Friday, July 29, 2005

Top 50 Russian Verbs

There are 555 fully conjugated verbs in my Big Silver Book of Russian Verbs, including enough variants of "to go" to keep Rain Man occupied for much of the next decade. But it's the Top 50 verbs that caught my interest today, particularly a run of these most popular verbs at the back of the book. In a row, I found убирать(to kill), ударять (to strike or hit), умирать (to die), and then, if you haven't gotten the job done yet, уничтожать (to destroy or annihilate). These are top 50 verbs, I'm told. Up there with "to read," "to buy" and "to work." Pretty amazing. I wonder if any other language on the planet can stand toe-to-toe, or toe-tag to toe-tag, with Russian, because that's quite a run, even without throwing in the next two: устраивать(ся) (to place -- as in to place in a coffin) and finally, уходить(to leave -- as in to walk away from said coffin after lowering it into the melted tundra).