Russian Keys

20 words that once meant something very different

Words change meaning all the time — and over time. Language historian Anne Curzan takes a closer look at this phenomenon, and shares some words that used to mean something totally different.

Words change meaning over time in ways that might surprise you. We sometimes notice words changing meaning under our noses (e.g., unique coming to mean “very unusual” rather than “one of a kind”) — and it can be disconcerting. How in the world are we all going to communicate effectively if we allow words to shift in meaning like that?

The good news: History tells us that we’ll be fine. Words have been changing meaning — sometimes radically — as long as there have been words and speakers to speak them. Here is just a small sampling of words you may not have realized didn’t always mean what they mean today.

    Nice: This word used to mean “silly, foolish, simple.” Far from the compliment it is today!
    Silly: Meanwhile, silly went in the opposite direction: in its earliest uses, it referred to things worthy or blessed; from there it came to refer to the weak and vulnerable, and more recently to those who are foolish.

Read more...

Russian to Become Mandatory for Foreign Athletes

Foreign athletes in Russia's sports clubs will soon have to learn Russian if a State Duma deputy gets his way, Izvestia newspaper reported Thursday.

Oleg Nilov, a deputy for the Just Russia party, is preparing a bill to that effect aimed at reducing the number of foreign athletes in Russia, the paper reported.

"Athletes who earn billions in rubles and millions in dollars must respect our country, know its language and culture," Nilov said in an interview with Vesti FM radio station Thursday.

According to Nilov, the number of foreign sportsmen, especially in football, should first be reduced, and later the practice of inviting players from abroad should be abandoned altogether.

A new law that comes into force on Jan. 1 next year will make it mandatory for migrants who wish to stay in Russia and obtain permanent residence here to pass a test of their Russian-language skills.

Many of Russia's top football clubs are either owned or sponsored by government organizations, meaning that the players' salaries are paid by the government.

"In the present circumstances we need to save money," Nilov told Izvestia.

Source:     The Moscow Times

Course: The Fun Kiwi Guide to Cultural Intelligence

Starting 09 September 2014 6 weeks: Tue 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Victoria University of Wellington
Presenter: Olga Suvorova
Victoria Staff 20% Discount Fee $144.00 incl GST
Early Bird Discount available until 2 weeks prior to the course start date $162.00 incl GST
$180.00 incl GST
Register

Overview: Come join us in a fascinating tour across cultures and languages with our ‘un-lonely planet guide’ to intercultural communication. Globalisation, intermarriage and the communications revolution are all increasing the interaction between different nations and cultures. In this course, you will learn how to communicate effectively across cultures for things such as business, tourism or family life. You will also gain ideas about what not to do…
 
Target audience: This course is for anyone:
- who is interested in intercultural communication
- who loves international travel and experiencing other cultures
- who enjoys the diversity of different languages and cultures
- who has an international family who wants to be successful in working in multinational business and public environments.
 
Learning objectives: By the end of this course, participants will have:
- gained the ability to see the world through the eyes of other peoples and cultures
- learned ways to use this new knowledge to effectively live and work in different linguistic and cultural settings.
 
Course outline:
Session 1: Introduction to Cultural Intelligence (CQ)
Main terms, definitions and principles
‘Cultural smarts’ or the CQ role in our society
Milk sheiks in New Zealand or what to do when your rice is falling through the barbeque grill: cultural diversity in New Zealand and migrant cultural challenges
Whither Hobbitlandia? How New Zealand and New Zealanders appear in the eyes of non-New Zealanders
“I speak the language of love. That’s right, I speak Russian.” – Jarod Kintz: how national stereotypes influence our thinking
 
Session 2: War and peace of cultures and languages
Linguistics, culture and national security – perhaps the most secret part of the course
Conflict of civilisations and cultures: reason enough for the Third World War?
Lost in translation: useful phrases – common greetings, words of love and apology in different cultures and challenges when using them
“He says you’d better kill him, he ain’t gonna tell where the treasure is”: how to work effectively through an interpreter and stay alive
“In 500 years’ time … If English is to be then the only language left to be learned, it will have been the greatest intellectual disaster the planet has ever known.” David Crystal, linguist: foreign languages in New Zealand
 
Session 3: Multinational families in New Zealand: Linguistic and cultural barriers
Cultural clashes in multinational families in New Zealand – perhaps the most useful part of the course
When her ‘NO’ means ‘YES’: dating a person from another culture
Challenges of international marriages: it’s the neck that turns the head
“All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten”: New Zealand children in multicultural environments
Bilingual and bicultural children: shaping their minds and hearts for a better future
 
Session 4: Unlocking opportunities in the global economy: Cultural aspects
Doing business in multinational environment – perhaps the most practical part of the course
Working or studying overseas: cultural understandings and misunderstandings – how not to be a bull in a China shop
Helpful ‘to BEs’ when dealing with foreigners
Dressed the same but thinking differently: attitudes to various concepts in different cultures – time, money, beauty, women
Multinational influences and consumer behaviour, marketing your product overseas: cultural perspective
 
Session 5: Effective interactions across cultures in the public sector
CQ in politics and diplomacy – perhaps the most official part of the course
‘Today a penguin was not run over...’ versus a foreign military invasion: national priorities, social and mass media in modern multinational society
“11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong!”: the ‘art’ of modern political techniques based on cultural differences and the porridge problem
Negotiating with foreigners: let the show begin – preparing for meetings, behaviour, etiquette, language and communication at meetings
Signs that your interpreter might be phony – Mr Bean and non-verbal communication: gestures in different cultures
 
Session 6: Creativity as a medium of intercultural communication
CQ and creativity – perhaps the most entertaining part of the course
International humour: politically incorrect jokes and black humour in some cultures and how to react or not
Colours, sounds and tastes in different cultures around the world: the most curious dishes and stories behind them; fascinating musical instruments and other insights into international cuisine, music, painting, fashion and literature
Hobbies around the world: very different ideas of ‘sport’ and recreation
Tourism: curious toponyms and what people find interesting about others when travelling
 
Course format: This series of two-hour lectures is held on Tuesday evenings over six weeks. There is a short break half-way through each session, and you are welcome to bring something to eat and drink if you wish.
 
Teacher: Olga Suvorova has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Moscow State University. She has extensive experience in working with international leaders in both the private and public sectors in New Zealand and Russia on cultural intelligence questions. Olga is married to a New Zealander and works in both New Zealand and Moscow.
 
For further information: Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140. Phone 04 463 6556, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Russian Language and Culture Course: 10 reasons to join

What our Russian Language and Culture course and Russian language in general has to offer:

1.    You will learn a new skill. Russian (ру́сский язы́к, russkiy yazyk) is a Slavic language spoken primarily in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR. Due to the current challenging political situation in that part of the world and lack of international Russian experts and analysts Russian Studies are becoming more popular again.
2.    You will acquire a Russian accent. The Russian language is the world’s fifth most popular language, in terms of numbers of speakers. (285 mln people) (G. Weber, "Top Languages“). Despite the wide geographical area over which Russian is spoken, you will encounter very little variation in terms of dialects. The language and pronunciation introduced in this course derive from the language as spoken in Moscow which is considered the classical standard version throughout the Russian-speaking area.
3.    You will enhance your career opportunities. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. There are plenty of opportunities to work in leading dynamic Russian companies as interns or managers or to become involved in professions such as Law, Accounting, IT, Communications, Media and Education with the Russian-speaking market.
4.    You will have a chance to become the first New Zealander into space ever! The Russian language is also one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station - NASA astronauts who serve alongside Russian cosmonauts usually take Russian language courses.
5.    You will get access to Russian science and to Russian consumers online. In March 2013 it was announced that Russian surpassed German as language no 2 on the web and Russian is now the second most used language on the web, behind English. Most of Russian scientific discoveries are available online in Russian only. Most Russian online consumers speak Russian only - according to Luxury Daily, online purchases of luxury goods amounted to  $8.6 billion in Russia last year, accounting for the lion’s share of overall e-commerce in Russia which amounted to $12 billion that year.
6.    You will understand better what your Russian partners or adopted kids are wanting to communicate to you, you will be more understandable to them too.
7.    You will get insights into the hearts and minds of world famous Russian writers, composer and artists. And yes, we will read some Tolstoy in the original too!
8.    You will be able to travel to the Russian-speaking world with less stress and more background knowledge and, thus, enjoy and see the details!
9.    You will meet great and friendly people at our course with similar interests and desire to learn a new language or improve and systemise their previous experience.
10.    You will develop your IQ and CQ and gain a different perception and approach to one and the same problem through newly-gained cultural and linguistic experience.

For more information and to enrol please visit the Victoria University of Wellington website: http://cce.victoria.ac.nz/courses/276-an-introduction-to-russian-language-and-culture

Course: An Introduction to Russian Language and Culture

Starting 21 August 2014 8 weeks: Thu 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Victoria University of Wellington
Presenter: Olga Suvorova
Victoria Staff 20% Discount Fee $160.00 incl GST
Early Bird Discount available until 2 weeks prior to the course start date $180.00 incl GST
$200.00 incl GST
Register

Overview:
Russian is best learnt when both written and oral skills are taught together within the context of the Russian way of life. Russian culture is, therefore, an essential part of this eight-week beginners course designed to help you learn the basic language skills necessary for communicating in Russian.

Target audience:
This course is for beginners and those with limited knowledge of Russia who wish to gain an introduction to its language and culture. It is for anyone who:
    is interested in Russia and the language and culture
    has a Russian-speaking partner or adopted children from Russia
    is planning to visit Russia or its neighbouring states where Russian is spoken.

Learning objectives:
By the end of the course, participants will have:
    acquired basic reading and writing skills in Russian
    gained a basic understanding of Russian grammar (nouns – gender and some cases; verbs (present tense); adverbs; pronouns; numbers and adjectives)
    learnt basic vocabulary and the linguistic and cultural competence to handle situations such as:
    introducing themselves and their family and friends
    expressing likes and/or dislikes and requesting things (in shops and restaurants)
    visiting places (reading signs, staying at hotels, making enquiries)
    gained general knowledge of Russian culture and the way of life and about New Zealand–Russia connections.

Course outline:
Week 1: Introduction to the Russian language; the alphabet, stress and vowels; basic geographic names; greetings and good byes; diversity of the region (video and discussion)

Week 2: Basic reading and writing skills; nouns, gender; asking simple questions and making simple statements in Russian; the Russian language and cultural identity (video and discussion)

Week 3: Pronouns; introducing yourself and your family; how and when to use first names and patronymics in Russia; “I” and “we” in Russian; home and family in the Russian world (video and discussion)

Week 4: Verbs; present tense; how to express likes and dislikes (including hobbies, interests); how to request things (in shops and restaurants); reading signs when travelling around Russia; hotel etiquette; tips for foreigners; Russian attitudes towards foreigners; cultural clashes

Week 5: + genitive “to have”; adverbs; numbers; finding your way around and asking for and understanding directions; asking about prices in shops; how to undertake business in modern Russia (video and discussion)

Week 6: Adjectives; colours; public holidays and months of the year; Russian literature, music and art; New Zealand–Russia untold stories (video and discussion)

Week 7: – how to make suggestions – to be able to, to know how to; making toasts in Russian; the Russian sense of humour and attitude towards smiling; Russian hospitality; myths about vodka (the “Russian antifreeze”) (video and discussion)

Week 8: Summary and discussion; presentation of certificates of achievement.

Course format:
This series of two-hour classes is held on Thursday evenings over eight weeks. There is a short break half-way through each session, and you are welcome to bring refreshments if you wish.

Teacher:
Olga Suvorova has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Moscow State University and an MA Hons in linguistics from Lomonosov Moscow State University.She has extensive experience in working with international leaders in both the private and public sectors in New Zealand and Russia on cultural intelligence questions. Olga is married to a New Zealander and works in both New Zealand and Moscow.

Class limit:
This course is limited to a maximum of 16 participants, so please enrol early.

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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