Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by Nemo12, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Nemo12 Member

    USA English
    In the USA, it is very uncommon to use the term "dear" to address friends. An old woman/grandmother might use it to address someone close to them. Its use in emails is considered formal.

    In Russian, is dorogoya/dorogoj commonly used among friends in causal conversation or emails/SMS?

    What is the difference between calling someone a dorogoya and calling someone a "friend"?

  2. palomnik Senior Member

    I'm not a native speaker, but in general I'd say that dorogoy represents something a bit more heartfelt than English dear, and I'd prefer mily as a closer translation.

    When an adjective would be used at all. Russians would have a tendency to use a diminutive form of a given name, or an older woman might use synok or dochenka.
  3. I would say that in Russia it is mostly either used with a great deal of irony or to parody the speech of the peoples from the south of Russia. Otherwise, it is only used inside a very intimate relationship.
  4. Maroseika Moderator

    It is still widely used in the letters in the form of address, and I guess it's much less formal than English "dear".
    However I cannot compare it with "friend" (друг), because it's cannot be used in the same situation, i.e. in the addressing form of the letter one writes to his friend or to his relative.
    However "Дорогой друг" is also possible - in the advertising letter.
    As for usage of дорогой in the spoken language, I'm completely agree with Setwale_Charm.
  5. I was mainly thinking of usage of "дорогой/ая" on its own, as a noun.
    I must also note that in English, this word is often used as an interjection, without a trace of its original meaning.
  6. Q-cumber

    Q-cumber Senior Member

    A bit on the side
    In fact, the words dorogoya/dorogoj are very formal.
    An adjective, dorogoj (as in "Дорогой друг" - dear friend) might be appropriate in a formal toast/speech during a birthday party, and so on.
    As nouns, such a words might be used between spouses as formal (neutral) addresses, "Дорогой, подай соль, пожалуйста!" "Dear, could you pass me the salt please?" ... or, as right said Setwale_Charm, with a great deal of irony. These words normally convey no heartfelt emotions at all, excepting for some very special situations. Grandmas usaually say "мой дорогой"/ "моя дорогая" which sound somewhat more cordial.

    As to me, I never use these words neither verbally, nor in writing . Once upon a time I did an attempt to call my wife "дорогая" and she got somewhat offended by this. :)
  7. Maroseika Moderator

    And you have never begin your letters with "Дорогая бабушка"?
  8. Nemo12 Member

    USA English
    I am very confused by the comments. One person says that dorogoya/dorogoj is a term of endearment, while another says that it is too formal to be used between close friends or lovers.

    To more fully explain the context, I was addressed as dorogoya by someone from Ukraine in a letter. The letter was then signed "kisses". Perhaps I'm missing something but dorogoya did not seem to be used with a great amount of irony, nor did it seem to be a formal address. Perhaps Ukrainians use dorogoya/dorogoj differently?
  9. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Gosh, I have to say that even though I'm a native speaker, I'm also terribly confused as to why our foreros seem to have such a wide range of opinions about the subject! :eek::confused:

    In my personal opinion, ''дорогой/ая'' is certainly used as a form of endearment - and I strongly believe that this is the exact meaning that your friend wanted to convey in his/her letter to you.
    I do not believe that it is particularly formal, as Q-cumber claims.. :confused: The formal way of starting a letter, in my opinion, would be more like ''Уважаемый'' (like ''estimado'' in Spanish).

    As for the irony - Setwale charm has got a point - in some cases the word may have a tinge of irony to it, especially if there has been a problem in a relationship (between spouses or couples) and one partner says something spiteful to the other, and adds ''дорогой-ая'' on the end. But I assure you that this is not the case with you and the letter, Nemo! :)

    I have to say that I think it's a general use of the term and has nothing to do with Russian particularly.
    I mean, you could easily adress someone as ''dear'' sarcastically in English, couldn't you? Same goes for '''chéri(e)' and ''queridо/a''. Unfortunately, I don't speak any other languages... so that's all I can tell you! :)
  10. Q-cumber

    Q-cumber Senior Member

    A bit on the side
    Hello everybody!

    First of all, let's not forget about personal speaking/writing preferences, that depend on many particular factors, such as family or/and local (provincial, regional or whatever) traditions, education, etc.
    Secondly: the rules and traditions of writing letters, either business or personal ones, differ from those for personal conversations. Especially this is applicable to headers and footers of letters. When starting a letter, we choose one of few standard formal addresses, such as Уважаемый Сергей Сергеевич! or Дорогая мама! Most of us would open a letter this way, regardless of whether or not he (she) actually feels any respect towards "Сергей Сергеевич" or true love towards his (her) mother. That's why I call these words formal.

    Well, I am not quite sure...but I don't think so. :) I would rather open a letter by "Здравствуй, бабушка!" ...or "...любимая бабушка".

    It reminds me of: "Дорогая бабушка ... в этот торжественный день позволь...and so on". ;)

    And by no means I'd start a letter to my friend from "Дорогой друг!" or "Дорогой Саня!" :) Such an address would sound just weird in a friendly conversation, wouldn't it?
  11. palomnik Senior Member

    Here's my brief take on it:

    When it is heartfelt, Дорогая would best be translated as "dearest." It certainly carries more weight than English "dear."

    When it is meant to be sarcastic, "my dear" would probably translate the sense better.

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