Она стояла в очереди за хлебом

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by PatrickK1, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. PatrickK1 Senior Member

    USA English
    Hi, everyone,

    I've got a quick semantic question for you. How would you intepret the following phrase: "Она стояла в очереди за хлебом."

    "She stood in a bread line." (i.e. she's in a line specifically designated for bread, perhaps in the bakery section of a supermarket)


    "She stood in line to purchase bread." (i.e. she's standing in the check-out line because she wants to buy bread)
  2. DrDIT

    DrDIT Senior Member

    In most cases your first interpretation would be correct. When a specific product (bread) is indicated it usually means that the person is waiting in a line to purchase this very product (like in a bakery dept., or it could be a description of the Siege of Leningrad).
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  3. Maroseika Moderator

    I dare say the first version is correct in all cases. There is even special notion хлебные очереди. This was a common thing not only in Leningrad during the Siege, but all over USSR during the war and some time afterwards, as bread was available only on ration cards.
  4. PatrickK1 Senior Member

    USA English
    Thanks. How would you translate the second scenario? Perhaps a better example would be cigarettes. For instance, you run into a friend waiting in line at the register, and ask, "What are you waiting in line for?" He responds, "I'm in line for cigarettes."
  5. zambala Senior Member

    I think it's still the same. Я в очереди за сигаретами (хлебом)

    - What other guys mean is, historically in USSR there periodically was a deficit of some products or things; So we were running for it; I remember I was a kid and all family was running for a Butter - there was a line for a few hours and you could get butter a certain portion for a person.

    i.e. there was no much distinction between specific/ or checkout = they handed you butter or may be bread, you paid and that's it.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  6. Maroseika Moderator

    "Я в очереди за сигаретами" can be understood correctly (according to your scenario) only if the listener knows what's exactly meant, but even then it would sound ambiguous. Generally, out of context, it means this is namely tabacco queue. More clear would be something like "Я на кассе, за сигаретами" or "Я уже в очереди, хочу сигарет купить".
    Semantically, you want to express two different ideas: First, you are staying in line; second, you are going to buy cigarettes. But Russian expression очередь за чем-либо expresses only one idea: a queue to buy smth. (очередь за туалетной бумагой, за колготками, за бананами).
    That is why the whole problem.
  7. Kirill V.

    Kirill V. Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    I agree with Maroseika. Very clever post.
  8. angelg12 New Member

    очереди бывают только в России )) другим этого не понять...

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