Saturday, January 19, 2008

Importing English Words through Advertising

New words are brought into a language sometimes through advertising, as above. This banner is for a jewelry store and the large word in the center Фаворит is favorite, lifted straight out of English and into the Russian. That word is not in the Russian dictionary, not yet anyway, and I've never heard it used.

Here is how those letters of the Cyrillic alphabet, that is the Russian alphabet, are pronounced: Ф is pronounced f in English, а is a but always soft as in father, в is v, о is prounounced o, р is r, и is ee and т is t. (Got that?)

Today I ran into another banner with words lifted straight out of English. It says Pasta House, but again using the Cyrillic alphabet. Although pasta has long been a Russian word, хаус is a transliteration of house.

Hundreds of words have been brought into Russian from English, including tech-type words such as computer, telephone, instrument, rocket and microscope. Off-hand, I can think of two Russian words that have been brought into English: perestroika and glasnost. And besides that, both Russian and English are based on the Greek language, so there are many words similar.

Attention you native speakers of Russian, help me out on this. Please comment, tweak what I'm saying or provide enlightenment. You are the real experts!


Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Hi, Eileen!

Thank you for the article. Well, I'll try to play an expert here.

Фаворит is old world of Russian language. This word came from Italy several centuries ago. Reading in the dictionary:

ФАВОРИТ (итал. favorito, от лат. favor — благосклонность),

1) лицо, пользующееся благосклонностью правителя, влиятельного лица, получающее от него различные привилегии и в свою очередь оказывающее на него влияние.

2) На бегах и скачках — лошадь, на которую большинство делает ставку.

Now about several other words what you mentioned:

Инструмент is old Russian word came from Latin instrumentun. In the dictionary you can read:

ИНСТРУМЕНТ (от лат. instrumentum — орудие), орудие человеческого труда или исполнительный механизм машины. Различают инструменты: ручной, станочный и механизирированный (ручные машины). Инструментами называют также приборы, устройства, приспособления, применяемые для измерений и других операций, в медицине и ветеринарии для хирургических операций. См. также Музыкальные инструменты.

Ракета came to Russian from German rakete (Since Petr I Russian always admire of German technical abilities.) This is the dictionary article:РАКЕТА (нем. Rakete), летательный аппарат, движущийся под действием реактивной силы, возникающей при отбросе массы сгорающего ракетного топлива (рабочего тела). Бывают неуправляемые и управляемые, изменяющие параметры траектории в полете; одно- и многоступенчатые (каждая ступень обеспечивает разгон ракеты на определенном участке, а затем отделяется). Стартовая масса от нескольких кг до нескольких тыс. т. Применяются в военном деле и космонавтике и др.

And you are absolutely right ("And besides that, both Russian and English are based on the Greek language, so there are many words similar"):

Words like микроскоп, телескоп, телефон have first part микро came to us from Greek (от micros, μικρός/little) и теле came from Greek also (τῆλε (далеко/far)), the second parts of the words are Greek also skopeo — смотрю(look, watch) and phone — звук(sound).

Of course, we've got интернет and компьютер from America. But we still have Russian words for computers: ЭВМ - we used to big computers-servers and персоналка for PC.

What else I could say.. There is a lot of words what are known like false friends of translator in any languages. Мастер for example. Мастер means specialist, not master who own something.

And yes you are right - new words come to us from advertisements with new products on the market. Is it good or bad... I don't know: that depends how look ;).

For this comment I used:
and Russian Wikkipedia

Best wishes,
Svet and Kyle
PS You always can count on our help.

Eileen said...

Hello Svet! I was Hoping that you would come through on this! And this is one great thing about actually living here right in the ultimate *language laboratory* - that of being surrounded by pros. So thanks so much.

Oh yippee - I see that those two sites are both totally in Russian. I do understand easily the 2nd usage of favorite - in horse racing,the horse to win a race. The first meaning I decided to try out for the first time an on-line translation service, Babel, the link is below, as is the translation. These wording of translations that came up there are hilarious, by the way...

1) the person, who uses the benevolence of ruler, grave figure, obtaining from it different privileges and in turn rendering to it influence. (Okay, like a person who obtains favor from a decision-maker. - and in my Oxford Ru-Eng dictionary, *goodwill* is used. E) 2) on the runs and the jumps - horse, to which the majority makes rate (Okay, the horse expected to win by the majority. E.).(from:

When I translate (or hear translated) *favorite* into Russian, we usually go with любимый.

Sveta, in my opinion, neither of these meanings goes with *jewelry store* as in the banner.* We could fix this little dilemma by adding a 3rd defnition - in Russian, любимый. (da?)

Very useful, the background information on the words. That's the beauty of those on-line dictionaries, I'm guessing many more words there than in my *pocket Oxford* which has 70,000 words and pharases, 120,000 translations. (Right?)

Thanks again Sveta, you've given lots to chew on here! Really do appreciate your sharing your language skills. Or...should I be thanking Kyle? ;)

Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Hi, Eileen!

Really, "любимчик" is good old Russian word for "фаворит". I found very strange meanings for "любимчик" in Russian-English Dictionaries: one told that is "blue-eyed boy", another translated it like "white-haired boy"?!! ;)

But really if someone is любимчик or фаворит. There is someone who protects/patronizes/favors him. Фаворит is old word. King or Tcar can have фаворит. Often фаворит can influence to his patron, sometimes it's just about some material items for фаворит, sometimes фаворит can even rule the country been "gray eminence".

Любимчик is more domestic word, someone can be любимчик of teacher or mummy or Tcar.

As for name ФАВОРИТ for jewelry store. I have just two ideas:
1) They use the second meaning of the word фаворит - the best in the horse-racing (read market-racing).
or 2) They took English meaning of word favorite and then (YOU ARE RIGHT) we'll translate it as любимый.

Yes, Kyle always helps me. When he looked at my previous comment he exclaimed: So much Russian! It would be even more Russian if he did not stop me ;).

Best wishes!
Svet and Kyle

колька said...

Beside varaints enlisted above, "Minion" also can be used for "Фаворит" :)