Russian Club Take #2 (2nd Semester)

Russian Club is continuing on much like as it did first semester with weekly conversation hours on Wednesday evenings either at Gray Owl or in Kaufman Hall. This past week, the weather allowed us to have our first meeting outside on the back patio of the Gray Owl. One of the Russian professors from OU, Rachik, brought his dog, Tigger, who roamed the patio for much of our conversation. Despite being an old dog, she was extremely eager to explore and meet new people.

Over the course of the hour, we discussed a variety of subjects, among them colors, the Russian names for the different cases and where they came from, and the pom-poms on the shoes of the Greek national guard.

Another one of the club goers, Mason, asked Rachik about the difference between light blue and dark blue. Russian has specific words to refer to each (light blue — синий; dark blue — голубой). Mason had heard that then in Russian, dark blue and light blue are as distinct as red and pink are for us. They’re practically different colors. Rachik explained that this wasn’t quite the case, but they do refer to these different blues by their specific names and do not call them ‘blue’ in general.

Rachik also explained to us the names for the different cases have their roots in Russian the same way that they received them in English. What we call the Accusative case comes from the word ‘accuse.’ Винительный падеж then comes from the verb винить, ‘to accuse.’ Much in the same way, the Nominative case is called именительный падеж because it ‘names’ something, calling it by it’s имя.

As a linguistics freshman, I found this to be very intriguing. Word formation — morphology — takes different forms in different languages, so for this process to be so similar to English caught me by surprise. At the moment, I always refer to the cases by their English names, but hopefully, having this insight will help me remember the names of the cases in Russian better.

All in all, I learned a lot of little details about Russian I don’t normally encounter in class. It’s fun to learn quirks about languages; it makes a new language feel a little more familiar.