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One Born Every Minute

Published: July 16, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



Photo: A. Makhonin / Vedomosti

: tomake astupid mistake, slang

I havent checked TheWords Worth mailbox ina few weeks lets see lots ofquestions about language andcurrent events. Forexample, If France can outlaw English words, why cant Russia? signed byIvan Francophile.

So, hows that working out forFrance, Ivan? Why dont you get back tome after le weekend. Andheres agood question: Can you say hashtag inRussian? Answer: Yes. Oh, andanother topical question: Why should we say (in Ukraine)? Answer: Why not? What have you got against Ukrainians?

Now heres aninteresting question: What does mean? This is aword I have some acquaintance with, mostly because it has been used inreference tomy behavior.

Im kind ofa naive jerk, which is themeaning ofthe root ofthis word: . is adupe, mark, sucker, patsy often atrusting soul fromthe provinces who is tricked out ofhis or her money or belongings inthe big city. first produced theword akind ofgame, lottery, or contest inwhich the can never win.

has themeaning ofgetting caught inone ofthose games, or being hoodwinked insome way. Forexample, if you are thinking ofbuying acar, as soon as you check out offerings onInternet, you will see helpful articles like: (How tobuy acar without getting scammed.)

can also mean togoof up, tomake astupid mistake: . , (I slipped up. I let my guard down, andno one should do that with you.)

Another question inmy mailbag is about theslang meaning of, which inliterary Russian means topour out, dump, or empty. Innonliterary Russian, i.e., slang, it has more or less thesame meaning, only it is applied topeople instead ofliquid: todump someone. Usually it has thesense ofbetrayal: , - (Its been obvious fora while that Putin is selling out theseparatists inthe southeast).

Another slang meaning of is toleak information, what politicians anddisloyal employees do: 20 (Twenty percent ofrespondents said they would agree toleak information toa company that is acompetitor).

Thetoughest question inmy mailbox concerned thephrase , which means tomaliciously interpret someones actions so it seems that they are illegal andfall under anarticle () ofthe criminal code. Its like atrumped up charge, but based onsomething that might be interpreted as illegal. Thetricky part is figuring out aconcise way oftranslating thephrase ina headline: . Thebest I can come up with is Attempts are being made tobuild acase ofextremism against Nemtsov.

Thats pretty lame andin any case would not pass muster atthis newspaper, where we like tocite theagent ofaction, i.e., who exactly is building thecase. But that would require (a leak fromthe prosecutors office,) which would mean that (a staffer decided tosell out his colleagues.) Andthe colleagues would moan: ! ! (We trusted him. We blew it).


Michele A. Berdy, a translator andinterpreter, is the author ofThe Russian Words Worth (Glas), acollection ofher columns.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Nov. 28


Join table-top game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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