Author Archive
Folk speech
Proverbs

Russian Proverb about Carefullness

Main Piece: Russian Proverb

“Семь раз отмерь, один раз отрежь.”

Phonetic: Sem’ raz otmer’, odin raz otrezh’.

Literal translation: Seven times measure, one time cut.

Actual meaning: Measure something seven times before cutting it once.

 

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

It was often told to him by his mother to encourage him to be more careful.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

The Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

Before cutting something, or doing a project such as a piece of furniture, he makes sure to plan it out and measure everything carefully so that he does not mess up the project.

 

Context:

  • Where?

Anywhere

  • When?

When someone is doing an important project

  • Why?

To encourage carefulness.

 

Personal Thoughts:

I have often heard this proverb growing up, and only ever realized how important it is to be careful and plan when doing things as I got older. Its very helpful when doing projects.

Folk speech
Proverbs

Russian Proverb about Beauty

Main Piece: Russian Proverb

“Красота требует жертв.”

Phonetic: Krasota trebuet zhertv.

Literal translation: Beauty requires sacrifice.

Actual translation:

Without pain/sacrifice, you will not achieve beauty.

 

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

She was often told this proverb by her grandmother.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

The Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

She takes this proverb fairly seriously, and actual believes that in order to appear beautiful, one has to do things that one may not enjoy / are unpleasant.

 

Context:

  • Where?

N/A

  • When?

When a person, usually a woman, is encouraging another person, also usually a woman, to do some sort of procedure that is unpleasant/painful in order to appear more attractive.

  • Why?

To provide encouragement for the person to do something unpleasant.

 

Personal Thoughts:

This proverb is essentially the same as “no pain, no gain” except it is usually used only for women and concerning the many different painful procedures that women have to do in order to appear “attractive” based on societal beauty standards. I personally do not believe this proverb in its literal sense, but I can find application for this proverb in other ways, such as applying it to studying and schoolwork, or exercise and health.

Musical

Ukranian Lullaby

Main Piece: Ukrainian Lullaby

Ніч яка місячна, зоряна, ясная! / Видно, хоч голки збирай. / Вийди, коханая, працею зморена, / Хоч на хвилиночку в гай.
Сядем укупочці тут під калиною – / І над панами я пан! / Глянь, моя рибонько, – срібною хвилею / Стелиться полем туман.
Гай чарівний, ніби променем всипаний, / Чи загадався, чи спить: / Ген на стрункій та високій осичині / Листя пестливо тремтить.

Небо незміряне всипане зорями, / Що то за Божа краса! / Перлами ясними попід тополями / Грає краплиста роса.

Ти не лякайся, що ніженьки босії / Вмочиш в холодну росу: / Я тебе, вірная, аж до хатиноньки / Сам на руках піднесу.
Ти не лякайся, що змерзнеш, лебедонько, / Тепло – ні вітру, ні хмар… / Я пригорну тебе до свого серденька, / А воно палке, як жар.

Phonetic:

Nich yaka misyachna, zoryana, yasnaya! / Vydno, khoch holky zbyray. / Vyydy, kokhanaya, pratseyu zmorena, / Khoch na khvylynochku v hay.
Syadem ukupochtsi tut pid kalynoyu – / I nad panamy ya pan! / Hlyanʹ, moya rybonʹko, – sribnoyu khvyleyu / Stelytʹsya polem tuman.
Hay charivnyy, niby promenem vsypanyy, / Chy zahadavsya, chy spytʹ: / Hen na strunkiy ta vysokiy osychyni / Lystya pestlyvo tremtytʹ.
Nebo nezmiryane vsypane zoryamy, / Shcho to za Bozha krasa! / Perlamy yasnymy popid topolyamy / Hraye kraplysta rosa.
Ty ne lyakaysya, shcho nizhenʹky bosiyi / Vmochysh v kholodnu rosu: / YA tebe, virnaya, azh do khatynonʹky / Sam na rukakh pidnesu.
Ty ne lyakaysya, shcho zmerznesh, lebedonʹko, / Teplo – ni vitru, ni khmar… / YA pryhornu tebe do svoho serdenʹka, / A vono palke, yak zhar.

Translation:

Oh night which is moonlight, starlit, clear! / So visible, you can collect needles. / Come out, my exhausted love, / For a minute into the garden.

Let’s sit together here under this rose bush / I am their master / Look my darling, a silver wave / The fog rolls onto the field.

So magical, as if powdered by rays / Or lost in thought, asleep / The wind above the thin and tall oak tree / the leaves gently shakes.

The sky is innumerably sprinkled with stars, / What Godly beauty! / Visible under the poplars / plays the mottled dew.

Don’t be afraid that your bare legs / will become wet from the cold dew; / I, my loyal, all the way to the house / in my arms will carry.

Don’t be afraid that you will freeze, my dear, / It is warm- not a breeze, not a cloud… / I will hold you close to my heart / It is hot, like a fever.

 

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

Her mother sang it to her when she was a baby / small child.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

The Soviet Union, Kiev, Ukraine.

  • What does it mean to them?

It is a sweet, calming song that reminds her of her home and culture.

 

Context:

  • Where?

Usually sung in a dark bedroom.

  • When?

This song is often sung night.

  • Why?

It is meant to help a child fall asleep.

 

Personal Thoughts:

My mother also sang me this song, as did my grandmother. It is a very calming, haunting song that calls back to old Ukraine before the Soviet Union. Often times people skip different couplets of the song depending on if they like them or not. This song also appears in a few Soviet era films, such as “В бой идут одни старики” which can be translated as “Only Old Men Go To War”.

To hear this song in the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONsgbw_VLms

Bykov, Leonid, director. Only Old Men Are Going to Battle. Dovzhenko Film Studios, 1974.

 

Folk speech
Riddle

Cabbage Riddle

Main Piece: Riddle

Original:

Сто одежек и все без застежек.

– Капуста.

Phonetic:

Sto odezhek i vse bez zastezhek.
– Kapusta.

Translation:

One hundred outfits and each without clasps.

– Cabbage

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

This was told to him by his childhood friends

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Ukraine

  • What does it mean to them?

It’s an interesting riddle.

Context:

This is told by children to other children to play riddle games.

Personal Thoughts:

I have heard multiple variations of this riddle, including one where instead of the answer being “cabbage”, the answer is “onions.”

Folk speech
Proverbs

Disheveled Girl Proverb

Main Piece: Proverb

Original:

Распустила дуня косы и за нею все матросы!

Phonetic:

Raspustila dunya kosy i za neyu vse matrosy!

Translation:

Dyuna (a slang word that is both a name and means “silly girl”) let down her braids, and all the sailors came running after her.

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

This was told to her by her mother.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

This is a proverb that tells young girls to look presentable otherwise they will be chased by sailors.

Context:

This is told to disheveled girls to convince them to fix their appearance and put up their hair.

Personal Thoughts:

I think this is a very sexist proverb, as it is directly influencing the idea that a woman has to look a certain way in order to not receive unwanted attention from men.

Folk speech
Riddle

The Inedible Pear Riddle

Main Piece:

Original:

Весит груша, нельзя скушать.

– Лампочка.

Phonetic:

Vesit grusha, nel’zya skushat’.
– Lampochka.

Translation:

A pear is hanging, but you cannot eat it.

– Light bulb.

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

This was told to him by his childhood friends

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Ukraine

  • What does it mean to them?

It’s an interesting riddle.

Context:

This is told by children to other children to play riddle games.

Personal Thoughts:

I have heard a different variant of this riddle, where the answer is “boxing punch bag” instead of a light bulb, since the word for “pear” and “punching bag” in Russian is the same (груша).

Magic
Narrative
Tales /märchen

Take a Bath, Turn into a Witch

Main Piece:

When I was little girl, maybe five or six, I always liked to take long bath. My fingers would get all wrinkled and shrunken, and this annoyed my mother. She told me that if my skiw wrinkled too much, that I would turn into Baba Yaga [note: Baba Yaga is a witch-like common character in Russian folklore] and start eating children. This scared me a lot, so I only took only very quick baths afterward. I now know it was to scare me away from taking too long baths. It seems so silly to me now that I was afraid of turning into Baba Yaga (laughs). Children will believe anything especially if it is scary.

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

It was told to her by her mother.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

This was a cautionary tale of what happens when you shower for too long.

Context:

This is told to children to scare them from wasting water and taking baths for too long.

Personal Thoughts:

Parents often tell weird stories to children to keep them from wasting food, water, or time. This is a cautionary tale about what happens if you waste water and bath time. This was probably used to save money and prevent the child from staying in the bathroom for too long and not letting other people take their turn.

Musical

Ukrainian Lover has been Stood Up Song

Main Piece: Ukranian Lover’s Song

Original:

Ти казала в понедiлок – пiдем разом по барвiнок. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у вiвторок – поцiлую разiв сорок. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, Ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у середу – пiдем разом по череду. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у четвер – пiдем разом на концерт. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у п’ятницю – пiдем разом по пшеницю. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у суботу – пiдем разом на роботу. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Ти казала у недiлю – пiдем разом на весiлля. / Я прийшов, тебе нема, пiдманула, пiдвела.

Ти ж мене пiдманула, ти ж мене пiдвела. / Ти ж мене, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Я ж тебе, Я ж тебе, пiдманула, я ж тебе, я ж тебе, пiдвела. / Я ж тебе, молодого, з ума розуму звела.

Phonetic:

Ty kazala v ponedilok – pidem razom po barvinok. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u vivtorok – potsiluyu raziv sorok. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, Ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u seredu – pidem razom po cheredu. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u chetver – pidem razom na kontsert. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u p’yatnytsyu – pidem razom po pshenytsyu. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u subotu – pidem razom na robotu. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
Ty kazala u nedilyu – pidem razom na vesillya. / YA pryyshov, tebe nema, pidmanula, pidvela.
Ty zh mene pidmanula, ty zh mene pidvela. / Ty zh mene, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.
YA zh tebe, YA zh tebe, pidmanula, ya zh tebe, ya zh tebe, pidvela. / YA zh tebe, molodoho, z uma rozumu zvela.

Translation:

You told me on Monay – we’ll go together and pick flowers. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Tuesday, you’d kiss me forty times. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Wednesday, we’ll go together and pick berries. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Thrusday, we’ll go to the concert together. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Friday, we’ll go collect wheat together. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Saturday, we’ll go to work together. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

You told me on Sunday, we’ll go together to the party. I came, you weren’t there, you lied, you stood me up.

You lied to me, you stood me up, You’re driving me crazy!

I to you, I to you, I lied, I to you, I to you, stood you up, I’m driving you crazy!

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

She would sing it with her friends when they were young.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

It’s a funny song about a girl who is a tease.

Context:

Often sung at parties, considered a traditional Ukranian folk song.

Personal Thoughts:

This song canbe sung by only women, or by men for half of it and women for the chorus. It is about a man who is constantly stood up by a girl he likes. For every day of the week, the girl promises to go on a date with him, and it drives him crazy that she never comes to the dates she sets up, but he clearly cannot stay away.

This song can be found in a popular Russian/Ukrainian TV Show “Svaty”:

Yakovlev, Andrey, director. Svaty. Kvartal 95 Studio, 2011.

Musical
Narrative

Katyusha Song

Main Piece:

Original:

Расцветали яблони и груши,/Проплыли туманы над рекой.

Выходила на берег катюша,/На высокий берег на крутой.

Выходила, песню заводила/Про степного сизого орла,

Про того, которого любила,/Про того, чьи письма берегла.

Ой ты, песня, песенка девичья,/Ты лети за дальней далью вслед

И бойцу на дальней пограничной/От катюши передай привет.

Пусть он вспомнит девушку родную,/Пусть услышит, как она поет,

Пусть он землю сбережет родную,/А любовь катюша сбережет.

Phonetic:

Rastsvetali yabloni i grushi,/Proplyli tumany nad rekoy.
Vykhodila na bereg katyusha,/Na vysokiy bereg na krutoy.
Vykhodila, pesnyu zavodila/Pro stepnogo sizogo orla,
Pro togo, kotorogo lyubila,/Pro togo, ch’i pis’ma beregla.
Oy ty, pesnya, pesenka devich’ya,/Ty leti za dal’ney dal’yu vsled
I boytsu na dal’ney pogranichnoy/Ot katyushi pereday privet.
Pust’ on vspomnit devushku rodnuyu,/Pust’ uslyshit, kak ona poyet,
Pust’ on zemlyu sberezhet rodnuyu,/A lyubov’ katyusha sberezhet.

Translation:

Blossomed apples and pears, / Fog flowed over the river.

On the riverbank walked out Katyusha, / On the tall, steep riverbank.

She walked out, and started to sing / About a wild eagle,

About the man that she loves / about the one whose letters she saves.

Oh, you song, song of a young girl / Fly far, far away,

And the the warrior, on the war front, / From Katyusha, bring a greeting.

Let him remember his beloved girl, / Let him hear, how she sings.

Let him guard his home land, / And Katyusha will guard their love.

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

She would sing this song a lot as a child.

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

It is a song about loving your significant other and your country above all else.

Context:

  • This is a sweet, haunting song that can be sung when feeling sad.
Personal Thoughts:

This is a Soviet Era song that has had the lyrics changed many times by different people who sing it. It may have originally started as an authored song, but each person who sings it changes the lyrics slightly until it mutates over generations.

Folk speech
Riddle

Scissors Riddle

Main Piece: Riddle

Original:

Два кольца, два конца, и по середине гвоздик.

– Ножницы.

Phonetic:

Dva kol’tsa, dva kontsa, i po seredine gvozdik.
– Nozhnitsy.

Translation:

Two rings, two points, and nail in the center.

– Scissors.

Background Information:

  • Why does informant know this piece?

This was told to him by his childhood friends

  • Where did they learn this piece?

Soviet Union

  • What does it mean to them?

It’s an interesting riddle.

Context:

This is told by children to other children to play riddle games.

Personal Thoughts:

Personally, I find this riddle confusing, since rings are not what I associate with scissors. However, in the Soviet Union in the 1970’s, when the informant heard this riddle, scissors looked different from how scissors look now, and therefore this riddle would make sense.

[geolocation]