Archive for the Category: Russian


I came across the word ресторанчики (restoranchiki) in the Russian lesson I’m working on today. It is the plural of ресторанчики, a diminutive of ресторан (restaurant), which has no exact equivalent I can think of in English – maybe restaurantette. You could say a little restaurant and a tiny restaurant, but I’m not sure if […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 12 Comments

Tag questions, innit!

Tag questions or question tags are interrogative fragments (tags) added to statements making them into sort of questions. They tend to be used more in colloquial speech and informal writing than in formal writing, and can indicate politeness, emphasis, irony, confidence or lack of it, and uncertainty. Some are rhetorical and an answer is not […]

Also posted in English, French, German, Grammar, Irish, Italian, Language, Manx, Polish, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh 15 Comments

New video

Here’s the script for a new video I’m making in Russian. I got the Russian from my textbooks and phrase books and from Google Translate, so there may be some errors. If you speak Russian could you check it and let me know anything that needs correcting? Большое спасибо! Здравствуйте. Hello Здравствуйте. Как дела? Hello. […]

Also posted in English, Language 6 Comments


Штурмовщина (Šturmovščina / Shturmovshchina) is a useful Russian word I came across in Mark Forsyth’s The Horologicon – A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Word of the English Language, which I got for Christmas. It means last-minute rush and refers to the practice of working frantically to fulfill production targets in factories at the end […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 2 Comments


Happy New Year to you all! If you make New Year’s resolutions, have you resolved to learn a new language or to learn more of language? I don’t really make resolutions, but plan to continue my studies of Breton and Russian this year. I don’t know how long it will take me to get to […]

Also posted in Breton, Language 9 Comments

Русский & français

Last Saturday at my brother’s wedding I had plenty of opportunities to use my Russian – my brother’s wife is Russian, and while she speaks very good English, few of her family speak any, so I did my best to speak with them in Russian. I was able to have some basic conversations, with help […]

Also posted in French, Language, Language learning 1 Comment

My language studies

This week I decided to start learning Russian and Breton again. I’ve learnt bits and pieces of them before but haven’t managed to get back into the habit of studying any language regularly for quite a while. I keep on making plans, and then due to inertia, laziness and procrastination don’t implement them. So I […]

Also posted in Breton, Language, Language learning 6 Comments

Best languages to study

According to an article I came across in the Daily Telegraph today, the best / most useful languages to study, for those in the UK, are: 1. German 2. French 3. Spanish 4. Mandarin 5. Polish 6. Arabic 7. Cantonese 8. Russian 9. Japanese 10. Portuguese The reasons why each language is useful vary quite […]

Also posted in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish 6 Comments


The other day I saw a play based on Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange, which was linguistically interesting. When I read the book many years ago I was able to guess the meanings of most of the Nadsat words from the context – Nadsat is the form of speech used by some characters in […]

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Cleaning up Russian

According to an article I found today, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science plans to ‘clean up’ Russian by removing foreign loanwords and replacing them with native words. They plan to revise dictionaries, school textbooks, and to set up a website to explain the changes. The website will give Russian speakers a chance to […]

Also posted in Language 6 Comments