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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

Wednesday, Sept. 24


AmChams Human Resources Committee meets this morning to discuss Labor Market Trends in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.



Thursday, Sept. 25


Learn more about tax controls on prices at AmChams Taxation Committee Round Table Meeting this morning at 9 a.m. Vladimir I Golishevsky, Acting Head of the Transfer Pricing Department of the Federal Tax Service of Russia, will be in attendance to discuss amendments to the Russian Tax Code. Register in advance if you wish to attend by emailing all@spb.amcham.ru.


Today is the last day to check out Inventing Everyday Life. Part III: Street exhibition one of Manifestas parallel programs on at 36 Morisa Toreza Prospekt until 8 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 26


Feel yourself Spanish for a little bit at Spain Day, a celebration of all things Iberian this evening at the Derzhavin Mansion in the city center. Speak Spanish during the open classes, practice your footwork on the dance floor to the sounds of flamenco music or chow down on paella while learning more about the countrys culture.



Saturday, Sept. 27


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg welcomes Vityaz from the Moscow region this afternoon at 5 p.m. in a Western Conference showdown. Tickets are still available to the match and can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena or in their merchandise shop on Nevsky Prospekt.


Let Biblioteka restaurant on Nevsky Prospekt teach your children how to be proper gentlemen and ladies during Etiquette for Children, a class for children five to 11 years of age that promises to help them become the cream of society. The class starts at 5 p.m. and costs 600 rubles ($15.60). Call 322 2526 to reserve a spot for your child.



Sunday, Sept. 28


For something different, head to the African Pride Event being held by Nicks Walkabout Tours, who have also helped bring African tribal leaders for the celebration. Check Vkontakte for more information.



Monday, Sept. 29


Experience Baltic culture through the medium of drama during the Baltic House Theater Festival, which starts on Sept. 25 and continues through Oct. 13. Not only are some of the regions most famous dramatic works planned for production but the event acts as a creative laboratory for a future generation of dramatists. Check the events website for more details about the festival.



Tuesday, Sept. 30


Local neo-pagans invite all worshipers to the dedication of a new Heart Tree in Sosnovka Park, Gods Wood. 4 p.m.


The second MIFIC Expo begins today at Lenexpo, providing an interactive platform for industry experts and manufacturers. Accessories, surfaces and interior decoration materials are just some of the things that will be available for perusal at the expo, which runs through Oct. 2.



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