It’s official. We might not need to learn any more new words in Russian.
If what’s been appearing on the internet lately is for real, you can take an English word, Russian it up a little bit, and you’re good to go. For example, the IT guy becomes айтишник. (Really??)
Take a look for yourself…
Those are all from one website, which I follow solely because they constantly use these kinds of words. You might think it’s just this website that’s guilty of this, but nope. Let’s go on…
Trash is from a friend who, if asked, will tell you she doesn’t speak any English. The others are a Russian news site and a Ukrainian blogger. To me, this shows that English within Russian is waaaaaaay more extensive then we think. Remember in your very first Russian class, when the teacher promised that you’ll get a few freebie words like компьютер and студент? But what about ноу хау, хэппи бёздэй, and уик-енд? It turns out there’s an entire WORLD of things we can use English for. But I say this with a few reservations:
- Maybe it’s like swear words. If you’re not a native speaker, you’re just not going to sound cool saying it. Which leads to the next point…
- When I was just starting to learn Russian, I had a coworker from St Petersburg. I’d encountered the word собеседование, interview, and could not pronounce it. The sounds kept getting all tangled up in my mouth. Finally I just started saying интервью, which I’d hear Russian speakers say before. This coworker was not having any of that, though. If she heard me use интервью, she’d get all snippety and tell me the correct word was собеседование and only собеседование. I suspect she would have the same reaction upon hearing фэшн instead of мода or мейк ап instead of макияж.
- Sometimes there’s just not a good equivalent in Russian. We do this all the time in English- je ne sais quoi, anyone? So I get it, because really, how would you say хасл хард using Russian words? Работай сильно sounds like it’s coming from a government official or a factory boss.
- The big question, then, is why плиз instead of пожалуйста? Why трак instead of грузовик? And why do Russian speakers always, always, always say сорри?
Another fascinating (and perhaps easier-to-understand) linguistic quagmire is the world of the “Russian community”. My in-laws have lived in these communities in four different American states now, because seriously, wherever you go, there’s likely already a Russian community there. The communities they’ve lived in are close-knit, usually religious, and most people over 30 don’t speak English very well. Everyday life still happens in Russian, but it’s really interesting how the English language creeps in there. When we’re in that setting and an English word appears, I’m not sure if it’s actually used in Russian or if it’s just something people have picked up from living in the US. There’s a funny comedy sketch about this topic- Два эмигранта в США. I haven’t heard anyone say хау ду ю дуешь? … yet! … but here are a few things I have seen from local Russian speakers.
What do you think? Will we soon be talking like this? 😉