Ахаха)) ahaha))) There is a joke about a restaurant guest amd a waiter. The guest,being angry with the coffee quality,asks the waiter - what is this stuff,coffee or tea? The latter says- You don't see the difference? So why worrying whether it is tea or coffee?#))
I noticed that also...left me a little Confused sincei don't know what Borsh is. Lol
[Native Rus Speaker] I can't understand why you write borsch instead borsh. Sch means Щ only in Deutsch, doesn't it? Maybe it's because of relationship of Rus and Deu, because of it all Russians say Г instead Х in the beginnings of the words: Houdini - Гудини, Hitler - Гитлер, Harlem - Гарлем etc.
German sch and English sh are more like Russian ш than щ, as I understand it. It's actually common to transliterate щ as shch (which in German would be schtsch, but I don't know if they ever do that), and sch is sort of an abbreviated form of shch.
That is actually wrong. English "sh" sound is much closer to Russian "Щ" than to Russian "Ш". Meantime English does not really have an analogue of Russian "Ш"; you can read a long discussion of this issue in this thread.
In fact, the only significant difference between English sh and Russian щ is that Russian щ is a long consonant (while e.g. Russian ш is not). So my guess is that the English transliteration of "борщ" piles up all those consonants to indicate the long nature of щ. Otherwise "borsh" would do just fine, and there is definitely no "t" sound in that word in Russian (I've seen it spelt as "borscht").
We write it Гарри Поттер. And Harry is special name, if Harry is British - Гарри, if American - Гэри/Гэрри
And you do realise that Harry & Gary (e.g. Gary Oldman) are actually two different names in English, right? And while Harrison is a name, garrison is a word meaning "гарнизон". I could never get over this particular piece of transliteration idiocy in Russian...
G for H does seem a bit odd, given that Russian has Х - and the translators used it for Sherlock Hhholmes and Mrs Hhhudson in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Sherlock_Holmes_and_Dr._Watson. But there are quite a few of these to get used to - my Russian wife confirms that Э really does get Russian speakers closer to the English pronunciation of Andrew than А would.
How would I phrase "Is this coffee?" compared to "This is coffee". Is it just tone of voice?
You can either use the tone, or you can rephrase - Кофе ли это?
Notice thought, that such question wouldn't work for the assignment. If you say Кофе ли это или борщ? , it would sound theatrical.
I translated борщ as beetroot soup because that's what I learned in a Russian grammar book, but duo says that's wrong. Shouldn't that answer be accepted? Reported on 1/10/16
It is beetroot soup,sure,but there is another one,made of beetroot,named svekolnik (beetroot is свёкла - svyokla),which quite differs being light summer soup served cold. So, борщ is not simply beetroot,it's The Borschhhhhh)))
There is actually also a hot svekolnik, unlike borsch it has only beetroot and maybe potatoes but no other vegetables and no tomato paste for sure.
It is possible to make борщ without beetroot. Sometimes I make it with tomato paste instead. Though I know some peole would argue that it's not a real борщ.
Some people? Борщ without (red) beetroot is щи, not борщ. Some people might still call it борщ, but I would bet the same people would refer to the sludge brewed from acorns as coffee (according to my grandmother, this is what they did in the lean years after the second world war). I can see how the original question ("Это кофе или борщ?") might actually sound meaningful to those people ;-)
While apparently the Wikipedea agrees with you: https://tinyurl.com/ycrq7agl, it would never occur to me to call the sorrel-based soup as "зелёный борщ" -- only as "зелёныe щи". And it's actually one of my favourite soups, so this would definitely not be due to the lack of familiarity. So I wonder if this is regional: for me, the all-encompassing word is "щи" while "борщ" is strictly beetroot-based.
Certainly not in St. Petersburg, and I very much doubt anywhere else. Soup is суп, so there is no particular need to "shorten" this word.