Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Russian Update

I haven't really done a lot with my Russian lately, and I need to. I want to find out what happens in the last couple of chapters of Lukyanenko's Night Watch. I know the answer is "Anton will find the deck stacked against him again", but at least Lukyanenko makes that interesting. Still, Tanya Grotter got to win. *sigh*

In happier news, I do seem to be keeping my reading knowledge of Russian pretty satisfactorily. But I need to work on my verbs. They have Slavic roots, just like the nouns do, and all I have to do is learn the roots, really stomp in the grammar, and I'll be a lot better off. The problem is that this means actual study, as opposed to Maureen-reads-a-novel. But that's life in the big city.

What worries me is that I'm still going nowhere fast on writing and speaking Russian. Being able to read a novel isn't much help for practical stuff.

Changing the subject (as I so often do when faced with unpalatable truth, unless I'm harping on about it), folks might be interested to see what the Lord's Prayer (or at least the Russian Orthodox version thereof) looks like in Russian. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

???? ???, ????? ?? ???????!
?? ???????? ??? ????;
?? ??????? ???????? ????;
?? ????? ???? ???? ? ?? ?????, ??? ?? ????;
???? ??? ???????? ??????? ??? ?? ?????? ????;
? ?????? ??? ????? ????,
??? ? ?? ??????? ??????? ???????? ??????;
? ?? ????? ??? ? ?????????,
?? ?????? ??? ?? ????????.


Otche nash, sushchiy na nebesah!
da svyatitsya imya Tvoye;
da priidet Tsarstvie Tvoye;
da budet volya Tvoya i na zemle, kak na nebe;
khleb nash nasushchniy podavay nam na kazhdiy den';
i prosti nam grehi nashi,
ibo i mih proshchaem vsyakomu dolzhniku nashemu;
i ne vvedi nas v iskushenie,
no izbav' nas ot lukavovo.

There are several interesting things to notice here. First of all, you get the slightly archaic or poetic effect of reversing the normal word order; it's "???? ???" (Father our), not "??? ????". This may be some kind of holdover from Old Church Slavonic for all I know.

The second interesting bit is the repeated "da". In this kind of context, it's pretty much the same as saying "indeed" or "verily". "Indeed, hallowed is Thy name; indeed, Thy Kingdom comes; indeed, Thy will also will be on earth as in heaven." (The "i", and, means "also" in this context.)

Actually, I suppose you could translate "Tsartsvie" as something other than "Kingdom", given that a Tsar is supposedly more an emperor than a king. ("King" is "korol'".) But it just sounds so wrong to say, "Your Empire comes", doesn't it?

The next line gets weird. As far as I can tell, it means something like "Give us on each day our sustaining bread." But "????????" seems to mean something more like "the amount of bread we need so as not to starve" than "our recommended daily allowance of bread". I could be wrong about this, of course. I really don't know Russian all that well. But on the whole, it sounds a bit more desperate than "Give us this day our daily bread."

More later.


  • At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Imperiya is the term for empire. Tsarstvo definitely is the word for kingdom. There is a smaller unit of monarchical government available, of course: knyazhestvo, which is the realm of a single prince (knyaz'). This was common in old days (8th-15th centuries) before the tsars really got rolling.

    Nasushchnyy works for daily for me. I don't really see where you got the whole 'starvation' thing. You may want to acquire Dyachenko's dictionary of Church Slavonic if you really want to pursue the matter in depth. The dictionary is in Russian, so it is a learning experience in itself.

    I don't think there are a lot of Russian who actually pray the version of the Lord's Prayer you found. Most people use the Church Slavonic one.

  • At 11:39 AM, Blogger Banshee said…

    I just realized I forgot to say thanks! This was all good info for me.

    I did go out and get that Russian synonym dictionary the other day, so hopefully I will start getting these things down.


Post a Comment

<< Home