Thursday, September 3, 2009

Russian Around --A Few Russian Phrases That Show up in 13 to Life Bk. 2

Okay, most of you who follow my blog know that my books in the 13 to Life series revolve around a small town American girl who has recently lost her mother, a family of recent Russian immigrants and werewolves.

My love of Russian culture (and the language) goes back a while, but I figured I'd share a few words and phrases here that will pop up between the books. I will not (currently) post the words in Cyrillic (because I haven't gone to a Cyrillic keyboard yet and it probably wouldn't do many of us non-native Russian speakers much good to see it [though it is pretty--really pretty]). And although these are handy phrases, they aren't enough to meet people with (which is okay, because in 13 to Life the Rusakovas are beautifully bilingual and only drop into Russian occasionally because in Junction almost everyone else speaks mainly English).

We'll start simply:

Da = Yes
Nyet = No
Privyet = Hi
Strahsvoytcha = Hello
Prosteetcheh = Sorry
Horashow = Good
Spahseebuh = Thanks
Kak dayla? = What's going on? What's up? What's happening?
Vwee pohnehmytyuh menya? = Do you understand?
Da, ya pohnehmyoo. = Yes, I understand.
Nyet, ya ne pohnehmyoo. = No, I don't understand.

Then a fun one I had to include with my characters (it is a romance of sorts)...
Pocelujte menya. = Kiss me.

I purposefully kept the amount of Russian thin in the books so no one would get lost or feel out of place. But I feel (for a country built by immigrants) we too often forget the contributions and value brought to the United States by our immigrants. The Russian culture is an amazing one and unfortunately I think it's been overlooked here.


Sheila Deeth said...

I like the idea of a few simple phrases in another language. Too many and the reader gets lost, but this looks just right. Glad you included the last one.

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Had to include that last one with this series. ;-)

I agree, too many things that feel "foreign" to American readers can create a psychological distance between characters and readers (I've even set down some novels that were too heavily laced with a Scottish brogue--and I acted with folks for years who really had the brogue nailed).

It's a weird balance to try for--get the culture/background to feel unique but keep the connection... Guess my editor will tell me if it works for him, too. :-)

Novel Nymph said...

i would love to see your name in cyrillic. it is a lovely language and i am a russophile as well as a francophile and a tons of other philes!


Saoirse Redgrave said...

Novel Nymph,

I absolutely agree that the Russian language is a beautiful one. It has the flow of most romance languages and the purr and growl of certain bits of Germanic structures. Simply beautiful. :-)