Red is beautiful

You might have wondered why the Red Square in Moscow is actually called 'red'. Is it red? No, it's not. Is it because of the 'red' communists? Wrong again. The word 'red' in Russian, krasnyj, is related to the word krasivyj, beautiful. So it's not only the Red Square of Moscow but the Beautiful Square - krasnaya ploshad'.

Sent by: Katja


Regina, Monterey, CA 2011-04-07

Dear friends, you are doing a great job for those who learn and TEACH Russian (I am a teacher). You dig to the very depth and beauty of the language.
Bolshoe spasibo!

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Milan, Serbia 2010-04-15

And then you have the Serbian joke about a Serb who went to visit his friend in Russia. The Russian took him to see the sights and after that took him to the beach. Impressed with what he has seen, the Serb tells his friend: My what a 'krasni zhivot' you've got! to which his Russian friend got extremely offended. *krasni/krasnyj zhivot means 'beautiful life' in Serbian and 'red belly' in Russian.

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Victor, Russia 2010-01-04

And what about the "krasnyj ugol'"? Literally it means "red corner". Before the October revolution it was the main corner in every peasant's house where a icon (with a lampion -- if the host was rich enough) was placed. Then in Soviet time every school, factory, military base, etc had to have its own "krasnyj ugolok" (= small red corner) -- a room with Lenin's portrait and some communist symbols -- most of the red, of course.

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Rachel 2009-07-22

Also in some Slavic languages, such as Czech, 'krásný' still means beautiful.

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Tatiana, RF 2009-06-11

"Krasna devica" - translating as "red girl", actually means beautiful girl!

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Erik 2008-09-16

In Swedish up until the 19th century, "red" (or "röd") used to mean the same thing: beautiful, but also denoting something to be coveted. You still find the word in this context in many traditional folk songs, alluding to "red gold rings", "the red horse", etc. This never made sense to me until I learned about the Russian meaning!

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Deasmhumhain MacGearailt 2008-07-29

But surely the oddest construction is the Russian way of saying I like ... eg. bred: menya nravitsya chleb, lit. bread pleases me. The verb nravitsya is clearly based on the word nrav, character disposition, and the sya makes a verb reflexive. So the bread gives me a good character reference of itself is what is meant!

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Natalia 2008-08-31

About pleasing bread - the right form is Ya lyublyu khleb. Ya lyublyu means I love. If you talk about food, the verb Lyubit' sounds much better then Nravit'sya. And if you are not a big fan of eggs, for example, you can say Ya ne lyublyu yaytsa. Nravit'sya is more about things. I like this dress - Mne nravitsya eto plat'ye. I don't like this movie - Mne etot fil'm ne nravitsya.

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Time of the Moon 2005-11-09

And in fact, the word krasnyj, red, ceased to mean 'beautiful' only in the early 20th century.

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