Why is PANCAKE one of the most important words in Russian?
- Posted by: Enjoy Russian
- Category: Russian learning materials
БЛИН – the meaning and when to use
When you come to a new country without any awareness of the language spoken there you can still catch some common phrases and distinguish them out of conversations. Imagine your first day in Russia. What do you hear? Of course some greetings like PRIVET or ZDRAST-VUI-T’E (zdraVstvuite in writing), different interrogative pronouns like SHTO? (what) GDE? (where). But there is also one common word that can be is used in almost every situation. BLIN!
Pancakes all over Russia. Why a quiddity?
Because there are at least two meanings for the word BLIN. It’s rather a pancake or exclamation to express a negative attitude about something, like the word DAMN. For example, we can say:
- Вчера у бабушки были очень вкусные блины – Yesterday my grandma’s pancakes were superb!
- Блин, я потерял мамину любимую книгу – Damn, I’ve lost mom’s favorite book.
- Я опоздал на поезд! Блин! – I missed the train. Damn it!
As you see, in Russian these two words are similar, but as they have different meanings we translate them into English in different ways.
Not as negative as it was
However over the course of time the meaning of the word slightly changed, it became more neutral than positive. DLitt Natalia Bogdanova explains: “Nowadays we can hear the word BLIN mostly at home, in shops and cafes but not in offices and educational institutions. If initially it had only a negative meaning, now the native speakers do not put up any emotions into it.”According to the statistics, this word is number one by a frequency of use in everyday conversations. Well, if we do not take into account swearing words:)
Russian БЛИН: say or not to say?
To sum up, word BLIN does not add any eloquence to your spoken Russian but you can use it to sound more like a native speaker.
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