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5.10.16 - 31.10.16
30.12.2016, 16:50

31.10.16 People who know a foreign language have a tendency to attach a special colouring to their messages by using foreign language words. Russian speakers used to resort mostly to Greek and Latin (dead languages) as well as to such modern contact languages as French and German. Now the source language of many spoken borrowings is English. You may have heard "Добавь драйва!" (drive), "Она работает на ресепшн" (reception) etc. For English language speakers the most natural contact  language would be French even when you describe Spanish wines: 

"What percentage of Rioja’s wines display what the French call terroir (“a sense of place” is the closest English translation)?"


terroir 1) почва, земля goût de terroir — особый привкус вина, зависящий от свойств почвы виноградника

27.10.16 Best wishes to the Faculty of Foreign Languages of the Zaporozhye National University, its teaching staff. its students and its graduates on the 50th anniversary! It is my alma mater and I have fond memories of the years at the Zaporozhye State Teachers' College - it was a modest name, but much better to my taste than the ambiguous and racist "national".  The main thing that the Zaporozhye State Teachers' College taught me is that nationalism is a dangerous idea to play with. There were quite a few things in which the Zaporozhye State Teachers' College looks better than the proud "University" of to-day. There were numerous pianoes - now there are none.There were plenty of chairs in the halls - now there are none. And the halls disappeared because of the pressing necessity to build new class-rooms.  These class-rooms wanting air can hardly be called by this name. Much better faired the former smoking-rooms that used to adjoin toilets: they retained their windows when they were turned into class-rooms, at least.  In the Zaporozhye State Teachers' College we had the privilege of having only morning sessions (no afternoon sessions as to-day) What is in common? A brilliant teaching staff and a glaring lack of prominent Anglo-American translation scholars in the library. Don't blame the Dean for it!!! I used to know some deans in person: V. S. Sokirko, Y. M. Ruzhin, Y. A. Zatsniy, N. I. Zlobina, A.N. Prikhodko, G. F. Moroshkina. I wish you remembered the names and their personal contribution to the glory of the Faculty. There were two Great Teachers whom I always remember and cherish their memory: Dmitryi Vissarionovitch Malyavin and Vasilyi Sergeevitch Sokirko who contributed a great desl to what I am now. There are some of the old guard with whom I keep always in touch: Lyosha Pashko who is working at the Medical University, Victor Anankov who is working as a UNO translator, Lyuda Latun who is Professor Emeritus and Igor Bykhun who used to be one of the most brilliant students of the Faculty, Anya Yunatskaya who is working at the Translation Department. And there are many others who work at the Faculty and in many other places and with whom we have ever-lasting bonds of the alma mater. Let the Faculty live for ever!

23.10.16 Resting bitch face, also known as RBF or bitchy resting face, is a term for a facial expression (or lack thereof) which unintentionally appears angry, annoyed or irritated. The Russian equivalent may be синдром стервозного лица. The term has become widely referred to in the media. In 2015 CBS News reported that some plastic surgeons were using plastic surgery to help women with RBF. However, the term is gender neutral (the male equivalent of it - asshole face has never caught up. The concept has been studied by psychologists and may have psychological implications on facial biases, gender stereotypes, human judgment, and decision making.

19.10.16 A brilliant observation to remember for every learner of English: Americans are starting to be anxious about the global spread of the English language. Some time ago, the philosopher Philippe Van Parijs argued that a special language tax should be imposed on native English speakers because they reap such large unearned benefits from having been raised with English as their mother tongue. But it is not how Americans feel today. In our increasingly Anglophone world, Americans have become nakedly transparent to English speakers everywhere, yet the world remains bafflingly and often frighteningly opaque to monolingual Americans. While the world devours America’s movies and follows its politics closely, Americans know precious little about how non-Americans think and live. Americans have never heard of other countries’ movie stars and have only the vaguest notions of what their political conflicts are about.


17.10.16 Take notice how the verbs charge and attack are used interchangeably (the Russian correspondences are бросился в атаку, атака (захлебнулась), наступали, вы атаковали): Ney did what he knew best. He charged. The first frontal attack failed at the last moment as the French ranks were raked with canister shot. Ney, leading the group, reassembled and charged again. ‘Whole ranks fell, only to be replaced by the next ones coming up to die in the same place,’ wrote a Russian officer. When General Miloradovich saw how the French were charging, he exclaimed, ‘Bravo, bravo, Monsieurs les Français, you have attacked with astonishing vigour, an entire corps with a handful of men. It is impossible to be braver!’ He then ordered his gunners to cut them down, which they did.


Reading the text I couldn't but remember the famous poem by Tennyson "The Charge of the Light Brigade".

11.10.16 At the XXIII World Energy Congress the interpreter’s mistake got into the main points of the news:

Происходит радикальное изменение климакса на планете… ой, климата…

(The woman who made the funny slip of the tongue was not young)


7.10.16 Robbie Williams has come under fire from Russian media following the release of new single Party Like a Russian (Веселись по-русски! Отдыхай по-русски! Пируй по-русски! Кути по-русски!, Расслабляйся по-русски! Отрывайся по-русски! Туси по-русски! Зажигай по-русски!), which some have described as “racist”.

The single, the first from new album Heavy Entertainment Show, features a  sample from Prokofiev’s Dance Of The Knights, along with lyrics about an oligarch who "alleviates the cash from a whole entire nation" to "build my own space station". 

“It takes half the western world just to keep my ship afloat,” he sings later in the song; “And I never ever smile unless I've something to promote.”

The video sees the star performing in an opulent mansion, surrounded by ballet dancers and gaudily-dressed brides.

Several commentators have criticised the song and video for its “offensive” stereotyping of Russian people, with one paper suggesting Robbie will "never perform" in Russia again.


5.10.16 Sometimes news headlines baffle us. How will you interpret this one:

James Cleverly 'snog' offer: PM Theresa May replies

Theresa May has urged one of her Conservative MPs to keep his promise to kiss her.

For you to understand the joke you must know the game “snog, marry, avoid”. Its rules are simple. One of the participants is given the name of a celebrity.  The other is expected to make a choice of what he wishes to do with the celebrity: snog, marry or avoid. James Cleverly made the vow in a game of 'Snog, Marry, Avoid' last year when he named the then Home Secretary on live radio.

The name of the game belongs to the class of "untranslatable" units known as cultural and institutional terms (культуронимы или реалии).


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