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Coming Out in Russia

Published: April 4, 2014 (Issue # 1804)


Выступать: to come out, literally and figuratively.

Выступать/выступить is a verb pair that translators like to kvetch about. The basic meaning is to come out in some way, either literally or figuratively. All in all, these are not the hardest words to translate. The only problem is that sometimes your brain seizes up, and you find yourself writing the worst sort of translationese imaginable.

Also by this author: Navigating Through the Russian Language

First of all, выступать can be used to describe something that juts out, like body parts. У меня некрасиво выступает живот (My belly is sticking out unattractively). У сына верхняя челюсть намного выступает над нижней (My son has a pronounced overbite, literally, "his upper jaw juts out far over his lower jaw").

Выступать is also used to describe liquids, human and nonhuman, that come out from wherever they usually hide. Пот выступил на лбу (Sweat stood out on his forehead). Слёзы выступили у меня на глазах (My eyes filled with tears). Вода выступает из берегов озера (Water is overflowing the banks of the lake).

Also by this author: A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That

And it is also used to describe things that appear, break out or become visible. Из тумана вдруг выступил громадный корабль (An enormous ship emerged out of the fog). Выступила плесень на потолке (Mold has grown on my ceiling). Сыпь выступила на руке (A rash has broken out on my hand).

But when you combine выступать with people, things get interesting. Sometimes выступать means that people go out together: Войска выступили раним утром (The troops marched out early in the morning). Or that one person breaks away from the crowd: Он выступил вперёд и сказал: Я пойду. (He stepped forward and said, "I'll go").

Or выступать can mean a performance of some kind: На фестивале его группа выступила последней (His group performed last at the festival). The performance might be academic or professional instead of creative: Он выступил на конференции (He spoke at the conference). Несмотря на возраст, он продолжал выступать в печати (Despite his age, he continued to be published).

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphoto’s exhibition “On Both Sides,” chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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