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Lesson Transcript

Oksana: [Здравствуйте, я Оксана.] I’m Oksana and today we’ll continue exploring the Russian mindset through proverbs and idioms. Well, what else can reflect Russian culture better than a laconic phrase of wisdom formed by centuries and generations? Today’s phrase explains the Russian attitude towards feelings and relationships.
Oksana: Here’s the idiom: [Любовь зла, полюбишь и козла]. If we translate it literally, we’ll get: “Love is evil. You’ll love even a goat.”
Oksana: Love is the keyword here. [Любовь]. [Зла] literally means “evil”, “mean”. [Зла]. The English translation would be: “Love is blind!” which sounds a little bit more subtle and diplomatic where Russian evil love implies that some kinds of relationships shouldn’t exist according to some standards, but the mean lady made them happen and all we can do is to accept the fact as there is. The next word we have is: [полюбишь] which means “you will love”. Yes, all in one word: [Полюбишь]. Then, we have [и] which means “and” or, in our case, “even”. And, the last word is: [Козла] which means “goat”. If you search for the word [козел] in a dictionary, the only meaning you will find will be a “goat”. But, here’s a secret for you: [козел] is also a commonly used word for “unpleasant man” to put it mildly. Though it’s hard to say what exactly the creator of this phrase meant, the literal “goat” is a hyperbole meaning that any living creature can be loved no matter how good or bad the match is. Or, was this proverb written by an angry woman expressing her frustration with men or her anger at a terrible choice made by her daughter? No matter what the origin is, Russians believe in pure love without any supplementary conditions or correct circumstances. And even if a couple looks ridiculously unequal under some parameters , their relationship should be taken with the maximum of humor, but generally seen as a personal choice based on pure emotions and true love which can’t be judged, but only accepted. So, once again: [Любовь зла, полюбишь и козла]. Love is blind! So, don’t be confused by stereotypes and conventional standards. Love shouldn’t have any limits! [Удачи и до встречи!].