.
До тебя мне дойти не легко,
А до смерти - четыре шага.

Пой, гармоника, вьюге назло,
Заплутавшее счастье зови.
Мне в холодной землянке тепло
От моей негасимой любви.

В землянке
in English:

The fire beats in the tiny hearth,
Resin shines on the wood like a tear,
An accordion sings about love,
And your eyes and your smile reappear.

The trees have whispered of you to me,
In the snow-white plains of Moscow,
Oh, my love, if it only could be,
If you heard me here singing alone.

You are far, far away at this hour.
Snows between us and winter's hard breath.
To rejoin you is not in my power,
Though just four steps divide me from death.

Sing, accordion, mocking the storm,
Call back joy, drive off sorrow and doubt.
In the cold of the dogout I 'm warm
For the fire of our love won't go out.


In closing, I'd like to thank Bethany for her lovely greeting that I started today's lesson with. To the rest of my listeners: you are welcome to send in your greetings in Russian. Don't forget to visit for some lagniappe* (11 years in New Orleans have taken their toll:) . Send all your questions and comments to

До свидания и всего хорошего, друзья!

* (Lagniappe derives from New World Spanish la ñapa, “the gift,” and ultimately from Quechua yapay, “to give more.” The word came into the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans and there acquired a French spelling. It is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean “an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.”)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lesson 22 - Russian Cursive (Letters "Ш,Щ,ь,ъ,Ы,Э,Ю,Я")

'Привет', my old friends, and 'Здравствуйте', my new listeners! Welcome to Lesson 22 of 'A Spoonful of Russian with Natalia'. I am Natalia, your host and instructor. And today we are going to finish the Russian Cursive Letters series.

But before we start, I want to thank again all those of you who support this podcast by first of all, keeping subscribed, also by purchasing Rosetta Stone's software through the link on my site (that really helps), and via PayPal donations. There's another and rather fun way of supporting the show - by getting a little souvenir from my Cafepress. com store. Did you know that they have "A Spoonful of Russian" stamp now? And "A Spoonful of Russian" license plate? Since I enjoy cooking, my favorite is the apron. And what pet can live without "A Spoonful of Russian" T-shirt? The store's ID is speakrussian.

Oh, and a special THANK YOU goes to Norman, who surprised me with a new RODE PodCaster microphone. The sound quality has gone up since I started using it. Thanks, Norman, if you are listening:)

Now , for the lesson! Давайте начнём!