English invades Russian language
By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
Last Updated: 2:31am BST 13/09/2007
First came Franglais. Then there was Spanglish. Now start getting used to Runglish, the English-laced argot of “kool” young Russians that has traditionalists weeping into their borscht.
To the horror of their parents, Russia’s ‘Koka-Kola’ generation has developed a vocabulary that has more to do with MTV than Pushkin.
By mobile phone text message or on the internet, young Russian men invite their “friendessi” (female friends) for a “drrink” at the “Pab”. And if you don’t understand what they are talking about, you are clearly a “loozer”.
advertisementFirst coined by cosmonauts in 2000 to describe the language spoken with their American counterparts on the International Space Station, “Runglish” is increasingly viewed by nationalists as a Western assault on the purity of one of the world’s great languages.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Anglicism spread rapidly – in part because there was a dearth of vocabulary to describe the technicalities of market capitalism but also because of an exposure to international travel and foreign television.
“The internet brought a lot of words from foreign languages,” said Vladimir Dolgov, the head of Google Russia. “But the jargon is now moving into the press and advertising. This is the way language develops and it is a process that can’t be stopped.”
Concerned by the growing influence of English, the Kremlin declared 2007 the Year of the Russian Language.
The linguists, however, say the fear of English is misplaced.
“Young people always develop fashionable ways of communicating,” said Yuri Prokhorov, head of the Pushkin State Institute of Foreign Luanguage.
“It is Russian words used incorrectly that damages the purity of the language not the introduction of foreign words,” he added.