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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, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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