Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Yulia Scripal's statement in full.

Reuter's video of Yulia Scripal's statement on 23 May 2018 —

Monday, April 02, 2018

Andrei Rublev reads Paul's message to the Corinthians.

(Easter message)

I thought I'd known 'Andrei Rublev', the great film by Andrei Tarkovsky, by heart. 

It's only this Easter, fifty years after I'd first seen the film, did I realise that Andrei's famous monologue about the essence of love is, in fact, an equally famous passage from the Bible, Chapter 13 from Paul's first message to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13 on Wikipedia). 

Atheistic upbringing! How much it removes! 

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; 
but the greatest of these is love.

Here is the text as it appears in the King James Bible (from Gutenberg), where love is equal to charity: 

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not;
           charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not
           easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things,
           endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a
           child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put
           away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
           now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the
           greatest of these is charity.

(Russian text below the video)

Из Библии, Первое послание Павла коринфянам, глава 13 (1 Кор, 13, источник или здесь) —

Если я говорю языками человеческими и ангельскими, а любви не имею, то я — медь звенящая или кимвал звучащий. 

Если имею [дар] пророчества, и знаю все тайны, и имею всякое познание и всю веру, так что [могу] и горы переставлять, а не имею любви, — то я ничто. 

И если я раздам все имение мое и отдам тело мое на сожжение, а любви не имею, нет мне в том никакой пользы. 

Любовь долготерпит, милосердствует, любовь не завидует, любовь не превозносится, не гордится, 

не бесчинствует, не ищет своего, не раздражается, не мыслит зла, не радуется неправде, а сорадуется истине; 

все покрывает, всему верит, всего надеется, все переносит. 

Любовь никогда не перестает, хотя и пророчества прекратятся, и языки умолкнут, и знание упразднится. 

Ибо мы отчасти знаем, и отчасти пророчествуем; 

когда же настанет совершенное, тогда то, что отчасти, прекратится. 

Когда я был младенцем, то по-младенчески говорил, по-младенчески мыслил, по-младенчески рассуждал; а как стал мужем, то оставил младенческое. 

Теперь мы видим как бы сквозь [тусклое] стекло, гадательно, тогда же лицем к лицу; теперь знаю я отчасти, а тогда познаю, подобно как я познан. 

А теперь пребывают сии три: вера, надежда, любовь; но любовь из них больше.
(A version of this post in Russian is here)


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Any Questions? No Questions! Вопросы есть? Вопросов нет!

(fine tuning your Russian)

Muireann Maguire posted this on her Facebook page

I was rather touched by this email between some of our second-year students on a Russian culture model, showing their determination to proceed with a seminar on the topic of "народ" [people] despite the strike (also showing a blissful innocence of the use of the genitive plural, but one can't have everything):

***Привет народ, [hi, people]
We'd like to ask everyone to still turn up to the seminar (BYOB) (preferably vodka) as Muireann may still be on strike at 09:30 on Tuesday for fun discussions on the readings attached about the народ and other related subjects. If you have any other interesting sources then please bring them along to discuss.
Есть вопросы?
Нет вопросы. До свидания 
X, Y, Z, and Putin***
(I've removed the students' names above, but I left their rather surprising celebrity guest, Putin; I suppose those Russian spybots get everywhere, even Exeter's VLE).

Thanks, Muireann!

There's more here than a slight confusion on the plural genitive. The famous phrase "Вопросы есть? Вопросов нет!" comes from "The White Sun of the Desert", a cult film of the 70-s. Ever since its release the phrase has been current in modern Russian.

So, people (народ), inverse your word order. Or else!

Here is the clip (full movie available on YouTube) -

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Roman Numerals for Months Avoid Ambiguity.

In most countries of the world the day-month-year date format is used. On various official forms it is represented as DD/MM/YY for double digit representation.

The US tradition of putting the month before the day sometimes is confusing, even to professionals. One translator cited an example of a colleague mistakenly translating 9/11 as the ninth of November!

I was teaching English students about days, dates, months and years in Russian and mentioned in passing that Roman numerals are traditionally used to represent months, i.e. American 9/11 (September the eleventh) would be IX/11 with Roman numerals for months, while in Russian/European format it would be 11/IX (the eleventh of September). Some were quite impressed (the group of adult professionals included Brits, Americans, Italians and Chinese) with how easy it makes to avoid confusion between American and non-American dates.

Arabic numerals are commonly used these days for months alongside Roman. When pronounced the month can also be referred to by its number, одиннадцатого девятого. Even though 9/11 is recognised in Russia for what it represents, the awkwardness of quickly switching from one format to the other is still preventing 9/11 from being widely used. Instead the phrase "attack on the Twin Towers" — "атака на Башни-близнецы" is used.

A map of date formats used in the world (graphic by Typhoon2013). Cyan for DD/MM, magenta for MM/DD —

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blade Runner 2049.

Milla Fedorova reviews Blade Runner 2049 for Tetradki. 

Milla Fedorova
Photo: Olga Meerson.
The new Blade Runner became a pleasant surprise for me. I am a fan of the original one and had some fears regarding the sequel made by a different director (Denis Villeneuve), but was not disappointed. Blade Runner 2049 does not posit itself as the original's clone; some ideas are pronounced much more directly where the original only hints, and the pace is different — it would have been unthinkable to have such an indulgently slow movie nowadays playing in the theatres — but their cells are interlinked, to use Nabokov’s quote from the new film.

However, it is still stylish, bleak, retro-fitted, and the famous rain sometimes turns into snow. It studies what it means to be human at different new levels, and deals with various forms of doubles and simulacra. The question you might have had after the first one — whether the replicants are made as adults and whether they are capable of having children is in the center of this one.

If the first Blade Runner movie (film, 1982, wikiwas centered around a Christ-like figure, and it was oriented towards accepting death as criterion of humanity (trampling death by death: Roy Batty transcends his replicant nature when he saves Deckard and accepts his own death), while in the center of the second one there is a Mary-like figure, and it is oriented towards birth (trampling impossibility of life by a miraculous birth).

The new definition of humanity — the replicants’ innermost desire — is "I was born, therefore I am a human." For replicants, the miracle is to be conceived and born in a natural way, it is the opposite of immaculate conception. However, this definition does not exhaust the question of who is human in the film: even the simulacra are able to demonstrate human qualities.

The mystery of who Deckard is, a human or a replicant, is still unsolved. Alas, the authors of both films did not consider Aristotle’s characteristic of humanity: none of the characters laughs.

The world is even more post-apocalyptic, demonstrating the effects of an ecological catastrophe, so there are even less people than before: it seems that the world is mostly populated by the replicants. The Russian presence in LA has become rather prominent: we hear police conversations on the radio in Russian, and the protein farm is ironically named “Целина”.*

The erotic scene where a hologram tries to fit the body of a real woman is a masterpiece, however, frightening: it is literally a dream of sleeping with one person, while imagining another.

The idea "to love someone sometimes means to be strangers" applied to the children-parents relations seems very problematic to me.

But in general — it is quite a gripping and beautiful film with several layers, including the references to Nabokov's Pale Fire.

Milla Fedorova is a Russian academic working at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Her Georgetown page is here.

• Целина, or Virgin Lands, refers to the vast area of undeveloped steppes between the Southern tip of the Urals and the Caspian sea that was targeted for rapid boosting of grain crops by Nikita Khruschev in the late 1950s. Nobel prize-winning Mikhail Sholokhov wrote an epic novel "Поднятая целина" ('Virgin Soil Upturned', wiki about the 1958 film) depicting the collectivisation of Russian individual farms at the end of 1920s - beginning of 1930s.  

Official trailer for the Blade Runner 2049 —

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Tapestry. John Lott.

John Lott.

The Tapestry is a new poem by John Lott, which didn't quite make it into his latest poetry volume 'Winter Beach' (2017, WebVivant Press). Perhaps, a 'Summer Beach' poetry is in the works and 'The Tapestry' will fit well in there. 

John's poems are written to be heard as well as read. In fact, he records and releases them on discs. 

From all points of the compass,
They come to the Plaza,
The hub and the heart of the city.
Here they meet, mix and mingle,
In a kaleidoscope of colour.
Pacing medieval, marble flagstones
Bearing the ghostly footprints of long-forgotten fashions. 
They are embraced by structures hallowed by history 
And architecture mellowed by time. 
Through the centuries, they have come
To see, to sell, to learn and to love
And the square has become a microcosm of the known universe.
Where the complexities of cultures, colours and creeds 
Combine as one.
In their wake, each draws a thread.
A thread coloured by their origin, their ethnicity
Their aspirations, needs and fears
And as their paths cross, so do their threads,
Creating a warp and a weft which weaves the tapestry
That we call

'The Winter Beach' by John Lott is available on major book selling sites and on the publisher's site WebVivant Press. John Lott's profile is also on WebVivant Press website.

Monday, September 11, 2017


(new Russian)

This strange abbreviation has been surfacing in Russian online discussions for some time now.

ППКС (peh-peh-kah-es or pehpex) simply means 'I sign under every word of it' — 'подписываюсь под каждым словом'. Alternatively, it may mean 'I totally agree with what is said' — 'полностью присоединяюсь к сказанному'.

As Lurkmore notes with their usual sarcasm, it is used mostly by people who haven't much to say but are itching to say something. Lurkmore, though not your usual dictionary or Wikipedia, should be recommended as a lively and usually reliable source on modern Russian idioms.

It's not clear how and when exactly the acronym appeared. It may be suggested that it was a side-effect of the popularity of the qualifying IMHO (in my humble opinion, ИМХО in Russian). Someone may have decided to invent an opposite, something short and assertive instead of the wobbly IMHO. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...