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A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

Published: February 12, 2014 (Issue # 1797)


: buy some cheese

Well pause inour round-the-clock coverage of the Olympic Games fora small commercial break. That means you get off thecouch, stretch andhead forthe kitchen. ? (What do you want?), you ask your significant other. ? ? ? (Some tea? Some cognac? Some chocolate?)

How charming tooffer toget your companion something toeat. How clever ofyou touse thepartitive case.

Thewhat?

Also by this author: A Trip Down Soviet Culinary Lane

Youll be forgiven if you missed this inyour Russian language lessons. Called inRussian (the genitive partitive case), it is anifty way ofindicating some or part ofsomething. With most nouns it is just thestandard genitive case endings andmeans some, alittle, part ofwhatever is being discussed. Forexample, ateenager heading tothe mall tobuy apair ofglasses might approach aparent with ahand extended andthe phrase: ! (Give me some money tobuy glasses). That is thepartitive case. But if said teenager has already ordered theglasses andknows theexact price, therequest would be: (give me themoney forthe glasses).

Also by this author: Words of the Year 2013

This might be one ofthose arcane bits ofRussian grammar that you file away andfigure no one will notice if you get it wrong. That is fine. Except fora list ofabout ahundred Russian words all masculine gender that have aspecial partitive ending: - or inthe singular. Recognizing them is important. Using them makes you sound less like you just got off theboat clutching your Russian-English dictionary. The-/- partitive forms are alittle like Dr. Whos bowties: alittle old-fashioned, alittle dorky, but cool.

Besides, you probably hear or use these forms every day inthe kitchen: (some tea); (some chocolate); (some cheese); (some sugar); (some soup); (some garlic); and (some fat, grease). Or you might use them when you are knocking back some cold ones: (a little cognac); (a bit ofmoonshine); (some grain alcohol).

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Jan. 30 through Wednesday, Feb. 4



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of Repulsion at 7 p.m. and Rosemarys Baby at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy The Tenant, the cult comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers and Cul-de-sac among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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