Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 07:14:27
22 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Author: Michelle A. Berdy
Illustrations/Images by Victor Bogorad

July/August 2017
Survival Russian
Page 26   ( 1 pages)

Summary: The many ways that spitting has worked its way into the language.


spitting (плевать/наплевать or плюнуть) is a surprisingly important part of Russian life. It is used both literally — often in the form выплёвывать/выплюнуть (to spit out) — and figuratively. The physical act can be something of an art, for example: выплёвывать шелуху от семечек (to spit out the shell from sunflower seeds). Spitting out the shell and swallowing the seed — instead of the other way around — takes years of practice. Believe me, I know.

Плевать в лицо (to spit in someone’s face) is a terrible insult. Плевать в чайник (to spit in the kettle) is a really nasty thing to do to your neighbor in the коммуналка (communal apartment), all the more satisfying because as he drinks his tea, you know and he doesn’t. Very high yuck factor.

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