Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Time to Party

To Our Readers

The Moscow Times welcomes letters to the editor. Letters for publication should be signed and bear the signatory's address and telephone number.
Letters to the editor should be sent by fax to (7-495) 232-6529, by e-mail to oped@imedia.ru, or by post. The Moscow Times reserves the right to edit letters.

Email the Opinion Page Editor



???????: crowd, set, scene, party, gang, reception...

Ah, the May holidays. Half the city is off in the Canaries, the roads and restaurants are nearly empty, and you can finally put on those spring duds you bought way back in March. Time to party with your buddies. So what do you call those buddies?

In Russian they are your ????????. This common word for a group of friends or associates is simple to understand and use, but sometimes difficult to translate. It can be a group: ?? ????? ???????? ???? ?????????. (The whole group of us went for a walk.) Sometimes you can use "crowd" or "set": ????? ?? ?????? ? ???????? ??????????-?????????????. (At that time he was part of the avant-garde art crowd.)

Often ???????? gets modified to the slangy ????????. ???????? ? ??? ???????? ????! (My crowd was really awesome!) But in other contexts ???????? can have a negative connotation. Say your significant other comes home to find the toilet still broken and you, the plumber and the alkie from the third floor finishing off the second bottle of vodka in the kitchen. Your angry spouse may roar: ?? ? ????????! However you translate it (What's this party?!), it really means: As soon as I get rid of your drinking buddies, you're toast!

The expression ????????? ???????? means "to keep someone company," but it usually sounds more natural in English to translate the phrase differently. ?, ???????, ????? ???. ?? ?????? ????????? ??? ????????? (I'm going to have a cup of tea -- will you join me?) ? ????? ? ??????? -- ?? ????????? ??? ????????? (I'm going to the store -- want to come with me?

???????????? ???????? means "to go along with the crowd": ??? ?????? ???????????, ??? ??? ??? ???????? ?????????? ???????? ? ???????? ???? ????? ? ?????. (Everyone wanted to go dancing, so I had to go along with them and spend the evening in a club.) ?????????? or ???????? ???????? means to "break up the party": ?? ???????? ?? ???????? ????????, ?? ??? ???????????? ???, ? ?????? ??? ???? ????????. (I don't want to break up the party, but it's after 11 p.m. and I've got to get up early in the morning.)

Someone who is very sociable is ????????????: ?????? ? ??? ? ????! ???? ????? ???????????? ?????? -- ?? ?????? ??? ??????. (Let's drop in on Ira and Borya. Borya is a real party guy, he's always happy when people come over.)

You can also use the word ???? (circle), which means a group of friends or family. ?? ????????? ??????? ????????? ? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ????. (We celebrated the May holidays at the dacha with a few of our closest friends.) In the plural, ????? means a group of people united by common professional or social interests: ????? ?????? ??????????? ? ???????????? ??????. (The book was hotly debated in literary circles.)

And then there's ???????, the word that ate the Russian language. Everything these days is ??????? -- any kind of crowd, set, group of people; any kind of party, reception, club scene, or hang-out. ? ?????????? ???????????? ??????? ? ??? ?????????? ????????????? ?????. (Rumors continue to make the rounds about him in the Moscow political crowd.) ??????? ??????? ?? ????????? ???????? (Are you going to that NGO get-together tonight?) And there are a zillion ??????????? ??????? (virtual hang-outs) on RuNet.

What do you do at a ???????? Easy: ??????????, ????????, ??????. In the general sense, these slangy words mean "to hang out" or "to have fun," but ?????????? can also mean "to mingle." ??? ? ????? ????-?? ??? ????? ????? ????? ?????????. (What am I doing standing in the corner? I'm going to go mingle.) The adjective ?????????? has the sense of "in" or "lively": ??? ????? ??????? ? ?????????? ????? ?? ??????. (It's the most fun and happening place on the shore.)

So over the holidays: ????? ??????!

Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.