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'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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mym
Posted 2008-08-18 12:12 PM (#14561)
Subject: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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I liked this article in the Economist. I get the reverse version from Slava *all* the time.
"Mr Y! Why your english so unlogical language? Why just 'go'? Go what? Go where? Go how?"

_______________

The baffling, beautiful richness of Russian.

THE language I am fondest of is Russian. It is a bruised sort of affection, like the residue of many years with an intense but difficult lover. No other language has caused me such pain, or given me such pleasure in the discovery of its quirks and beauty.

It starts with the pronunciation. Aside from consonants that don’t exist in English and the “soft sign” (represented in this entry by an apostrophe), which softens the consonant before it, the vowels in Russian are big beefy things, requiring facial muscles that never get a workout in English.

For my first few months in Moscow I felt as if I was chewing pebbles. When I moaned about it to a Russian friend, he explained that “English is produced in the back of the mouth, but in Russian”—he puffed out his lips—“we speak from here, from the front. In order to strengthen these muscles,” he concluded seriously, “you should perform oral sex more often.” Then there’s the grammar. Like Arabic and Hebrew, Russian is based around verb roots that are used to form other parts of speech. But unlike Arabic and Hebrew, it is agglutinative, so that each basic verb can swell with an array of prefixes and suffixes.

These are what make life hell. In verbs that denote movement, the prefixes work like prepositions in English—you “go up”, “go down” and so on. However, in English, since the prepositions are separate words, you can always just “go” if you want to keep it simple.

Not in Russian. If a prefix is required it’s required, and you need to think about whether you are going in, out, up, down, towards, away from, around, or on the way to somewhere else. In addition, the core verb, the “go” itself, varies depending on whether you are going by foot, land vehicle, air or sea; and then on whether you are going once, several times or there and back, have finished going, or are still engaged in it.

When it comes to other sorts of verbs, the prefixes modify the meaning entirely, turning entire swathes of words into siblings. To command, punish, prove, order, point out, relate and predict are all variants of the word for “say”.

It’s enough to make you tear your hair out. Who can remember which is which between prikazat’ (to command), nakazat’ (to punish), dokazat’ (to prove) and so on? One of my teachers said something that was useless to a floundering beginner, but later proved very wise: try to “visualise” the language.

Because they are originally prepositions, each of the prefixes implies a position or motion, or both. Pri is “close to” or “towards”, so to command is to use your word to bring someone towards your wishes. Na is “on” or “on to”; to punish someone is to lay your word on them.

This makes Russians aware of a connectedness between concepts that never occurs to many Westerners. It also makes for a lexical richness that simply doesn’t exist in English. Russian has a word for “sleeping too much”, perespat’, which doesn’t mean oversleeping and missing your appointment—there’s a word for that too, prospat’—but actually sleeping more than you should have and feeling groggy in the morning. Beware, though: to perespat’ with someone means to have a one-night stand, which is when neither of you sleeps enough.

Some words are also beautifully evocative. There is a verb for the English phrase “to get lost in thought”, which is made from the verb for “to think”, the prefix za meaning behind or beyond, and the reflexive suffix. You could translate it as “to think oneself into the beyond”.

Russians are inordinately proud of their tongue’s complexity. Friends have told me in all earnestness that they think Shakespeare might be better in Russian. in Moscow, a taxi driver attempted to prove the point by asking me to consider the words written next to the date on a carton of milk.

In Russian this is an orotund, literary phrase—a direct translation, in fact, of the French à consommer de préférence avant. “Zhelatel’no upotrebit’ do”, repeated the driver, rolling his tongue around the words and lifting a hand from the steering wheel to trace their curvaceous cadences. “It is beautiful, cultured. And in your language?” He puckered his mouth sourly. “Best bee-for!”

Finally, Russian is also rich in slang—so rich that it has not one slang, but two. The first, fenya, is a criminal patois similar in style to Cockney rhyming slang, Argentinian lunfardo and the mid-20th-century British gay argot, polari. It uses substitutions, as well as loan-words from other languages, to confuse the unwary: silver is “laundry”, having sex is “frying”, stealing is “buying”, and so on.

Interestingly, fenya contains a lot of Yiddish and Hebrew words: Jews entered the criminal world during tsarist times, when they were barred from owning land and from many professions. A common phrase even today in Russian is na khalyavu, “for free”, from the Hebrew khalav, “milk”, because “milk money” was the name of donations for the Jewish community in Palestine.

The second kind of slang, mat, is like a much more sophisticated version of the Chilean huevón words —an entire language derived chiefly from a handful of sexual swear-words. One of my prize possessions is a 560-page dictionary of mat that I found at Grant and Cutler, a specialist languages bookshop in London.

The dictionary, published in Moscow in 1997 by one Professor Tatiana Akhmetova, seems to be an academic lexicon rather than a survey of current usage. Most of my Russian-speaking friends have never heard of much of it. But one particular phrase is so original and colourful that I have been running a small private campaign to bring it back into everyday use. To describe something that has shown up unexpectedly, out of nowhere, you say that it appeared kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh, which translates as “like out of a cunt on skis.”


Chris
Posted 2008-08-18 12:52 PM (#14563 - in reply to #14561)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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excellent post:

 

 '... Russian is far superior to all the languages of Europe in its comprehensiveness and richness, and had Charles V been acquainted with it he would have discovered in it the majesty of Spanish, the vivacity of French, the strength of German, the sweetness of Italian, and, in addition, energetic conciseness in its imagery, together with the richness of Greek and Latin.'.

 

but having said that it is a bugger to learn as a native English speaker as many of the lingustic constructs and concepts are alien.

 

Great though! :>

Malcolm
Posted 2008-08-26 1:25 PM (#14669 - in reply to #14563)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Personally, I think Russian over-complicates for no real reason other than it can. Using the example of the verb to Go is very apt. Whereas in Russian there are many variants built around the reasons and directions of the motion in question, in English the reasons and directions follow the verb wherever necessary, or not as the case may be, for example 'I'm going now' But in Russian you can't just 'Go' in the sense of 'I'm going now' meaning 'I'm leaving this place to go somewhere else' you have to be very particular as to why you are going and where it is you're going to. Rather long winded and not really any more informative than saying 'I'm going now'
If Shakespeare had written in Russian it would have taken him twice as long to write and Hamlet's soliloquy would have been 20 minutes long.
Still, it is a beautiful language but very difficult for non-native Russians to learn and master.

Having said that, I don't think I'll be saying 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh' to my girlfriend
borninrussia
Posted 2008-08-26 2:13 PM (#14670 - in reply to #14669)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Malcolm - 2008-08-26 1:25 PM

Having said that, I don't think I'll be saying 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh' to my girlfriend

very wise of you, Malcolm...as you would find out that The Stick Treatment isn't the worst option of punishment

Edited by borninrussia 2008-08-26 2:25 PM
mym
Posted 2008-08-26 2:56 PM (#14674 - in reply to #14669)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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Malcolm - 2008-08-26 1:25 PM

But in Russian you can't just 'Go' in the sense of 'I'm going now' meaning


Yes. I don't get this. Where and how you go are not important in english unless you, the speaker, decide they are.
I like this withholding of information, but hadn't noticed it was so characteristic of english until an especially fruity argument with Slava about a short story where the gender of the narrator was not given. This drove him wild.

I pointed out that for most purposes it was not necessary to know what gender a written narrator is (and that, in some stories where the gender is relevant, the whole point of the thing might be that you don't find out until the last sentence). He didn't get that. It mystified him.

Malcolm
Posted 2008-08-26 3:39 PM (#14675 - in reply to #14674)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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This is where English is so flexible compared to most other languages. Because we don't have gender attached to our words, it's easy change meanings, situations, ownership etc, without reducing the meaning of sentences to gibberish. The use of prepositions also throws Russians into fits of delirium, at least it does to my girlfriend when she's translating books from English into Russian.
English is also a constantly changing and evolving language, unlike say, French, which is controlled and regulated by the extremely anal old farts at the Academie Francais.
English being an amalgamation of various Latin based languages is easily the most adaptable western language because it allows for new words and the adaptation of words from other languages into everyday use.
As a example of this, when Anthony Burgess wrote 'A Clockwork Orange' he used a lot of Russian words, transliterated into English, along with cockney rhyming slang and bits of 'Polari' (a kind of slang code once used by homosexuals) to build a kind of rhyming slang language called 'Nadsat' that would be impossible to do in Russian or even French. For instance, in Nadsat, Burgess used the Russian word for friend, droog, which Alex, the anti-hero, used to describe the members of his gang. Not only that but he was able to then use the word in different forms, such as 'droogies' for the plural without losing the meaning or the musical sing-song sound of the language which made it so effective as means of portraying the alienation and strangeness of both Alex and the era in which the novel is set.
It wouldn't work in Russian if you tried to import English words the same way.

End of English lesson for today.
nickomsk
Posted 2008-08-26 3:50 PM (#14676 - in reply to #14675)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Malcolm,i have just said this to Inna, after peeing herself she is now chasing me round house and garden with frying pan....

Please somebody help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Malcolm
Posted 2008-08-26 3:55 PM (#14677 - in reply to #14670)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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borninrussia - 2008-08-26 2:13 PM

Malcolm - 2008-08-26 1:25 PM

Having said that, I don't think I'll be saying 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh' to my girlfriend

very wise of you, Malcolm...as you would find out that The Stick Treatment isn't the worst option of punishment


You should read ALL the posts Nick
TonyH
Posted 2008-08-26 6:33 PM (#14678 - in reply to #14561)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Polari not to be confused with Parlari which is another slang Language used in the circus
Malcolm
Posted 2008-08-26 9:07 PM (#14682 - in reply to #14678)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Same thing, just a variation.
Parlari isn't a language either, just a collections of words used as a sort of code. It shares some words with Polari but it was never associated with homosexuals. Both variants (and others) have origins in Romany and cockney rhyming slang.

Russians have better swearing phrases than English though.

Just don't say 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh' to your wife or girlfriend, eh Nick?

Thanks to Mym for bringing this delightful phrase to the forum, it's a classic.
Gaz
Posted 2008-08-27 1:06 AM (#14686 - in reply to #14561)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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Well for us uneducated people who like me are now intrigued to know what this means. Could you enlighten us without obviously causing bloodshed in your homes or offending anyone on here
Chris
Posted 2008-08-27 7:27 AM (#14688 - in reply to #14686)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Either you guys are blagging it and scanning Wikipedia before each post or we have the Mensa pub-quiz team online

 

God I feel thick!

nickomsk
Posted 2008-08-27 7:51 AM (#14689 - in reply to #14688)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Oh come on Chris,who are you trying to kid....

You are the chosen one who we all look too...lol...
mym
Posted 2008-08-27 7:52 AM (#14690 - in reply to #14686)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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Gaz - 2008-08-27 1:06 AM

Well for us uneducated people who like me are now intrigued to know what this means. Could you enlighten us without obviously causing bloodshed in your homes or offending anyone on here


What what means? kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'? Read the first post!
mym
Posted 2008-08-27 8:05 AM (#14691 - in reply to #14675)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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Malcolm - 2008-08-26 3:39 PM
English being an amalgamation of various Latin based languages is easily the most adaptable western language


Well, no, not really - in fact the reverse.

It's a West Germanic (non-latin) language that gained Scandinavian (non-latin) and Norman-French (latinate) elements and vocabulary via various invasions to became *the* great borrowing language.

It's the *limited* aspect of it's exposure to latinate structures that gives it the flexibility.
Chris
Posted 2008-08-27 9:00 AM (#14693 - in reply to #14691)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Obviously
Malcolm
Posted 2008-08-27 9:22 AM (#14695 - in reply to #14688)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Chris - 2008-08-27 7:27 AM

Either you guys are blagging it and scanning Wikipedia before each post or we have the Mensa pub-quiz team online

 

God I feel thick!



Having won a pub quiz and free beer with Mym, I can confirm that you have the mensa pub quiz team on the forum
YZF-R1
Posted 2008-08-27 2:10 PM (#14701 - in reply to #14695)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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Malcolm - 2008-08-27 9:22 AM

Chris - 2008-08-27 7:27 AM

Either you guys are blagging it and scanning Wikipedia before each post or we have the Mensa pub-quiz team online

 

God I feel thick!



Having won a pub quiz and free beer with Mym, I can confirm that you have the mensa pub quiz team on the forum


Think we've found out where i've been going wrong all this time and why i can't bag a Russian babe!

Just popping down the library.

See you all later.....much later!

Akunamatata
Posted 2008-08-29 2:10 PM (#14778 - in reply to #14675)
Subject: RE: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'


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Malcolm - 2008-08-26 3:39 PM

It wouldn't work in Russian if you tried to import English words the same way.


I don't think so. It seems to me that it is much more easy to import english words in Russian, than in backward direction. And many russian teenagers do it, with great success A lot of suffixes and prefixes give an opportunity to make english words really "russian" words. I know, that some people say "othepibezdit'", and it sounds really funny for russian people. It means "to congratulate with a birthday", so english phrase "happy birthday" become a root in the word "othepibezdit'".

So Russian is unpredictable, tricky, exciting (+millions epithets) language.

English and Spanish share the second place in my heart

Edited by Akunamatata 2008-08-29 2:20 PM
mym
Posted 2018-12-20 10:33 AM (#111058 - in reply to #14561)
Subject: Re: 'kak iz pizdy na lyzhakh'
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