Надежда Александровна Власова

Имя: Надежда
Анкета преподавателя: Nadezhda Vlasova
Надежда Александровна Власова -> Learn Russian words / Учим русские слова
Today we will talk about the word "bear" (медведь) in Russian. Bear, as matryoshka or samovar, is considered to be a symbol of Russia. Some people really think that bears are walking down the streets of Russian cities! Of course, it is not true. As for me, I saw bears only in the zoo. Frankly speaking I do not think that meeting a bear is a great success, because they are very big and strong beasts of prey. There is a myth that bears are clumsy. Bears are very clever animals and are able to run fast.
In Russia there are two kinds of bears, brown bear (in the first picture) and polar bear (in the second).
It is the largest animal in the Russian forests. Therefore, it is often called the "master of the forest."
The word "bear" in Russian several meanings:
1. The Bear - Animal (see pictures above).
2. Bear - strong, tall, awkward man.
3. Bear - participant of the stock market, which is bearish on the stock price.

Why the bear is called "Bear"? Many scientists believe that the word "bear" is a description of the animal, not its name. The bear was a sacred animal for the Slavs, so its name could not be said aloud. This name has not been preserved in Russian language. Instead, people used the expression "the one who eats the honey" - "меду - ед." This expression became the name of the animal. However, this name also was rarely used,  as people were afraid of bears and respected them. Therefore, in Russian fairy tales and songs bear often is called Michael Potapovich (Ivanovich), host, brown, clubfoot (Михаил Потапович (Иванович), хозяин, бурый, косолапый).
Why the Russian bear was named Michael? Between the Slavic word "bear" and the name of Michael, which is in many languages (en. Michael, it. Michele, sp. Miguel, ger. Michael, fr. Michel, etc.) there is no direct connection. The name came into Russian and other European languages of Hebrew, and for the character of Russian fairy tales stuck, apparently, because of a consonance.

This is the bear from Russian fairy tales. In fairy tales bear is often strong, angry, but gullible and not very smart.
Bear is the character of many Russian fairy tales. Some of them you can read on my website ("Колобок" и "Три медведя"; recommemded level of PFL is B1 and upper).

Here's another famous Russian Bears:
a symbol of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow:

a symbol of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi:

The similarity of these two bears is not accidental, of course.
And here's another favorite Russian bear - the hero of the cartoon "Winnie the Pooh and all-all-all" (a wonderful book written by English writer A.A. Milne and translated by Russian poet Boris Zahoder).

In conclusion, I suggest you to watch the cartoon series "Masha and the Bear." It tells about the friendship between a little girl Masha and the big brown bear. This is the first cartoon series - the story of their acquaintance. Bear is not evil at all, but very caring and patient.

Перевод (ru-en)
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