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Head for the Woods, Russians

Published: August 20, 2014 (Issue # 1825)


: dense, virgin forest

Ah, August. August is usually thescary month inRussia, themonth when bad things happen, themonth ofmourning, themonth when political history is remade bytanks or peat fires. But this year, things have been so scary andso awful forso long, what difference could one month make?

-- (sound ofspitting over my shoulder three times toward off bad luck).

Since scary things will happen no matter what, it is much better tospend themonth out ofthe city heat, taking long walks inthe woods.

TheRussian language is rich onthe subject offorests. Thegeneric word fora forest is , but there are plenty ofmore specific terms. Forexample, you might choose theword todescribe adense, virgin forest if you know what avirgin forest looks like, that is. Themost famous one is , where theU.S.S.R. was officially dissolved, usually simply transliterated as Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

Afew trees are called (grove, copse), andthe most famous kind inRussia is (birch grove). Astand ofpine trees is called (pine grove). InMoscow themost famous one is (literally, Silver Pine Grove).

Animpenetrable part ofthe forest is called (thicket), or (deep inthe forest): , (Through my binoculars I saw him come out ofthe thicket).

Andif its areally old forest that has miraculously been untouched bycivilization, it is (primeval or old-growth forest). This is also adescription ofsomeones unknowable soul, as expressed insaying ࠗ (literally, apersons soul is adeep forest).

Folks who know their forests might refer toeither (coniferous forest) or (deciduous forest). Forexample: , , , - (I dont mean that coniferous forests are worse, but aspen forests are lovely, too, when they seem tobe lit bypale green light). is black () fora reason all those leafy trees block thelight: , (When we went intothe broad-leafed forest, thetrain car went dark.)

Andfolks who can tell one tree fromanother might be very specific, if old-fashioned, when they talk about thewoods: (oak forest); (aspen forest); (elm forest); (linden forest); (fir forest); (cedar forest); (pine forest).

Not surprisingly, theforest figures inseveral common Russian expressions. Ҹ (a dark forest) is theEnglish speakers Its Greek tome something incomprehensible.

Andwhere there are forests, there are wolves. , (literally, if youre scared ofwolves, dont go intothe woods). Inother words, if you cant stand theheat, get out ofthe kitchen. , (literally, work isnt awolf that will run away inthe woods). That is tosay: Work isnt going anywhere (so have some fun). Andfinally: , (literally, no matter how much you feed awolf, he keeps looking atthe woods). Today this is usually abbreviated to toyearn forsomething better.

Like anice, dark, cool forest ona hot day.

Michele A. Berdy, aMoscow-based translator andinterpreter, is the author ofThe Russian Words Worth (Glas), acollection ofher columns.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at todays Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Womens Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the citys international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain. The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their Industrial St. Petersburg Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the Business With China forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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