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The Here, Now and Never

Published: February 26, 2014 (Issue # 1799)


: now, just, soon, never

Way back in Russian 101, I was enchanted by the words (now) and (now). How clever of Russians, I thought, to clarify so simply the distinction between right-this-moment now () and nowadays-at-present now ().

But or should that be ? Ive come to realize that these seemingly simple words have several meanings. They can refer to the past, present and future and have a new now-word friend. They are still enchanting but not so simple. is the nowadays now: (Currently, all apartments must have water meters). Its often used in then-and-now expressions: , (In the past, I loved to go on rides, but now Im afraid).

But its also used as a transition word to indicate a change of topic or task and might be translated as next. You often hear this in the lecture hall: (Now that weve solved the first problem, lets move on to the second). But you can also hear it around the house: (Next we add a little flour and mix it thoroughly).

is the right-this-moment now: (Im busy right now call me back in an hour). But time travels. It can refer to the future in the sense of very soon. ! (Ill be there in just a sec). Or it can refer to an action that just took place in the past. (He just stepped out).

In parental arguments with teenagers, means either right this instant or sometime next year:

Mom: ! (Clean your room!)

Teenager: ! (Im on it, meaning Ill get to it after I finish up on Facebook, try on my new jeans, eat dinner, walk the dog and spend three hours on the phone with my best friend.)

Mom: ! (Now! I mean it!)

And sometimes leaves the temporal dimension and enters the spatial realm to mean right next to: (The forest begins right behind the house).

And then theres a new now word . Okay, its not a new word but a transcription of the way is pronounced. For now it seems to have the same meaning of . (pronounced )? (What are you thinking about right now?)

? (Are you coming?)

(In a sec)

I often get as a one-word e-mail reply after sending in work. It means: Got it, give me a second to look it over.

My favorite slangy use of (or ) is delivered dead-pan and means: Not now, not ever. Say you are listening to your teenage daughter complain she has nothing to wear to a party on the weekend. Her solution? , (Give me your credit card and Ill go and buy a new dress). Your sarcastic response: (When pigs fly).

Your solution? (Now lets take a look at your clothes). Her response: . (In a minute.)

Translation from teenagerese: Like thats going to happen. Ill borrow something from my friend instead. A satisfying .

Michele A. Berdy, a Moscow-based translator and interpreter, is the author of The Russian Words Worth (Glas), a collection of her columns.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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