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    #1

    dacha and perestroika

    Hello,

    I've always wanted to know if native speakers understand the words dacha and perestroika, transliterated from my native language.
    As for the former, using 'a country house' might give a misleading impression of a big aristrocratic house.
    As for the latter, I'm not sure if this term is used in the English speaking world, especially by those who are in their 20s and younger...

    I'd appreciate it if somebody commented on it.
    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: dacha and perestroika

    I am not a teacher, and I am fifty-mumble years old.

    Without peeking, a dacha is a largish bungalow-like wooden house in the woods. I see gingerbread at the roofline, an attic window, and an enclosed porch. How did I do? I think that fairly literate Americans will know the word at least that much, and if they do not, you should use it anyway because that's what it is. English takes in foreign words like a great big amoeba.

    Now I've peeked. The word is an English word already, as I suspected. My favorite Russian word in English is "polynya".

    "Perestroika" had something to do with Gorby, right? I'm pretty apolitical. I think it was a ramp-up to glasnost. How did I do?

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: dacha and perestroika

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello,

    I've always wanted to know if native speakers understand the words dacha and perestroika, transliterated from my native language.
    As for the former, using 'a country house' might give a misleading impression of a big aristrocratic house.
    As for the latter, I'm not sure if this term is used in the English speaking world, especially by those who are in their 20s and younger...

    I'd appreciate it if somebody commented on it.
    Thank you.
    "Dacha" would be familiar to those of us who have read some of the C19th Russian writers Tolstoy, Dostoyevski, Gogol, etc.

    "Perestroika" and "Glasnost" were quite familiar words 20 years ago.
    "Perestroika" meant personal freedoms.
    "Glasnost" related to more open and accountable government processes.
    Or do I have it the wrong way round?

    • Member Info
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      • Russian
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    #4

    Re: dacha and perestroika

    Quote Originally Posted by Coolfootluke View Post
    Now I've peeked. The word is an English word already, as I suspected. My favorite Russian word in English is "polynya".

    "Perestroika" had something to do with Gorby, right? I'm pretty apolitical. I think it was a ramp-up to glasnost. How did I do?
    Yes, it was Gorbachev who initiated perestroika, and it can be considered to be a step toward glasnost.
    I didn't know 'polynya' was transilterated into English. I was really surprised to know that

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    #5

    Re: dacha and perestroika

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "Dacha" would be familiar to those of us who have read some of the C19th Russian writers Tolstoy, Dostoyevski, Gogol, etc.

    "Perestroika" and "Glasnost" were quite familiar words 20 years ago.
    "Perestroika" meant personal freedoms.
    "Glasnost" related to more open and accountable government processes.
    Or do I have it the wrong way round?
    I'm afraid it's vice versa. "Perestroika" had to do with the restructuring of the country's systems, and 'glasnost' was meant to give the people greater freedom.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
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      • Poland
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    #6

    Re: dacha and perestroika

    To me the word "dacha" has a strong connotation with (of? ) Soviet and post-Soviet officials. They are sometimes said to live in luxurious dachas. I think that's where most Poles know the word from. I wonder if this rings a bell with English speakers. (And I wonder if I used the idiom correctly.)

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    #7

    Re: dacha and perestroika

    Younger people may recognize the world "perestroika" but probably do not understand what it means. In Canada, students often only study the Soviet Union in the context of World War I and World War II. The fall of the Soviet Union is usually studied in elective university courses. Older generations will likely recognize the word and many of them will understand it's meaning.

    "Dacha" is not a word used here in Canada or the United States as far as I'm aware of.

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