The Word's Worth

40 Episodes
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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
#163
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
#162
06/04/2021

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


Maybe I May Be But Probably I'm Not
#161
05/28/2021

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


No Way, No How, No Matter What
#160
05/21/2021

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


The No's Have It in Russian
#159
05/14/2021

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


Cleaning House the Russian Way
#158
04/09/2021

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


My Sweet Little Buggie-Wuggie
#157
04/02/2021

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
#156
03/26/2021

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


Singin' in the Rain the Russian Way
#155
03/19/2021

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


Procrastinating the Russian Way
#154
03/12/2021

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


Watch What You Call That Old Woman
#153
03/05/2021

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


Of Men, Galoshes and Horseradish
#152
02/26/2021

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


All That Glitters is Russian Gold
#151
02/19/2021

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


The Language of UnFreedom from the Gulag
#150
02/12/2021

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
#149
02/05/2021

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
#148
01/29/2021

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
#147
12/25/2020

A special column for a special day.


2020 Words of the Year
#146
12/18/2020

This is the Year That Was in words and phrases.


All in a Day's Work in Russian
#145
12/11/2020

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
#144
12/04/2020

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
#143
11/27/2020

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
#142
11/06/2020

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
#141
10/30/2020

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


Everything Has a Price in Russian
#140
10/23/2020

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
#139
10/16/2020

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
#138
10/09/2020

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


The Fruit of Our Language Labor
#137
10/02/2020

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


The Giant Saber-Toothed Grasshopper and Other Endangered Species
#136
09/18/2020

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


Muttering and Grousing the Russian Way
#135
09/12/2020

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


Autumn Leaves Are Not Yet Falling
#134
09/09/2020

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


August's Holidays: Honey, Apples, Bread and Nuts
#133
08/27/2020


Please Don't Hurt My Feelings
#132
08/01/2020

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


You Gotta Have Heart
#131
07/24/2020

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


How to Protest, From A to Zip Tie Cuffs
#130
07/17/2020

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
#129
07/16/2020

You can never have too much money or shashlyk.


Getting Out the Vote the Russian Way
#128
07/03/2020

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


Ten Ways to Be Tired in Russian
#127
06/26/2020

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


When Time and Place Meet in Russian
#126
06/19/2020

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
#125
06/05/2020

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


When a Russian Bum is Not a Bum
#124
05/29/2020

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