Na Zdorovye: Common Misconception

The Anthony Burdain’s show, Parts Unknown, aired on November 12, reflected how the Russian culture permeated American way of life and consumption especially vodka, however, it requires some corrections and clarifications.

I teach the Russian language for a while and know that learners have many cultural, linguistic and phonetic challenges. They get conspicuous particularly when you watch some big budget Hollywood movies with well-known actors playing Russians who have very thick accents, so even for native speakers it is almost impossible to understand what they have said unless there are some subtitles provided.

Another example, there is a common misconception in the usage of phrase “na zdorovye”. The meaning of the phrase in Russian is “you are welcome”, “enjoy” or literally “good for health”. When the Russians make a toast as the Americans do in English “to your health”, they say “za zdorovye”.

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