From Dr. Weevil:

Someone once told me that the University of Pennsylvania was reshaping its language departments a few years back and briefly considered putting Hebrew in with Russian, Polish, and German. It wouldn’t be easy to come up with a brief and accurate description for such a disparate collection of languages, and someone facetiously suggested that it could be called the Department of Semitic and Anti-Semitic Languages.

And from Alas, a Blog:

Headline from the English edition of Pravda:
“Black to Swallow Planet Earth”
The story (which turns out to be about a black hole about 6,000 light years away, rather than a very hungry person of color) also contains a new definition of “good news”: “This is good news, is it not? It’s like learning that there is a blood-thirsty killer living next door to you.”


  1. Is the sarcasm lost in the translation?

  2. Yes. The original is here:

    The original words “horosha novost'” are sarcastic; this is conveyed here by the use of the short form “horosha” instead of the usual form “horoshaya”. A comparable way to phrase the same thing in English would be “this is some good news!” or something like that.

  3. Huh. Not only that, it’s not “a blood-thirsty killer living next door to you” but “maniacs on every stairwell.” Thanks for the link, Avva!

  4. Ilya Vinarsky says:

    If you want to have linguistic fun, read the Russian edition of Renmin Ribao (the official Chinese newspaper). I had a link with excerpts some time in the summer in my LJ (I am a LJ-friend of Avva’s).

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