Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Po polsku, по-русски

Monday's WSJ article on Sunday's Russian election showed this photo:

I try to translate any brief thing I see in the paper: protest banners, business signs, billboards like this one, whatever. Even if I have no success it's still a good exercise.

This one was mostly easy if you're familiar with the Russian (and/or Greek) alphabet:

1. MAPTA/ "Mart-a"/ March. The extra A must mean on or at March. I know only a dab of the case endings.

2. ВЫБОРЫ/ "vuibory"...dunno, move on.

3. ПРЕЗИДЕНТA/ Prezident-a...accusative/objective case probably, thus the final A.

4. POCCИИ/ Rossiy/ (of) Russia. Plain old Russia is РОССИЯ, Rossiya; but the genitive/possessive is POCCИИ. We have it so easy in English.

OK...back to #2...guessing purely from context, probably imperative mood, 'vote.' I sound it out again, "vuibory"...don't know that Russian word at all. But it sounds familiar: veebor? vweebor? weebor? Ha! I remember now. When I was a kid, I loved pickles (still do), and always paid attention to all the kinds of pickles at every grocery store. The Mt. Olive Pickle Co. produced the most exotically-named pickle of them all: Polski Wybor. I figured out Polski; but it wasn't 'til I was a parent that I ran into a Pole at the kiddie park who told me wybor means select, choice, as in the best. So ВЫБОРЫ isn't "vote" so much as "select."