Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Language Barrier, Part II

When we were walking away from Cookie Monter’s stall one time, I mentioned to Briullov that I loved practicing the genitive case there.

“What do you mean?” he said. (You are probably also saying this.)

But you mean different things. Your question first – you have to change the way the noun sounds when you’re saying “of X” instead of just X. (And not using it correctly sounds non-standard, much as it is non-standard English to say: “She am an independent woman” or “You makes the meatloaf now.”)

So I can say “I want an apple.” [Mne khochetsia iabloko] or “I want two apples” [Mne khochetsia dva iabloka] or “five apples” [piat’ iablok]. (This might have been a bad example; with numbers, like in French, you say Number word + “of X”).

Sluchai poluchenia Barackom Obama premii “Nobel Peace Prize” kazhetsia shutkoi mnozhestvu mira potomu, shto vozhd’ Ameriki uchastvuet v dvukh voinakh. I wrote that in the ridiculous literary style I talked about yesterday to give that many examples of genitive. And because it’s not as stuffy in Russian as it is in the translation [The occasion of the acceptance of the Nobel Peace prize by Barack Obama seems like a joke to the rest of the world because the leader of America is engaged in two wars.]

Briullov’s question, now: his version is more a “How so?”

“Because you can always throw whichever cookie you want into the genitive! Like today: I got dve pianoi vishni and vosem’ kartoshek.” [2 drunken cherries and 8 potatoes. Both pastries, not fruit/vegetables. And this I bought to last me a week, just so you don’t think I’m a pig.]

“Oh. I don’t do that, I say it like all the Russians do…”

Touché, Monsieur. Touché.

You see, kids, you can either go about the genitive the crazy person way that I do it to see if I can make myself understood and practice at the same time, or you can do it the real way, which goes like this: Mne, pozhaluista, dve shtuchki “Pianaya vishnia” i vosem’ shtuk “Kartoshka.” [ordering exactly what I got before.] Only this time the only thing put in the genitive is the word “thing.”

Boring. Let’s fight!

Continued in Part III tomorrow

2 comments:

Sasha said...

Fantasy Briullov is an arrogant jerk.

"I say it the way the Russians do."?!!

The only time I remember being that mean is when a certain Russian lady told me that little boys ALWAYS play with miniature soldiers while little girls play house. "No, that's wrong. I don't believe that."

STRICO!

Andrew said...

You interpreted a different tone on your own voice than I remembered.

Besides: "If that's what you think, why don't you just do it?" ahahaha