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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, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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