Yes, You Can Learn Russian from Commercials!
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Being in Russia, I run into an interesting commercial frequently shown on TV. No secret, most of the commercials are very annoying and not very clever, but this one - I like. Not only is this ad entertaining, but also because of the language material students of Russian can learn from – forming nouns with suffix -ищ-.
So what does this suffix actually mean? In fact, it has several meanings, but in this commercial, it is used as an augmentative suffix, the only one frequently used in modern Russian.
It is necessary to mention that suffixes do not create new independent words, but they simply modify the meanings of the original words in some way. The augmentative suffixes, for example, reinforce the idea of the original word by turning something ordinary into something large, huge, or even ginormous. Since there are no augmentative suffixes in English, it’s impossible to find a single-word English equivalents to translate the words with suffixes. Sometimes you need to explain them.
book - кни́га – кни́жища -> huge book
house - дом – доми́ще -> huge house
friend - дру́г – дружи́ще -> great friend, buddy, old friend
Now that you can handle the meaning of these words, let’s find out the rule about endings that come after the suffix.
Masculine and neuter nouns take –Е.
дом – доми́ще; де́рево – дереви́ще
Feminine nouns and plural neuter nouns take –А.
кни́га – кни́жища; о́кна – окни́ща
Plural nouns (except for neuter plural) take –И.
кни́ги – кни́жищи; ру́ки – ручи́щи
Nouns in the commercial:
son - сын – сыни́ще
river - река – речи́ща
trees - деревья – дереви́ща
person/people - челове́к – челове́чищи
NB! Please be aware that the suffix -ИЩ- has some other meanings, and you can encounter some words with this suffix that do not carry the meaning of being ‘large’.