I had always though that Russian was an okay language, in terms of ease. I started dishing a bit of side eye after learning case formation with numbers, (1 of something = nominative singular, 2-4 of something = genitive singular, 5-0 or 11-20 of something = genitive plural, and some things, like potatoes, are “uncountable”). But it’s the motion verbs that had me consider quitting.
You don’t need to know anything about languages to appreciate this clusterfuck*.
There are four verbs used to express motion: Ходить Идти Ездить Ехать
- Ходить Идти mean to go by foot
- Ездить Ехать mean to go by transport
- You generally go “by foot” whenever you refer to going somewhere in the city (without defining a mode of transport), even if you used transport.
- Regularly scheduled trains and buses go “by foot”
- Irregularly scheduled transportation goes by the “transportation” verbs
- Rain and snow go “by foot”
- Идти and Ехать indicate one direction
- Ходить and Ездить indicate that going somewhere and coming back
- The “one direction” verbs are used to state motion at a specific time or duration of time
- Present tense is used to express a future plan to go somewhere
- Идти and Ехать are used to express plans to go somewhere
- Unless they are uncertain plans, then a different (future perfective) form of those verbs is used
- If someone just left, perfective forms are also used
- Anything done with frequency uses Ходить and Ездить
- If you “love” to go somewhere, it implies frequency
- Even if someone never goes somewhere, the frequency verbs are still used, because “never” is a type of frequency
- The word for “now” (indication a specific time) can also mean “nowadays” (indicating frequency). The only way to tell the difference is context
- Swearing at someone to “go to X” requires using Идти
This snow walked
Asides (aka things I’ve Tweeted)
There is a formal and an informal word for potatoes
There is no word for “gravy” in Russian. Everything is “sauce.” The most successful definition I’ve found for Russian native speakers is “meat juice.” This came up when my Russian teacher asked me to write out a recipe for a Canadian food and of course I chose poutine because what else do we have?
Seven months of lessons and I can talk at people very nicely about the food I’d like to eat.
*May very well contain some mistakes.