Russian Word for Water

August 17th, 2009 by Mark Leave a reply »

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Power Phrases Lesson #29
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If you’re reading this, it means you’d like to know how to say ‘water’ in Russian. I wish I could just lie to you and tell you the word is ‘vaDAH’ and be done with it. Unfortunately, nothing in Russian is that simple. ‘VaDAH’ is ONE way you’ll hear it. The other two ways are:

VOHdu and vahDEE.

It just depends on context. If you’re walking along the street and want to point to some water and exclaim, “Water!” then you’d say, “VaDAH!”

If you’re in a restaurant and want to order water, you’d say, “VOHdu.”

Finally, if you want to offer someone some water — emphasis on some — you’d say, “VahDEE.”

This is typical of the Russian language, where the emphasis shifts depending on which form of the word you’re using. And it’s a bit of a nuisance. Imagine if English did that. Imagine if we said, “One baNAna. Two banaNAS.” But don’t sweat it too much. Make your best guess and hope for the best.

Getting back to water: No one seems to drink it straight out of the faucet. If the locals are afraid of it, so am I. This means you end up buying a lot of bottled water. I always make it my first task, after buying a map of the city, to go out and buy some jugs of purified water…

…if I can remember which word to use.

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