More modern russian derivatives

Posted by TheFallen on March 11, 2002

In Reply to: Modern russian derivatives posted by Bob on March 11, 2002

: : : I wonder if there are any russian derivatives in modern English?

: : There are English words which are "borrowed" from the Russian, such as "dacha", "samovar", "troika".

: : Having "borrowed" them for such a long time it is unlikely we shall give them back.

: : Then there are more recent terms, such as "glasnost" and "perestroika", but they appear to apply to a specific period rather than being in general use.

: : psi

: There's gulag, too, but not a whole lot more. The Russian language is on a decline mirroring the deathspiral of the Soviet empire. In the '60s when I was in college, those of us who studied Russian called ourselves the optimists. (The pessimists would study Chinese....)

These days I am told that the languages most useful to study are Spanish, Cantonese Chinese and Arabic. Trust me to have picked French and German.

Anyway there are a fair few more. Balalaika, yurt, taiga (Russian tundra), steppe and cossack (from the same roots that give us Kazakhstan, one of those newer-fangled countries that sound like a death-rattle in a tuberculosis ward. There's also any slangy construct ending in "-nik", as in peacenik, beatnik and so on. Plus a number of socio-political terms such as bolshevik, tsar and pogrom. I also believe that intelligentsia comes to us from the Latin BUT via the Russian. Parka is borderline, since it's Alaskan Russian.

However, and I am staggered that anyone could have forgotten this one... there's also vodka, the prime ingredient of any decent martini (any gin-loving Philistines can go take a running jump if they disagree here). Shame on you for omitting this vital word :)