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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!


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Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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RussianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 11:47 PM
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Здравствуйте robert groulx,

Thank you for your kind words. It's great to hear you enjoy learning with us. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


Team RussianPod101.com

robert groulx
Thursday at 01:53 AM
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thank you for he lesson transcript


ps. i do appreciate the help and patience that you have howing me 😄

Wednesday at 01:36 PM
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Hi William,

Russian language is full of proverbs related to education.

"Век живи́ — век учись" is a Russian equivalent to "Live and Learn".It also has a meaning of learning from one's mistakes. While “учится никогда не поздно” simply states that there is no such a thing as age restriction in education process.

Personally, I love idioms and proverbs, especially in comparison with other languages. It gives you an interesting cultural insights.

Tuesday at 06:02 PM
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“you're never too old to learn”= "учится никогда не поздно"

William Hunt
Friday at 07:53 PM
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I beg to differ on the English version. "Live an learn", for an American at least, is a phrase of consolation. Someone gets screwed (usually when dealing with another person), and the listener shrugs or shakes their head and says, well, "live and learn." I.e. the person will know better next time. Live and learn is far closer to "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". What Век живи́ — век учи́сь more accurately tranlsates to the expression "you're never too old to learn". This is, of course, the opposite of "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". But then again, English is the only language you can chop a tree down, then chop the same tree up....