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Lesson Transcript

Oksana: [Здравствуйте, меня зовут Оксана]. Hello, everyone! My name is Oksana and I will keep entertaining yet educate you with Russian proverbs. Today, we’re going to learn one, rather philosophical saying, a favorite of Russian elders and an integral part of school mottos and library posters.
Oksana: Here it is: [Век живи - век учись]. Literally, it means: “Live a century, learn a century!” and the moral is simple: never cease to learn things. We can translate it into English as “Live and learn!”. Let’s break down this phrase.
Oksana: The first word is [век] which means “century”. [Век]. Then, we have [живи] – “live”. [Живи]. And, the last word is [учись] which means “learn”, “study”, “educate yourself”. [Живи] and [учись] are two verbs that we use in an imperative or command form: “Live and study!”. And, why “century”? Well, nowadays we see more and more people celebrating their 100’s birthday, but in the times when the proverb was born, 100 years of life sounded more like a myth to common people. Therefore, a century of life is used to emphasize the need to study all life long, no matter how long you live, even if you live the whole 100 years. Have you ever heard of a woman named Gustava Bennett Burrus? As a great-great-grandmother she graduated from Richmond High School at the age of 97? That’s almost a literal example for our proverb and how inspirational that is. So, [Век живи - век учись]. When it comes to study in Russian, a century might be a bit too much for it, but in general it’s a beautiful long, long term goal. Good luck, everyone! And, see you next time!