The mouse-over hints said that one of the meanings of спокойной is "quiet", so I put in "quiet night, mama", figuring that this must be the way the Russian phrase is constructed literally, and was marked wrong. Before anyone flies in to tell me that the literal construction of one language often doesn't apply in another language, I know (it blows my mind how often people seem to think that no one knows that). That's not the point. I'm not here to learn English; I already speak English and am very well acquainted with the manner in which the phrase is supposed to be constructed in English. If I punch in the literal translation of another language in English, it's not going to make me magically forget the way the phrase is supposed to be constructed in English. The point is that if it forces me to translate this as "good night" every time, then my mind is going to associate it with "good" night instead of what it's actually saying, and then when I have to translate it from English to Russian, I'll likely find myself using добрый instead. Now, if спокойной doesn't actually translate literally to quiet, and the mouse-over hint is just wrong, then this entire comment is moot, and I'd like to know what it does actually mean. lol.
I see what you're saying Tor_Heyerdal, but I side with duolingo and those who developed this course on this one.
Let me play devil's advocate here for a bit by giving an example in English. Off the top of my head, the best example I can think of is "What's up?" which means "What is going on/happening?" in English. Granted, the word "up" refers to something in a higher position, but the phrase "What's up?" isn't asking about what is located in a higher position. In fact, it is asking about what is going on ... right here, right now.
If I were to type in for my response, "What is located in a higher position?" and duolingo marked my answer as correct, I would be disappointed in the program because it would be evident that I had missed the meaning of the phrase as it is spoken, understood, and otherwise used in expression.
To put that a little more succinctly, your answer has to make it clear that you've understood the sentence. If you answer "quiet night", is it clear from that that you've understood that "спокойной ночи" is equivalent to the English expression "good night" - I don't really think so.
Lisa, i can understand your example of "what's up" but i also wouldnt expect a learning program to teach slang. I would expect a "how are things" or "how are you" sort of expreasion. Which is what this program is doing.
I'll use a spanish example of "quantos anos(~) tienes" It's important to understand the context, "how old are you" but it's equally important to understand that the way the language works is "how many years do you have" and even though it sounds funny in english, it's common in spanish.
When i think "good day" Добрый день my english logic and grammar would think "good night" Добрый ночи as a perfectly appropriate response. That's why i think it's important to understand the literal translation of "(have a) quiet night" and teach people WHY they say it that way, show them the context.
May be that could be a new little button next to the comments and the flag; pit a little book amd it pops up examples of how its used, like how your example of what's up.
You're mistaken. Спокойной ночи! and Доброй ночи! are used interchangeably when you part with someone because either you or the other person is going to bed. But only Добрый вечер! can be used when you meet someone at night. If it's past midnight, you would use some other form of greeting.
Why is "Спокойной" pronounced without the o at the end? it sound like "СпокойнЙ" Аlso is there some kind of a rule when O is pronounced as A.
О is only pronounce as O when stressed. In the syllable preceeding the stressed one it is pronounce as uh; it is also pronounce as uh if it is first letter of the word in which the first syllable is unstressed. In all other syllables O is pronounced as shwa. So, for example, голова (head) sounds like the last 3 syllables of the phrase "tiger love ah", колокол (a big bell) sounds like the first 3 syllables of the phrase "call a collapse" and опора (a supporting structure) sounds like "up orra". By the way, in all syllables except fot the stressed one, the pronunciation of A and O is identical. Парок (nice steam) is pronounced the same as порог (threshold), резко (sharply) is pronounced the same as резка (cutting), "а кошка" (and the cat) sounds the same as "окошко" (a little window) etc.
Many thanks for the explanation. This webpage (http://masterrussian.com/aa061500a.shtml) says that желáть is one of a group of verbs which takes the genitive when its object is 'abstract or indefinite', which I can see would make sense with ночь. Since добрый вечер and доброе утро are not in the genitive, does that mean there is not an implied желать in these constructions?
So how do Russians translate the American habit of adding Boy to a name to the younger bearer of a name in a family?
LingvaLupo was quoting the American TV series "The Waltons", in which the head of the family is called John, so his eldest son, who is also named John, is called John-Boy, both in his family and in the local community.
Depends on a translator. I'm pretty sure I saw "-младший" (Jr.) being used in this kind of situations. For example: "Джон-младший". That's what I would use as translator, too... Probably something else could be used. In my family there are two Sashas: my sister and my second cousin once removed. So, there could be a situation when talking about my cousin I would use "мелкая/маленькая Саша" or "little Sasha", because my sister isn't little anymore and everyone understands who I'm talking about.
The word for "night" sounds similar in a lot of European languages, as it's a pretty basic concept. For instance, Spanish noche comes from Latin nox, which is also related to German Nacht, Swedish/Norwegian natt and Russian ночи. English "night" even used to sound like German Nacht (which is also nacht in Dutch), but we lost the gh sound (/x/, like Spanish jota) and now it's silent.
"Night" is even distantly related to Sanskrit नक्ति (nákti); all of these words come from the Proto-Indo-European *nókʷts, which gave rise to most of the languages of Europe (minus Finnish, Estonian and Basque) as well as to Persian and Sanskrit.
Russian is in Balto-Slavic *naktis, in the "Descendants" section.
There is "Tips and notes" section explaining the Cyrillic if you scroll the page down a little: screenshot. The Russian text is written in Cyrillic in all of the tasks too (if it is not, you can use the button to switch the alphabet), so you can practice it.
UPD: You can also enter your answers in Cyrillic, more about this can be read here: Russian: the Alphabet and the Keyboard