Ever feel a bit hesitant ordering a meal in an ethnic restaurant? Well, next time you find yourself ordering in a Russian restaurant, say, here’s a simple way to amaze your friends and startle the waiter.
(Though it could, of course, amaze the waiter and startle your friends. Either way, you come out of it looking good.)
You see, there’s a huge, little-known secret about the Russian language. Little-known except perhaps to eighty billion Russians, or whatever the population number currently is.
Most Americans don’t know about it. Those who do don’t seem to care. Well, it’s time all that changed.
Russian has a letter in its alphabet, a letter that we don’t have. It’s the letter “shch.” That’s one letter. This incredibly important, not to say vital, part of the language of the old Romanov dynasty is easily available to anyone of the Yankee persuasion, even those of us who don’t indulge much in foreign languages – which is to say, just about everybody.
If you say “fresh cheese,” you’ve pronounced it. So you can see how easy it is.
Example: surely we all know the word “tovarich,” which means comrade. Only the Russkies don’t say tovarich; they say tovarishch. And it’s just as easy to say it right.
Now, as for that meal in the Russian restaurant. Amaze your Russian waiter by saying that, unlike the others in your group who enjoy beet soup and who have ordered borsht, you’ll have the borshch. He may burst into tears, suddenly recalling the halcyon days in the dear old Soviet Union, but there’s no question he’ll be impressed.
He may give you an extra dollop of sour cream.
1 year ago