The Russians are no dumbies

Cultural fest today and tomorrow. My Russian mate last night sent this:

Interestingly [for me only], I understood much of it but less of what the gals were singing, got the general idea. You could get most of it too.

There are clearly things I miss out on, e.g. where his accent’s from, which accent he’s taking off, e.g. Chuckchi, many hidden things in the humour. At the start, he says, ‘O chorm …’ short for street jargon ‘o chorm bazaar,’ meaning ‘what the heck, what the F’.

My mate was forever trying to get me to use high Russian in my elevated status as Professor and to leave the street jargon alone but I had to shop on the street and some jargon was useful, even amusing to locals.

In your humble blogger’s case, he’s such a mongrel mix of influences now that no nation would claim him as a native, the downside to drifting.


# “A little bit of information: The short film was directed by Sergey Vasiliev from the AMG VFX studio, special effects for the TV series Chernobyl, Epidemic, etc. the Bloody Baron in The Witcher 3 and Victor Vector in the game Cyberpunk 2077 speak in that voice. The song is sung by Liliana Bush and Daria Shcherbak from the Vanya folklore ensemble, a graduate of Gnesinka.”

# Cyberpunk taps into underground humour that was all over the place – I had on disk the Lord of the Rings in jargon, hilarious. In one place, Gandalf blows things up in the village and the narrator drily remarks, ‘Nu ka, zhakni,’ roughly meaning ‘oh well, blow the f***er up’, which is itself a reference to a military approach – it’s through these things I learnt much about the ‘narodnii’ or people’s minds.

# Language – Я посмотрел этот ролик 5 раз в течение дня. Боюсь, что завтра опять посмотрю – means five times in that day, and tomorrow will watch again. [Roughly says that].

There’s a word often used: ‘pебятки’, as in ‘Ребятки, а вот хорошо!’ Roughly meaning, ‘Guys, simply great.’

‘Rob yat ki’ means ‘guys’, ‘bros’, chaps and chapesses. It’s for those from the hood, not family. You could also open with, if you were joining a group sitting about chewing the fat, ‘V’sem priv’yet!’ meaning ‘with [or to] all, greetings!’ Not great Russian but colloquial.

In that clip, I noticed he said, ‘Blin!’ a couple of times – it’s swearing and our equivalent would be maybe, ‘Sh**!’

Humour of course was that he was trying to be sophisticated, but kept dropping into street jargon, sometimes prison jargon. In Russian, hilarious.

Just another one – ‘ham’ or ‘hamka’. This is a ‘bes-kulturni chelovek’ or uncultured person, the ultimate insult in Russia.  Australians often do it – they take a caricature with heavy accent, then quadruple down on it and speak as no Australian really does.  The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and Dame Edna did that.  If you’ve heard Barry Humphries in general or Leo McKern, even Clive James, that’s more typical. They tend to have stronger accents in tinsel town Sydney than in more cultured Melbourne, but that was decades ago, not sure what they have now – alloa snackbar?

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