Magazine article Russian Life

Of Fish and Cockroaches. (Survival Russian)

Magazine article Russian Life

Of Fish and Cockroaches. (Survival Russian)

Article excerpt

If you have trouble telling the difference between a [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and an [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or between [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] this issue's column may help.

In Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, there is a chapter titled "Lobster Quadrille." In it, The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon tell Alice that a whiting is called a whiting because it "does the boots and shoes." Alice finds out that, under the sea, shoes are done with "whiting" instead of "blacking" and made of "soles and eels' and that "no wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise."

In Nina Demurova's able "transculturation" of Carroll's book, the whiting became [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (cod), about which it is said: [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The wordplay is on the verb [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which means to crackle, but it also means to jabber. So a translation of the above might be: "As a fish, she is not much, you get very little from her, but she jabbers a lot. And as soon as the jabbering starts, you want to run away." Notably, you can also use [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to describe a headache: [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is visited by [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (diminutive from [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] -- pike perch), called a [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] for his constant gossiping -- [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: to tittle-tattle). The two chatterboxes are sometimes joined by a [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (pike) -- [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] -- she is always scolding everyone ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: to scold). In this noisy bedlam, the poor [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (sturgeon) can only [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (cry hysterically).

The word "fish" ([LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) itself offers quite a pronunciation challenge to those not accustomed to rolling their Ps and squeezing out [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. In a popular Russian film, "Po semeynym obstoyatelstvam" (Because of Family Circumstances), a little girl's speech therapist says to her, [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]". …

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