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Lawmakers Need to Brush Up on Their Russian

Published: December 20, 2013 (Issue # 1791)

Законопроект: draft law

My heart did a little dance of joy last week when I read the text of proposed changes to the Russian law on state language that had, by one count, 26 grammatical and other errors. See, it is a difficult language!

As it's always helpful to learn from others' mistakes, I've put together a little Friday quiz. Note that my translations do not reflect the mistakes in the text.

1. How many mistakes are in this sentence?

В Федеральном законе «О государственном языке РФ», в которую данным законопроектом предлагается внести изменение, отсутствует норма, в которой было бы прописана обязанность иностранных граждан, лиц без гражданства и граждан РФ при исполнении должностных обязанностей и на рабочем месте употреблять и общаться исключительно на государственном языке или на официальных языках субъектов РФ (In the Federal law "On the state language of Russia," which this draft law is proposed to amend, there is no stipulation that would mandate the responsibility of foreign citizens, people without citizenship and Russian citizens to use and communicate exclusively in the state language or the official languages of the constituent parts of Russia while conducting business in the workplace).

a) None. Sounds OK to me.

b) Three, if you mean just grammatical errors.

c) Ten, if you're taking off for style.

Answer: (b)

There is incorrect agreement between закон and в которую. It should be была бы прописана обязанность. And you can't употреблять на государственном языке.

2. What's the most egregious mistake in the following sentence?

Pages: [1] [2]


Times Talk


Wednesday, Apr. 23

Problems facing the elderly are in the spotlight at Senior Generation 2014, an international forum at LenExpo beginning today that focuses on drawing attention to and providing information about some of society’s most vulnerable members. An exhibition combined with a trade fair will help those interested be better equipped to help this demographic.

Thursday, Apr. 24

Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.

AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.

Friday, Apr. 25

Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from

Saturday, Apr. 26

At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.

Sunday, Apr. 27

Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.

Monday, Apr. 28

The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.

Tuesday, Apr. 29

Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.