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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

Sunday, Jan. 25


Get out your running shoes for the 46th International Road of Life Marathon. Dedicated to the end of the blockade, three runs are offered 5, 21 and 42 kilometer runs starting in different places outside the city. Busses leave from 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhny at 8 a.m. but check complete details and registration fees on www.newrunners.ru/race/doroga-zhizni-2015



If you are planning a wedding, head over to the Azimut Hotel, 43/1 Lermontovsky Prospekt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day includes live music, free dance classes and vendors selling wedding dresses, accessories, cakes and services to help make your special day perfect. Admission is free.



Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







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