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The Here, Now and Never

Published: February 26, 2014 (Issue # 1799)


: now, just, soon, never

Way back in Russian 101, I was enchanted by the words (now) and (now). How clever of Russians, I thought, to clarify so simply the distinction between right-this-moment now () and nowadays-at-present now ().

But or should that be ? Ive come to realize that these seemingly simple words have several meanings. They can refer to the past, present and future and have a new now-word friend. They are still enchanting but not so simple. is the nowadays now: (Currently, all apartments must have water meters). Its often used in then-and-now expressions: , (In the past, I loved to go on rides, but now Im afraid).

But its also used as a transition word to indicate a change of topic or task and might be translated as next. You often hear this in the lecture hall: (Now that weve solved the first problem, lets move on to the second). But you can also hear it around the house: (Next we add a little flour and mix it thoroughly).

is the right-this-moment now: (Im busy right now call me back in an hour). But time travels. It can refer to the future in the sense of very soon. ! (Ill be there in just a sec). Or it can refer to an action that just took place in the past. (He just stepped out).

In parental arguments with teenagers, means either right this instant or sometime next year:

Mom: ! (Clean your room!)

Teenager: ! (Im on it, meaning Ill get to it after I finish up on Facebook, try on my new jeans, eat dinner, walk the dog and spend three hours on the phone with my best friend.)

Mom: ! (Now! I mean it!)

And sometimes leaves the temporal dimension and enters the spatial realm to mean right next to: (The forest begins right behind the house).

And then theres a new now word . Okay, its not a new word but a transcription of the way is pronounced. For now it seems to have the same meaning of . (pronounced )? (What are you thinking about right now?)

? (Are you coming?)

(In a sec)

I often get as a one-word e-mail reply after sending in work. It means: Got it, give me a second to look it over.

My favorite slangy use of (or ) is delivered dead-pan and means: Not now, not ever. Say you are listening to your teenage daughter complain she has nothing to wear to a party on the weekend. Her solution? , (Give me your credit card and Ill go and buy a new dress). Your sarcastic response: (When pigs fly).

Your solution? (Now lets take a look at your clothes). Her response: . (In a minute.)

Translation from teenagerese: Like thats going to happen. Ill borrow something from my friend instead. A satisfying .

Michele A. Berdy, a Moscow-based translator and interpreter, is the author of The Russian Words Worth (Glas), a collection of her columns.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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