Russian adjectives (and adjective-like pronouns) change depending on the gender of the noun and on the case form.
For the subject of the sentence, we use the Nominative case. For example:
- Э́то я́блоко вку́сное. This apple is tasty. (Я́блоко is a neutral noun, so we choose the neutral forms э́то and вку́сное)
- Э́та фе́я до́брая. This fairy is kind. (Фе́я is a feminine noun, so we choose the feminine forms э́та and до́брая.)
- Э́тот вампи́р зло́й. This vampire is evil/angry. (Вампи́р is a masculine noun, so we choose the masuline forms э́тот and зло́й.)
However, in other places of the sentence we need to use after cases. For example, after the preposition «во́зле» we use the Genitive case:
- Во́зле э́того я́блока лежи́т гру́ша. A pear lies near this apple. (Literally: near this apple lies pear.)
- Во́зле э́той фе́и стои́т каре́та. A carriage is standing near this fairy. (Literally: near this fairy stands carriage.)
- Во́зле э́того вампи́ра лета́ет лету́чая мышь. A bat is flying near this vampire. (Literally: near this vampire, flies flying mouse.)
So, in Nominative case we use это яблоко, эта фея, этот вампир. In Genitive case, we use этого яблока, этой феи, этого вампира.
If you need help, you can find the declension tables online. For example, the declension table for этот/эта/это, which lists all the cases and genders (and also the plural forms), can be found here: http://masterrussian.com/aa112800a.shtml
Nouns are declined by case, too. You can find the declension of most of them in the Wiktionary.
The table here is helpful if someone memorise all the forms:
Considering that English has some of the same confusion may help the way you approach Russian. For example: 1) You would use both "he" and "him" to refer to the same person but in different parts of the sentence. 2) You would use either "am", "is" or "are", depending on which pronoun precedes it.
It's an emphatic word order, it works when you emphasise «нет» with intonation. You could hear it in colloquial speech, but we don't often use it in writing because we can't show intonation in writing.
Duolingo doesn't accept emphatic word order, because it's more useful that you learn the neutral word order first.
I believe that would be written "Возле яблока ничего нет." If I understand correctly, where English uses the articles "a/an/the," Russian does not.
In this case the word "это" is used, which is translated as "this" or "that." Because it follows the preposition "Возле" it has to be in the genitive case, so it is written "этого."
Literally 'nothing there-isn't'. Russian uses double negations, so you need to use both the negated pronoun (ничего 'nothing') and negate the verb (isn't). This is similar to phrases like 'there ain't nothing', where both 'ain't' and 'nothing' are negated (some varieties of English use double negations, which makes them closer to Russian).
No, that would probably be expressed with something like «Это я́блоко ни во́зле чего́» (however, this sounds pretty unnatural, I'd normally re-phrase it to use words like «далеко́ от» 'far from' or something like this).
You can make educated guesses by looking at the тominative singular form of the word:
- words ending in hard consonants are usually masculine (стол 'table'),
- words ending in vowels -а, -я are usually feminine (ма́ма 'Mum', земля́ 'earth, land'),
- words ending in -о, -е are neuter (зо́лото 'gold', мо́ре 'sea').
This approach doesn’t always work:
- words ending in soft consonants are either masculine (учитель 'teacher') or feminine (ночь 'night'); often, the suffix can help (e.g. -ость is feminine, -тель is masculine), but not always;
- sometimes masculine words end in -а, -я, especially names of relatives and informal male names (папа 'dad', Дима 'Dima');
- sometimes masculine words end in -о, especially when they express contempt (человечишко 'snide'),
- indeclinable nouns can belong to virtually any gender (бра 'wall bracket lamp' is neuter, шато́ château is masculine or neuter) and can end in anything.
Of course, this doesn’t work if you don’t have a nominative singular form. In other forms, it’s usually hard to distinguish the gender, especially in plural.
The speed of the audio is ridiculously fast. There's no point to having audio set so that beginners cannot accurately hear the words being spoken. We can try to mimic the sounds, but I guarantee you that it won't be correct - it will be more like listening to someone speaking tongues in a fake language.
Please, slow down the audio. Or just get rid of it. It's not doing anyone any good at that speed. Or include a slow-speed option on playback.
It’s talking about the physical proximity.
To say ‘Nothing comes close to this apple’, you need to use a different construction: «Ничто́ не сравни́ться с э́тим я́блоком» (literally ‘Nothing will be compared to this apple’) or «Ничто́ не идёт в сравне́ние с э́тим я́блоком» (literally ‘Nothing goes into comparison with this apple’).
- In the ‘Learn Russian from English’ course, ‘the’ is never translated with «этот» (it can be translated by word order and other means, though). So, ‘the’ is not translated directly, and ‘this’ is «этот».
- In ‘Learn English from Russian’, ‘the’ is always translated with «этот». So, ‘the’ and ‘this’ are translated in the same way.
I don’t think there is a ‘Russian point of view’ on how to translate articles. Articles are absent from the Russian point of view.
Exactly, so different teams used different approaches to translating articles. You might find that French for Russians might use a different approach than English for Russians. And now when we are developing the new English tree for Russians we're not translating the as этот any longer. But that required a significant change to the tree structure and a set of completely new sentences. I cannot reuse almost anything from the old course.