SRAS Student Camryn Vaughn and her friends cooked themselves a Thanksgiving dinner while studying abroad in Bishkek

Russian MiniLessons: Thankfulness

Published: November 28, 2008

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation.

This topic is doubly pertinent this month, as День благодарения has just passed, but also because many благотворительные организации are likely to be affected by the new law on NGOs. The linguistic connection that Russian makes between charity and thanksgiving is an interesting one, perhaps even better developed by the expressions “спасибо на хлеб не намажешь” and “из спасибо шубы не сошьешь”. These expressions were generally used (they are not in wide circulation today) by the poor to the rich after having performed a service, reminding that one should not just say thanks, one should do something or give something to express thanks.

Similar expressions:
Одним “спасибо” сыт не будешь
Доброе слово и кошке приятно
Спасибо вашему столу от нашего
Дареному коню в зубы не смотрят
Своя рубашка ближе к телу

About the author

Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life, Worldpress.org, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an PhD from West Virginia University in Political Science. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource.

Program attended: All Programs

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Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson

Josh has lived in Moscow since 2003, when he first arrived to study Russian at MGU through SRAS. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. At SRAS, Josh assists in program development and leads our Home and Abroad Programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik: The Journal of Russian and Asian Studies. In addition, he serves as Communications Director to Alinga Consulting Group and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

Program attended: All Programs

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