Russian as foreign: Clues to Exceptions

Today we challenge you to become a bit of a language detective. Yes, the rules and ways of languages, Russian in particular, may seem inexplicable and patternless. And yes, you might be perfectly fine with knowing just enough to order takeout in a Russian-speaking country. But bear with us! Taking a linguist’s point of view occasionally can make learning so much easier and more entertaining.

Remember your beloved exceptions from plural forms? The family ones:

мать – матери
дочь – дочери

Here is a clue to help you remember those:

матери — mother
дочери — daughter

And now let’s look at other family members: брат – brother, сестра – sister.

From this we might deduct that “тер” and its variations are not there by accident. Linguists believe that in ancient languages the particle (ter/ther/tor) meant “doer, maker”. That also explains, why it can so often be seen in names of professions: director – директор, constructor – конструктор.

Behind every word there is a story :) Isn’t that fun?!

Join ALMA School in class of Russian or Ukrainian as foreign to learn more fascinating stories (and how to order takeout in Kiev)! See you ;)