The Word's Worth

40 Episodes

By: The Moscow Times

Get to know Russia from the inside out, with podcasts on Russian language, culture and the latest news.

The Many Faces of Живопырка
Last Friday at 2:31 PM

A magical word that seems to acquire new meanings wherever it goes.

On, Near, About and Round About in Russian

Another in my series of Mastering Russian Prepositions, this one is all about being near.

Maybe I May Be But Probably I'm Not

Maybe seems like such an easy concept. Может быть I'm wrong? Or is that быть может?

No Way, No How, No Matter What

What do courts and approaches and truth have to do with no one, nothing and no?

The No's Have It in Russian

How many ways can you say "no" in Russian? You have no idea...

Cleaning House the Russian Way

All you need are four verbs to satisfy all your cleaning, washing, polishing and murderous needs.

My Sweet Little Buggie-Wuggie

In her column The Word's Worth, Moscow Times Arts Editor Michele Berdy covers the intricacies of the Russian language — from the fascinating to the frustrating and everything in between.

The Moscow Times is Russia’s leading independent English-language media outlet. From our Moscow newsroom, we provide readers across the world with breaking news, engaging stories and balanced journalism about the largest country on Earth. 

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The Monster Under the Bed

How to talk about human monsters in Russian - or how to avoid hearing about them.

Singin' in the Rain the Russian Way

Prepositions. I know, I know. They're miserable. I try to make them a little bit more palatable.

Procrastinating the Russian Way

Russians have so many delightful ways to dawdle, dilly-dally and delay, you may never work again.

Watch What You Call That Old Woman

Why are there are more names in Russian for nasty old women than for nasty old men?

Of Men, Galoshes and Horseradish

There are lots of Russian words, nice and not, to describe the older gentlemen in our lives.

All That Glitters is Russian Gold

Lots of things glitter and glimmer with sparkles of gold and silver in Russian. For example - air.

The Language of UnFreedom from the Gulag

An exhibition at the Gulag History Museum and a new dictionary reveal the other reality of the USSR.

Two Hundred More Ways to Get Russian Wrong

Lock or castle, cotton or clapping - it's all a matter of where the stress falls. Russian is very stressful.

Insurrection and Sedition in Russian Translation

Rebellions can be good or bad. Depends on who's rebelling and who or what they are rebelling against.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Moscow 2020

A special column for a special day.

2020 Words of the Year

This is the Year That Was in words and phrases.

All in a Day's Work in Russian

Which Russian verb do you use to work badly? How do you ride into heaven? It's all in a day's work.

The Borshch Battles

Borshch - is it Russian, Ukrainian, or Polish? Will language tell us? I dive back in time to find out.

Confusing Coffee and Bountiful Behinds in Russian

Would you want to be урод? In 1254 you would have been happy to be урод. Now - not so much.

Getting the Electoral College Right in Russian

You know how you sometimes wish your language had a foreign word in it? I want выборщик.

It's Time to Take a Stand in Russian

What do стоить and стоять have in common? Not much - oh, except for one very important thing.

Everything Has a Price in Russian

Is it worth reading? How much does it cost? It's nothing. All this for the price of one word: стоить.

The With, By, From, Per, About Preposition

Getting Russian prepositions and cases right is my life's goal. Judging by "c" I've got a long way to go.

Fast as a Russian Fly

Russians not only like to go fast, they like to talk about going fast.

The Fruit of Our Language Labor

Whoever names fruit cultivars in Russia should get a lifetime achievement award.

The Giant Saber-Toothed Grasshopper and Other Endangered Species

Watch День Радио, learn Russian, and laugh your head off. Win-win-win.

Muttering and Grousing the Russian Way

Russians didn't invent griping, but they have terrific words to describe it.

Autumn Leaves Are Not Yet Falling

Take a deep dive into months, calendars, years and other joys of Russian autumn.

August's Holidays: Honey, Apples, Bread and Nuts

Please Don't Hurt My Feelings

Is hurting someone's feelings illegal? Well, sort of. But maybe it shouldn't be. Read on...

You Gotta Have Heart

For Russians, a heart is way more than a pump in your chest.

How to Protest, From A to Zip Tie Cuffs

The weather might be cool, but people are hot to protest. Here's how to talk about it.

When Not Enough is Way Too Much

You can never have too much money or shashlyk.

Getting Out the Vote the Russian Way

People were voting by rules set in the Constitution they were voting on. How's that again?

Ten Ways to Be Tired in Russian

Being tired is just so exhausting I feel like a squeezed out lemon. Really.

When Time and Place Meet in Russian

Тут is such a simple, sweet-sounding word... and if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Flying Objects and Other Horrors of Russian

Russian paronyms - летучий, летящий, летательный, летающий and лётный - are horrible.

When a Russian Bum is Not a Bum

Answering a question in my mailbag sent me down the rabbit hole of Russian abbreviations - great fun!