Traditionally, a forest was a royal preserve, kept for hunting, to which particular laws applied. I think this distinction has disappeared, but there is still a sense that a wood that is worked, in the sense of timber being harvested etc., should not be called a forest. Note: the reservation of forests as Royal Perogatives is why they tend to be larger than woods.
In Britain this distinction has pretty much disappeared since our navy-building in the 17th and 18th centuries have left us with relatively few wooded areas, all of which are worked or managed in some way.
However, as Russia still has large tree-covered areas, I wondered whether this distinction between wild and managed areas was made in the language.
Wow, thanks for such an insight!
To my knowledge, there is no distinction between wild and managed woods. There are, however, some words for specific types of woods (or forests?) such as тайга́ (coniferous forests in Siberia; I suspect it might be the most common word to refer to the surrounding forests there. In fact, I think this word exists in English as a loanword) or бор (pine woods) or дубра́ва (oak woods; from "дуб", oak). The last two words are quite uncommon though, especially дубрава – at least where I live. They have some poetic flavour. To mention other forest-related words, there’s ча́ща (a thicket) and ро́ща (a grove).
Thank you - I love the way that you can easily specify the type of woodland in Russian! Very useful.
To add to your list of wood-related words: there is also a coppice. It is commonly used nowadays to simply mean 'a small clump of trees', but it originally meant 'a plantation of trees being managed for their wood'. The earlier meaning is still current in the verb to coppice - this is when trees are cut back (to ground level often) in order to stimulate new growth.
I should make clear that the distinction between wood and forest has largely disappeared in British England (along with most of our native woodland!) and I am unsure whether it ever existed in American usage. Incidentally, it explains the ambivalent reputation of foresters in British folktales: although it now means simply 'someone who works in a forest' (with a few exceptions, such as the Royal Foresters), a forester used to be a sort of early policeman, who punished poachers on behalf of the king.
And taiga is interesting too. It seems that, as often happens, English has taken a word from Russian and then shifted its meaning. In English, it does not simply refer to the coniferous forests of Siberia, but to those of northern latitudes. Climate plays a part in the definition.
Hence the word conveys an impression not of thick forest, but the sparser tree coverage near the tree line at the Artic Circle.
Thank you, too! They should hire you to write dictionaries. :D
When I was thinking how to render "роща" in English, I actually hesitated between "grove" and "coppice" because dictionaries give both as a translation. What made me choose "grove" was the photo and definition here. Роща is just a small group of trees growing for whatever purposes.
Come to forests and woods again, it strikes me as typical for Middle English to reserve a French borrowing for something related to the king and the high society and leave the native Germanic word for common people. :) Someone who guards the forest in Russian is лесни́к or лесни́чий.
Taiga, in fact, is also used in Russian as a geographic term meaning coniferous forests in northern latitudes, so one could safely say one went to тайга in Canada, but to me personally is sounds a bit strange to talk of тайга outside Russia and outside specific geographical settings.
You are quite correct! There is a distinct pattern in English of adopting the Norman term for something pertaining to the aristocracy, whilst retaining the old English word for the aspect dealt with by the commons. (The distinction is illustrated best by the origins of words describing farm animals compared to those used for their meats.)
I hope I never gave you the impression that I prefer a crowd source to a dictionary, hud214. I simply prioritise the current edition over one published over 100 years earlier, when dealing with translating contemporary English. (I agree wholeheartedly that ancient dictionaries are an excellent resource when the text being read is contemporary to them.)
You might be interested to know that I tried your experiment and got... FLAMINGOES!!
crowd source? i don't know nothing, but i was led to believe that google doesn't crowd source. they use proprietary algorithms (that i mean secret) that return the most relevant search results not the most popular. though i wouldn't imagine google to be above lying and/or cheating. the OED on the other hand updates their dictionary according to usage which sounds more like crowd sourcing to me. in any event i give you the gift of the word "stand". use it as you see fit. (if you feel you already had the word "stand", think of this as a double. like collecting baseball cards. let us not get lost in semantics.)
I'm quite sure you could say "a stand of trees". Here is wordreference with reference to the Oxford English Dictionary no less: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/stand-of-trees.2923191/
Adding one note to this very informative discussion on the classification of woodland in English and Russian:
In N. American English (Canadian, anyway), a small plot of trees grown for harvest would be called a woodlot. For example, a farmer might have a woodlot from which firewood is gathered. However, I don't think there is any non-bureaucratic term for the many large regions of Canadian forest which are managed for timber. In general speech, "woods" is just a more poetic term for forest.
PS. I'm familiar with the word taiga from biology classes, but in that context it means specifically the transitional biome, in between forest and tundra, as @daughterofAlbion noted. For some reason, I'd always assumed the word was borrowed from a North American native language. I certainly didn't realize that in Russia, тайга́ referred to a specific forest. It sounds like the equivalent of the Boreal Forest in Canada (a name which can be used both for the dense forest that stretches across most of Canada and for the "taiga" region to the north of it).
Accusative of лесis just лес.
I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) it's in the locative case? That would make sense.
The locative case isn't used anymore because it's pretty much a part the prepositional case with certain prepositions. They follow the same rules, too. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locative_case#Russian