Немно́го о языке́ 3.5 Вы говори́те по-испа́нски?

More about -ия and -ие nouns

Tony is studying междунаро́дные отноше́ния – International Relations. As you can see, отноше́ния is a plural form (relationS). See if you can predict what the singular is: choose the form you think is the correct dictionary form of the word.

The verb изуча́й- and “studying”

The basic English equivalent of the verb изуча́й- is "study." However, words rarely have perfect equivalents between languages, and for the different types of "studying" Russian will have several different verbs.  As you progress through the book, you will gradually learn all the equivalents of "studying" in the contexts below; for now it is enough to notice that изуча́й- will work in only one of these sentences.

She's studying Economics.  Она́ изуча́ет эконо́мику.
She's studying in Petersburg. [you need a different verb]
They're studying at Moscow State University. [you need a different verb]
We're studying at Starbucks tonight. [you need a different verb]
Are you studying the new words? [you need a different verb]
He is studying for the test tomorrow. [you need a different verb]

Russians use изуча́й- when talking about serious, long-term, fundamental study of a topic or academic subject. It usually combines the learning of facts with analysis. For this reason, it is used mostly about subjects studied at the post-secondary level – not in grade school or secondary school. In the Russian context, it is almost always used about a student’s major subject. When talking about the US educational system (where students may take classes in several different departments), it can refer to your major, or to a university course you are taking. The verb stem изуча́й- conjugates in the same manner as де́лай-.

Academic Subjects

natural & physical sciences
social sciences
междунаро́дные отноше́ния
pre-professional programs

Упражне́ние 1. Noticing.

1. Many English subject names end with the suffix –logy.
What seems to be the equivalent suffix in Russian?
а. -ика
б. -ло́гия
в. -ция
г. -ия
2. Other English subject names often end in –ics.
What seems to be the equivalent suffix in Russian?
а. -ика
б. -ло́гия
в. -ция
г. -ия
3. What gender are nouns that end with these two suffixes? а. masculine
б. feminine
в. neuter

Упражне́ние 2. Reading Strategy: Suffixes

Noticing suffixes and their equivalents in English can help you in learning to read Russian by letting you make educated guesses about unknown words.  We caution against applying this tactic to "create" a Russian word, as it can backfire, but it is a great strategy for trying to figure out the meanings of new words you encounter.

1. Which two subject names are plural nouns? Answer
2. Which two subject names are not feminine nouns? Answer

This is not a complete list of subject names, and some subject areas typical of American universities have no simple or direct equivalent in Russian or in Russian higher education.  For example, while инжене́р has the easy equivalent in English of "engineer", the generic subject area Engineering is not easily translated into Russian, since Russian institutions tend to organize around more specific aspects of the field.

Verbs with Second Conjugation Endings

In the first part of Unit 3, you worked with verbs that have first conjugation endings: verbs whose endings are like those on the Russian words "live," "work," "stroll," "read," and "write."  In this section you learned one more verb whose conjugation is like those (изучай-). However, you also encountered three new verbs whose pattern of conjugation is somewhat different: "like / love," "watch" and "speak / say." The pattern these verbs follow is called second conjugation, and in this section you will work with verbs that take second conjugation endings. 

In the table below you will see which second conjugations endings are associated with which persons (i.e., subjects/subject pronouns).

Subjects 2nd Conjugation Endings
я -ю (or -у if there’s a spelling rule consonant)
ты -ишь
он / она́ / оно́ -ит
мы -им
вы -ите
они́ -ят (or -ат if there’s a spelling rule consonant)

Like first conjugation verbs, stems of verbs that take second conjugation endings end in a consonant.

Because of the softening effect of the ending –ю in the first person singular, some verb stems undergo a mutation in the я form.  For example, the stem люб- (like, love) will turn into люблю́ in the first person singular, adding an -л- before the ending -ю.  This will happen only in the я form; second conjugation verb mutations occur only in the first person singular form.  As you encounter more verbs of this type, we will note both the consonant mutations and the patterns they follow.

Combining verb stems with second conjugation endings

Look at the table below to see how second conjugation verb stems combine with their endings. Make sure you listen to each form, and practice saying it after the speaker.

Stem Endings Conjugated Forms Meanings
говор- + ю я говорю́ I speak, I am speaking, I do speak, have been speaking
+ ишь ты говори́шь You speak, etc.
+ ит он/она́ говори́т He/she speaks, etc.
+ им мы говори́м We speak, etc.
+ ите вы говори́те You speak, etc.
+ ят они́ говоря́т They speak, etc.

The verb смотр- (look, watch) will combine with the second conjugation endings in a similar way to говор-. However, смотр- has a backward shifting stress pattern (я смотрю́, ты смо́тришь).

The verb люб- (like, love) is below. It too has a shifting stress pattern; it also has what is called a "consonant mutation" in its я form. Again, make sure you listen to each form and practice saying it.

Stem Mutation Endings Conjugated Forms Meanings
люб- б > бл + ю я люблю́ I like, love, etc.
ø + ишь ты лю́бишь You like, love, etc.
ø + ит он/она́ лю́бит He/she likes, loves, etc.
ø + им мы лю́бим We like, love, etc.
ø + ите вы лю́бите You like, love, etc.
ø + ят они́ лю́бят They like, love, etc.

Now look at all three new verbs together to compare and review the stress patterns. Verbs with second conjugation endings have the same stress patterns as verbs with first conjugation endings. Depending on the verb, the stress will work in one of three possible ways: 1) always on the same syllable in the stem; 2) always on the ending, or 3) on the ending in the я form, and then moves backward onto the stem. As you learn more verbs, you will gradually learn to predict what the stress pattern for a given verb will be.

Always end stress Backward Shifting
Subjects говор- смотр- люб-
я говорю́ смотрю́ люблю́
ты говори́шь смо́тришь лю́бишь
говори́т смо́трит лю́бит
мы говори́м смо́трим лю́бим
вы говори́те смо́трите лю́бите
они́ говоря́т смо́трят лю́бят

You have now had a chance to hear and see all the forms of these new verbs, and you may be wondering about the relationship between what you hear and how the forms are spelled.

To answer that question, listen to the following forms again:

То́ни говори́т по-ру́сски.
То́ни и Ама́нда говоря́т по-ру́сски.

In a verb with stress always on the ending, it is easy to hear the ending for each form. However, in verbs with stem-stress or shifting stress you will not be able to hear the difference between the third person singular and plural forms, because unstressed -я is pronounced the same as ­-и. Compare the он / она and они forms of смотр- and люб-:

Она́ лю́бит Петербу́рг. Они́ лю́бят Петербу́рг.
Он смо́трит фильм. Они́ смо́трят фильм.

Note that with verb conjugation endings you will have difficulty "hearing what to write" whenever the stress falls on the stem, whether the verb is first or second conjugation, so it is important that you get used to associating a given written form with what you hear. You may find it helpful to listen to and read over the verbs above, and then practice listening to a few and trying to write them without looking.

Упражне́ние 3

You are hearing about various people's interests, but you catch only the second half of the sentences. Some are people talking about themselves; others are giving information about third parties, and a few are questions for you. Based on what you hear, pick the subject that must have started the sentence.

1. я ты он / она́ они́
2. я дя́дя Ю́ра мы вы
3. я Дени́с мы вы
4. я ты мы студе́нты
5. я ты Дени́с роди́тели
6. я Ната́лья Миха́йловна Дени́с студе́нты
7. я мы вы Дени́с и Джош
8. я ты мы вы
9. я Дени́с мы То́ни и Зо́я Степа́новна
10. я ты мы вы

Каку́ю му́зыку ты слу́шаешь? Listening.

Several of the verbs in this unit take complements that would be unexpected for an English speaker. For example, while знай- and иузчай- may use accusative direct objects, other verbs, like понимай- and говор-, may not. What about the verb слушай-? In English "listen" requires the preposition "to" – this is not the case in Russian. To express what you listen to, слушай- uses a direct object in the accusative case.

Tо́ни: Я слу́шаю ру́сское ра́дио—но́вости, му́зыку.
Оле́г: Пра́вда? А каку́ю му́зыку ты слу́шаешь?

Tony's answer to Oleg's question might include some of the following genres. Notice that to answer this question the genres must be in the accusative case, which you can see most clearly in the endings on the feminine nouns (наро́дная му́зыка / класси́ческая му́зыка become наро́дную му́зыку and класси́ческую му́зыку):

Я слу́шаю ...
поп класси́ческую музыку
класси́ческий рок джаз
и́нди-рок рэп
ка́нтри фолк
хип-хоп наро́дную му́зыку