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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

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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