Russian Language and Mentality
Idiomatic Use of Russian Verbs of Motion
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Russian Language and Mentality (part 2)

Our first part of Russian Language and Mentatily was about the Russian speech rules.

The Russian etiquette

For Russians, words (and smile) достаточно серьёзные вещи (are rather serious things), and they don’t waste them on формальности (formalities), этикет (etiquette) and вежливости (politeness). During the Soviet period, иерархия отношений (the hierarchical relations) where destroyed, so that nowadays Russian language is quite poor with polite expressions. So there will be no знаков галантности (signs of gallantry), no форм благодарности (forms of gratitude) no легкого разговора о пустяках (small talks about trifles in conversations).

A good conversation the Russian way

A good conversation это разговор “по душам” (is a “heart to heart” conversation), in opposition to “глупой” светской болтовни (a “stupid” small talk). For Russians, a conversation is a long, open exchange with a close friend which doesn’t need formalities, but only to be sincere and to come from the heart. Such talk can cover any subject: personal affairs, professional problems, politics, philosophy, but должен быть “умным” (should be “sensible”). “С умным разговориться – что меду напиться” (To have a sensible conversation is like to drink honey).

There are no taboos, but there are preferences in “высоких тем” (“lofty topics”): the meaning of life, the future of Russia, literature, politics. Note that since both interlocutors initially understand each other, the resources of the language are often omitted and the conversation can continue with the digression of lexical and syntactic rules.


Here’s the list of words with examples to help you understand the meaning more easily:

  • Простор (spaciousness)

С острым, точно лезвие, до дрожи сердечным чувством – поля, простор и русский лес, и родные доли с затерянными в них редкими огоньками (В. Крейд) From the sharp, precise blade to the hearty feeling of shiver, there are fields, spaciousness and Russian forest, and the native dale with rare sparkles lost in them. (V. Kreid)

  • Воля (will)

Если у нас есть национальная воля, то мы не должны ждать подачек от тех, кто забрал наши природные богатства. (С. Доренко) If we have a national will, then we would not have to wait alms of those who took away our natural resources. (S. Dorenko)

  • Приволье (freedom)

Как я грезил на волжском приволье Хоть разок прокатиться на гондоле (Г. Николаев) How I dreamed of the freedom of the Volga At least get a ride once more on a gondola (G. Nikolaev)

  • Уют (comfort)

Вообще, всё сделанное своими руками придаёт дому особый уют. (И. Архипова) In general, everything made from our own hands gives a special comfort to the house. (I. Arkhipova)

  • Подвиг (exploit)

Россия готова в очередной раз совершить подвиг – и выполнить в срок свои обязательства по уничтожению запасов химоружия. (Д. Литовкин) Russia is ready once again to accomplish an exploit, and to carry out in time its obligations to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons. (D. Litovkin)

  • Хохот (laughter)

Потому, когда Снегурочка растаяла, раздался дружный ребячий хохот (Е. Губайдуллина) That’s why when the Snow Maiden melted, resounded friendly childish laughter. (E. Gubaydullina)

  • Тоска (melancholy)

Среди них была «тоска смерти» – произносит Печорин в «Фаталисте». (В. Мильдон) Among them was the “melancholy death” – Pechorin says in “Fatalist”. (V. Mildon)