Speak literary Russian or face fine, Muscovites warned

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Stefan Sobanski  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:32
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
Retrograde, Xenophobic, Anti-Progressist, Close-Minded Russian Politicians Jun 24, 2014

I'm really glad I don't live in Russia - the general population has to deal with a retrograde government. Can't the authorities just relax and let the public make up their own minds about such issues? I find it hard to believe that using such English neologisms will taint the Russian language to a terrible extent; it's just another lame way to control the population by making them pay. It's quite frankly disgusting.

 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 17:32
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Take it easy:) Jun 24, 2014

Relax. Zhirinovsky is a well-known joker. He's been playing this role for 20+ years. Probably, every country's got one. One Australian politician behaves exactly like Zhirinovsky, and guess what? He's been elected and he is every day on the TV!

As for the Americanisms, devil is not so black as he is painted. I am pretty sure that Facebook's and hamburger's future is safe in Russia, on the other hand, it would be great to get rid of coffee breaks, weekends and other unnecessary Americanisms - we've got perfectly suitable Russian words for these concepts.


 

James Hodges  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:32
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Not Just Russia Jun 25, 2014

This idea that "culture is ending and the barbarians are at the gate" is not just in Russia. I seem to remember that our French friends occasionally argue the merits of bringing in legislation to protect the language from the scourge of Anglais.

Here in Japan there is also a long history of politicians and others getting on their hobby horse and whining about the collapse of Japanese cultural uniqueness under the weight of foreign "loan words." Such arguments, however, sometimes go astray. I remember years ago one politician saying that "Japanese has a subtlety not found in English." This was all said in Japanese except for the word "subtlety." There was also the recent court case of the pensioner who took the national broadcaster (NHK) to court for using too many "loan words" in their TV programs. In that case, however, any sense of ridicule towards the old man needs to be weighed up against the realization that his linguistic background is probably a bit different from the mainstream of society.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
A question of nuance Jun 25, 2014

James Hodges wrote:
I remember years ago one politician saying that "Japanese has a subtlety not found in English." This was all said in Japanese except for the word "subtlety."

Couldn't help but smile when I read this. I've more than once had Japanese people give me a variation on "Foreigners don't understand the nuance in Japanese" - with the word "nuance" used in its English form!


 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:32
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes, well, at least the French have words to substitute the English ones Jun 25, 2014

up to a point, at least. Russian has many loan words. In some languages they're rather these kind of 'modern' words like computer, even universal words like democratic (as the Guardian pointed out), but in Russian even something simple like 'floor' comes straight from the French (etagh) and the word for 'potato' is 'kartofel' from the German. My Russian is basic, but even I can see it's a bit late now to try and curb the trend. They should have done that when Czar Peter the Great opened up Russia to the world (or allowed Russians to embrace Western culture).
If the largest amount of your upper classes only ever speaks either French or German on a daily basis, then it's only a matter of time before it will press its stamp on the language of the masses.


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 17:32
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Whom to blame? Jun 25, 2014

My Russian is basic, but even I can see it's a bit late now to try and curb the trend. They should have done that when Czar Peter the Great opened up Russia to the world (or allowed Russians to embrace Western culture).

Well, maybe basic Russian is not good enough to jump into conclusions;). My knowledge of Latin (very modest, I admit, only 2 years at the University level) tells me that French and English have borrowed a lot from Latin. Should we put blame on Casear for that?


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No more loan words than most European languages (including English) Jun 25, 2014

Kirsten Bodart wrote:

up to a point, at least. Russian has many loan words. In some languages they're rather these kind of 'modern' words like computer, even universal words like democratic (as the Guardian pointed out), but in Russian even something simple like 'floor' comes straight from the French (etagh) and the word for 'potato' is 'kartofel' from the German. My Russian is basic, but even I can see it's a bit late now to try and curb the trend. They should have done that when Czar Peter the Great opened up Russia to the world (or allowed Russians to embrace Western culture).
If the largest amount of your upper classes only ever speaks either French or German on a daily basis, then it's only a matter of time before it will press its stamp on the language of the masses.


If anything, I'd say Russian has fewer loan words. There's actually only the tiniest handful of French and German words in the language. Your two examples are really not representative of the language as a whole.


 

Michal Fabian  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:32
Member (2012)
Dutch to Slovak
+ ...
Strange logic indeed Jun 25, 2014

Kirsten Bodart wrote:

Russian has many loan words. In some languages they're rather these kind of 'modern' words like computer, even universal words like democratic (as the Guardian pointed out), but in Russian even something simple like 'floor' comes straight from the French (etagh) and the word for 'potato' is 'kartofel' from the German. My Russian is basic, but even I can see it's a bit late now to try and curb the trend. They should have done that when Czar Peter the Great opened up Russia to the world (or allowed Russians to embrace Western culture).
If the largest amount of your upper classes only ever speaks either French or German on a daily basis, then it's only a matter of time before it will press its stamp on the language of the masses.


By that logic, you might as well remove one third of the English vocabulary, since it's all words of a French (and, ultimately, Latin) origin (such as the word 'origin'icon_smile.gif. Or class. Or basis. Or press. Or masses.) You might argue that over the centuries, these words have come to be an integral part of the English language - but then again, the same is true for etagh and kartofel in Russian.


 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:32
Dutch to English
+ ...
Whoawhoa Jun 25, 2014

It was only a thought. I wasn't making any argument apart from the fact that the Russians shouldn't complain about 'loan words'. It depends how far you want to go with trying to get rid of them. I mean, you can ban any modern word like Facebook or you can go further and ruin your language by inventing new words for anything that sounds faintly foreign. In that case they would have to change considerable numbers of words and possibly run courses on proper Russian too. (English too of course, but this wasn't about English, was it.)

That's all.

My, my...


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:32
Russian to English
+ ...
I agree--there aren't too many foreign words in Russian Jun 25, 2014

compared to other languages. Also, most Russians speak more or less standard language--no big regional differences, or social differences. I don't believe the language is in any type of danger--perhaps just from slang--to some extent--as can be seen on some less professional sites.

I personally would be more worried about Polish, which assimilates some new words --sometimes total weirdos, as a sponge, which then acquire the life of their own--disregarding any natural phonological and declensional rules.


[Edited at 2014-06-25 16:31 GMT]


 


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