Oxymoron in Russian
How the impossible becomes possible
Figures of speech make the language brighter. Once one has started learning Russian, he or she will wonder about the diversity of stylistic devices of this language. One of them is oxymoron – usage of contradictory elements, which contain a concealed point. It is literally translated as “witty-silly”, and it makes oral and written speech more expressive, often adding extra shades of meaning. People express their opinions on certain subjects, creating a comprehensive and vivid image of them. Psychologically, oxymoron is described as a way of solving an unexplained situation.
Ideas, used in oxymoron, harmonically make a conjunction, drawing an attention to the semantic contradiction of the subject or fact. Oxymoron must contain an emotional and logical contrariety. Otherwise, it is a stylistic mistake or catachresis – wrong or unusual collocations. For example, белая ворона (white crow) is not an oxymoron. There are pigment-deprived crowds in vivo, and in that way are often described people, who are not similar to others.
Oxymoron is often used in Russian poetry:
И день настал. Встаёт с одра
Мазепа, сей страдалец хилый,
Сей труп живой, ещё вчера
Стонавший слабо над могилой.
— А. С. Пушкин. Полтава
Кого позвать мне? С кем мне поделиться
Той грустной радостью, что я остался жив?
— Сергей Есенин. «Русь советская»
Living corpse and sad joy express pathetic and existential moods of the poets and their characters. Writers and filmmakers often use paradoxes of the oxymoron to attract attention to their works. Titles “Горячий снег” (Hot snow), “Оптимистическая трагедия” (Optimistic tragedy), “Невыносимая легкость бытия” (The unbearable lightness of being), “Конец вечности” (End of eternity), “Обыкновенное чудо” (Usual marvel), are well-known to those, who have even never read these works.
Among the most famous oxymoron examples is the novel of Nikolai Gogol “Мертвые души” (The dead souls). Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? It means fictitious workers, who are listed, but don’t really work or even exist. This expression is often used in common language nowadays.
Oxymoron is often used in advertising. For example, инвестиции на рынке форекс (investments on the forex market) is a professional oxymoron, as far as private currency market cannot be an object for investments, only for speculations.
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How to make your Russian "perfect"
or Introduction to Imperfect & PerfectImagine following situation - your boss, who speaks Russian, tries to give you work and the only thing you can do is to make a promise that you will definitely do the work. But there is one problem – you do not how to say this promise in Russian. The question would be how to tell your boss about a finished future action in such complex Russian language.
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Russian number's system is a tricky one but this will impress you!If you are a Russian teacher you are used to hear that Russian is so complicated, Russian has a lot of long words and Russian grammar is terrible.Therefore if suddenly one student tells you that Russian is very logical and has words and concepts for everything – you are nicely surprised and feel a little bit proud.