Tag Archives: русский язык

забаллотирована

 

 

Если же власть категорически примет ультиматум ‒ то и этот выход не устраняет, а только отсрочивает ее падение. Достаточно будет водвориться начаткам правового строя, появиться одной вольной газете, ослабеть террору… и на другой день власть будет забаллотирована или устранена небольшой группой заговорщиков, опирающихся на общее сочувствие народных масс. Такова трагическая дилемма, перед которой очутилась власть, дилемма, в обоих случаях сулящая ее падение. С той лишь разницей, что в первом случае мы пойдем к ее ликвидации путем, способным при достаточной гибкости власти растянуться на 4-6 лет, во втором ‒ «революционно-анархическим» путем. Только война или какая-нибудь мировая катавасия могут спасти ее…

If the government categorically accepts the ultimatum, then this withdrawal does not eliminate it, but only delays its fall. It will be enough to establish the rudiments of a legal system, to appear in one free newspaper, to weaken the terror… and the next day, the government will be voted out or eliminated by a small group of conspirators, relying on the general approval of the masses. Such is the tragic dilemma that the government faces, a dilemma that in both cases promises its downfall. The only difference is that in the first case, we will proceed to its elimination by a route that can, with sufficient flexibility on the part of the government, be prolonged for 4-6 years, in the second it will be “revolutionary-anarchic.” Only war or some kind of world disaster can save it …

— П. А. Сорокин, Современное состояние России (P. A. Sorokin, The Contemporary Condition of Russia), 1922

 

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I was working on this passage today as a co-translator of the above-named work; and I got to thinking what a rich language Russian is. It has continued since my college days to fascinate and challenge me.

 

… только отсрочивает ее падение

only delays its fall

отсрочивает (otsrochivayet) … delays

 

и на другой день власть будет забаллотирована ….

and the next day, the government will be voted out …,

забаллотирована (zaballotirovana) means “voted out” (as in voted out of office) … Russian makes such intricate, complex, often long, words German-style, with prefixes and endings adding complexity and specifying grammatical function and meaning.

 

… при достаточной гибкости власти растянуться на 4-6 лет

… with sufficient flexibility on the part of the government, be prolonged for 4-6 years

растянуться (rastyanut’sya) … be prolonged (passive/reflexive with perfective prefix)

 

And …

Россия ненавидит ее сейчас сильнее, чем старый режим в самые бесславные времена последнего. Да и за что любить ее какому бы то ни было классу! Исполнила ли она хотя бы одно из своих заманчивых обещаний?

Russia hates it [the government] now more than it did the old regime in the most inglorious times of the latter. And why should any class love it? Has it fulfilled at least one of its alluring promises?

заманчивых (zamanchivykh), alluring

 

Она дала вексель на постройку нового идеального общества. Вместо этого в крови и пожаре построила душную казарму, нищую, разбойничью, деспотическую, в которой население задыхалось и вы ушную мирало.

It gave a promissory note for the construction of a new ideal society. Instead, in blood and fire, it built a suffocating barracks, impoverished, thievish, despotic, in which the population suffocated and died out.

разбойничью (razboynich’yu), thievish

задыхалось (zadykhalos’), suffocated (literally, gasped); perfective passive verb

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2021

Подушка какая Мягкая.

 

 

Подушка какая Мягкая.

Podushka kakaya Myagkaya.

What a soft pillow.

 

Russian is such a beautiful language euphonically, as Professor John E. Malmstad pointed out in an introductory Russian course I took at Columbia University. (Professor Malmstad was co-translator of the symbolist novel Petersburg by Andrei Bely.)

I took both French and Spanish as a high school and college student. I studied both intensively.

It was fun to compare the two Romance languages, both similar in their origins and vocabulary while at the same time (as is always the case with languages) both unique; distinct. Like persons, you like and admire, each one, for the things that make them unique.

It seems to me that Spanish is closer to the original Latin than French. I took two years of Latin in high school. I found Spanish grammar easy to learn.

A notable feature of studying Spanish to me was that spelling is very regular and simple. There are hardly any exceptions. A consonant, for example is either doubled or it is not – doesn’t change for different words.

Which brings us (to quote James Joyce) by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Russian. Russian is very similar to Spanish with respect to pronunciation. Spelling is entirely regular.

And, a notable, major feature of both languages — connected or related to regularity of spelling — is that a given word and spelling dictate the pronunciation. There are no exceptions. Words in both Spanish and Russian are pronounced exactly as they are spelled.

Every language has its own sound, sonority, a unique cadence and rhythm which, once you begin to learn the language, is music to the ear. Now you can “hear” the language, which the untutored can’t.

The musicality of spoken Russian, including the simplest phrases, is undeniable.

 

— Roger W. Smith

   November 2018