Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Changeling – Great movie and Learn English and Russian

Hi, just finished watching the movie, Changeling, with Angelina Jolie.  Great movie! And an amazing story. Pretty frightening the corruption that has and does exist.  And it emphasizes the need for individuals to have the courage and the strength to fight against it.

Here’s a look at the trailer and then I want to chat about many of the simple phrases I picked up from the Russian subtitles.

The entire first scene is fairly manageable for a beginner to intermediate learner.

Walter, honey. Уолтер, дорогой.
Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Just 10 more minutes. Ну еще 10 минуточек.
Oh, I’m sorry, sport. You can sleep in tomorrow. О.. Прости, малыш. Ты можешь отоспаться завтра.
That’s what Saturdays are for. Для этого и существуют субботы.
Up against the wall. Вставай к стене.
Come, come, come. Сюда, сюда, сюда.
All right. Хорошо.
Got it. Got it. Look, look! Вот.. Вот.. Смотри, смотри!
All right, sit down. Хорошо, садись.
Your breakfast is getting cold. Твой завтрак остывает.
It’s cereal. Это хлопья.
It’s supposed to be cold. Они должны быть холодными.

Straight away you can see why Russian speakers use the expression ‘stand up’, where we say ‘get up’.  And it gets used twice, so nice for comparison.

Movies are great for seeing how phrases are used and developing a better understanding of them.  For example:

It’s time…. = Пора…

Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Walter, it’s time to come in, honey. Уолтер, пора домой, милый.
But I think it’s time for you to move on and start over for yourself. Но я считаю, что вам пора двигаться дальше и начать жить для себя.
We should go, ma’am. Нам пора, мэм.

And movies are proof that we don’t speak English ‘properly’.

Here’s your books. Вот твои книги.

This is a very common ‘mistake’, so much so that in spoken language, I wouldn’t call it a mistake. It’s what people say, so it is the language, regardless of what the rules say.

Similarly, words at the beginning of a sentence are often dropped when speaking casually.

Well, what is he doing? Ну, что он делает?
Oh, my… Боже мо..
Everything all right? Все в порядке?

It’s ‘okay’ to drop words, or say “Where’s my keys?”, when you’re simply speaking quickly and being lazy, or ’rounding the corners’.  Of course it should be “Is everything all right?”, and it is there, sort of, in thought.

And notice that he says: what is he doing, and not “what’s he doing?”. There is a difference.  It’s a difference of emphasis and it will come naturally over time if you’re learning English (and have good examples to follow!).

A lot of the movie is way too difficult for me and other beginners, but sections of it are great, and are just a bit above my ability. With a little help with some of the vocab and having both languages side by side, I can manage to understand it all.

Hey, sport. Привет, малыш.
Hey, Mom. Привет, мам.
How was school? Как в школе?
Okay. Хорошо.
Yeah? Да?
We learned about dinosaurs. Мы проходили динозавров.
And I got in a fight with Billy Mankowski. И я подрался с Билли Манковски.
What happened? Что произошло?
He hit me. Он ударил меня.
Did you hit him back? Ты ударил его в ответ?
(he nods yes)
Good. Молодец.
Rule number one, remember? Правило номер один, помнишь?
Never start a fight, always finish it. Никогда не начинай драку, всегда заканчивай ее.
Why’d he hit you? Почему он тебя ударил?
Because I hit him. Потому что я ударил его.
You hit him first? Ты ударил его первым?
Why? Почему?
He said my dad ran off because he didn’t like me. Он сказал, что папа сбежал, потому что не любил меня.
Honey, your father never met you, so how could he not like you? Дорогой, твой отец никогда тебя не видел. Так как он может не любить тебя?
Then why did he leave? Тогда почему он ушел?
Well, because the day you were born, something else arrived in the mail. Ну, потому что в день, когда ты родился, кое-что другое прибыло по почте.
And it was in a box a little bit bigger than you. И это была коробка, чуть большая, чем ты.
You know what was in it? Знаешь, что там было?
Something called responsibility. Кое что, под названием ответственность.
And to some people, responsibility is the scariest thing in the world. А для некоторых людей ответственность – самая страшная вещь в мире.
So, he ran away because he was scared of what was in that box? Значит, он сбежал, потому что боялся того, что было в той коробке?
Uh-huh. ..
That’s just dumb. Это просто глупо.
That’s exactly what I thought. Это в точности мое мнение.

Short phone calls, and even one sided phone calls for really simple expressions, are also great for learning.

Hello? This is Margaret. Алло? Это Маргарет.
Hi, Margaret. Привет, Маргарет.
So, how are you? Ну, как у тебя дела?
Fine. Хорошо.
Listen, Jean can’t come in today and now we’re a little shorthanded. Слушай, Джин не может сегодня прийти и нам сейчас немного не хватает людей.
When did she call in sick? Когда она позвонила, что заболела?
About half hour ago. Где-то с полчаса назад.
I’m having a hard time trying to find someone. У меня возникли трудности в поиске замены.
Well, what about Myrna? Хорошо, как насчет Мирны?
I know she could use the extra hours and… Я знаю, она могла бы использовать дополнительные часы и…
She’s busy. Can’t you come? Она занята. Может ты придешь?
No. No, no, no. I just… Нет. Нет, нет, нет. Я просто…
I promised Walter that I’d take him to the movies, is all, and… Я обещала Уолтеру, что мы пойдем в кино, и…
Well, it’s just until 4:00. Ну, это только до четырех.
All right. Ладно.
Just… Just until 4:00. Но… Только до четырех.
I’ll see you then. Увидимся там.

I’ll do a more complete summary of expressions from the movie soon and put them on our website, complete with audio, so come visit us there: Learn Russian

And if you have questions or comments, please, I’ll answer the English questions and perhaps others can help with the questions about Russian.

Пока!

Walter, honey. Уолтер, дорогой.
Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Just 10 more minutes. Ну еще 10 минуточек.
Oh, I’m sorry, sport. You can sleep in tomorrow. О.. Прости, малыш. Ты можешь отоспаться завтра.
That’s what Saturdays are for. Для этого и существуют субботы.
Up against the wall. Вставай к стене.
Come, come, come. Сюда, сюда, сюда.
All right. Хорошо.
Got it. Got it. Look, look! Вот.. Вот.. Смотри, смотри!
All right, sit down. Хорошо, садись.
Your breakfast is getting cold. Твой завтрак остывает.
It’s cereal. Это хлопья.
It’s supposed to be cold. Они должны быть холодными.
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English for Russian Speakers – Students and Teachers

I’ve been wondering how to start this for quite some time, and after reading an old message from a friend, it seems as good a place as any.

“I’m currently teaching English  little children. In the morning I teach at the university and in the evenings I work with 5-6-7 year olders! That’s so interesting and they are so cutie!!!!! I enjoy it so much!!!! They try to kiss  me, to hug me, to treat me with a candy and so on…. Иногда, я действительно думаю, что рождена быть учителем!
P.S. teaching is not a profession, that’s a passion”

She’s absolutely right, and what I’d really, really like to do, is to help her and others who have a passion for learning and teaching English.  I want to show you a new way to learn and teach English, or any language, and I want to help teachers become better teachers.  First, let’s correct her English. 🙂

I’m currently teaching English to little children. In the morning I teach at the university and in the evenings I work with 5-6-7 year olds! It’s so interesting and they are so cute!!!!! I enjoy it so much!!!! They try to kiss  me, and hug me, and treat me with a candy and so on….  P.S. teaching is not a profession, it’s a passion.

Hmmm… not so good when the teacher makes so many mistakes.  Of course it’s not her fault, her English is likely much better than her teachers, but perhaps there’s a way to help her and all other teachers fix their own English, so they can then teach others correctly.

And not just teachers, but parents teaching their kids, and others teaching their nieces and nephews, or younger brothers and sisters.

While helping all of you learn English, I will be learning Russian, and hopefully you will help me with that by providing corrections and such in your comments.

So from her comment:  Иногда, я действительно думаю, что рождена быть учителем!

Google translates it as:  Sometimes, I really think that is born to be a teacher!

Now, the most important point is always the idea.  What idea is being expressed? Probably she means, “Sometimes, I really think that people are born to be teachers!”  or  “Sometimes, I really think that one is born to be a teacher!

So how would I say in Russian: “Sometimes, I really think that I/she/he was born to be a teacher!”

Иногда, я действительно думаю, что он был рожден учителем!  Correct?

A ‘simple’ aspect of English which needs to be ‘internalized’ is when to use ‘that/this’ and ‘it’.  As you saw above, that mistake was made several times.  It’s very simple: this/that ‘point’ to something, something is being identified.  Once it’s known what is being discussed, then ‘it’ is used from then on.

This takes a while for kids to grasp, but you can do the following to build the foundation.  With pictures, ask the following:  What’s this?  (It’s a ….)  What colour is it?  (It’s ….)  And then change it around: What colour is this?  (It’s ….) What is it?  (It’s a ….)

Very simple, right?  For kids, it’s not so clear and obvious, but with practice and consistent and correct examples from their teacher, they will internalize the rule and never make the mistake.  For adults, it helps to clarify the concept, and then, with practice, and seeing mistakes pointed out, they’ll also be able to internalize the concept and stop making the mistake.

The word ‘to’ is a tricky word in English, since there’s no consistent rule as to when it appears after the verb.  Yet, for particular verbs, it’s totally consistent, and when you learn with the new method that we’re developing, you’ll again, never make the mistake.

….. listening to ….  Always with to.  (I’m listening to the radio.)  (I’m watching TV.)

The mistake above was a different case where the ‘to’ is connected to the noun. Again, with practice and a good method, such basic mistakes are avoided.

Often there are 2 ways of saying something, and people combine half of each.  For example:  Where are you come from?  (Откуда Вы?).  The correct way is: Where are you from? or Where do you come from?  Again, these fundamental concepts need to be internalized completely, and it’s not really that hard to do.

I work with 5-6-7 year olders.  Again, 2 choices:  I work with 5-6-7 year olds.  or  I work with 5-6-7 year old kids.

How old are you?  I’m 5.  /  I’m 5 years old.  You can’t say “I’m 5 years.”

A lot of people know the grammar but because it was never internalized, and they’re still thinking in Russian, then it often comes out wrong.

A great example of ‘Russian English’ is “I go in for sports.”  I don’t know the Russian expression that it comes from, but in English we’d simply say, “I like sports.”  And many English speakers trying to express that idea in Russian would similarly come out with an ‘English Russian’ expression. 🙂

And a final point from my friend’s message:  They are so cutie!  X    …you have to say: They are so cute.  or  They are such cuties.  Similarly, you could say to a child:  You’re so cute. / You’re such a cutie.

Movies are great for getting good little expressions that are common in real life.  The other day I was watching the video, И все-таки я люблю…, and after putting on Vera’s lipstick she says:  Вот так сделай.  The English subtitle was completely wrong:  That’s do it.

Such expressions are great because they’re very, very useful and common.  In English we’d always say:  Go like this.  ; )

So, I’ve finally gotten this started!  Hope you find it useful, and I look forward to sharing more with you.  And hearing from you!!  Please leave your comments below, and for more material, please check out or website for learning Russian, there’s lots of material there for Russian speakers learning English.