MONTIGOMO IN OGONYOK.

Remember this post from two years ago? The post was about Chukovsky and Gumilyov but the thread started with a discussion of how to translate люблю (literally ‘I love’) and wound up as an extended investigation of the possible sources of Chekhov’s “Montigomo the Hawk’s Claw.” Well, Sashura, who sparked the investigation, has an article (in Russian) in today’s Огонёк about that very topic; if you read Russian, it’s well worth your while, and if you don’t, you can get the basics from the LH thread I linked to. What I want to mention here is the sentence “Особая благодарность здесь посетителям блога американского лингвиста Стива Додсона Languagehat.com, часто публикующего заметки о русской литературе” [Special thanks to the habitués of the blog of the American linguist Steve Dodson languagehat.com, which often publishes notes on Russian literature]. You can all take a bow.

Comments

  1. yes, once again a big thank you from me!

  2. Since, shamefully, I don’t speak Russian, I find myself as a writer being curious about this: are there different Russian words for different types of love?
    Dr. Zhivago comes to mind….

  3. Thanks for writing that article. It’s fascinating even though I haven’t read the Chekhov story.
    For some reason, calques take me a long time to understand-Дикий Запад took me a minute. And I wondered why anyone would go in search of elephant bones, before I realized слоновая кость had to be ivory.
    I wish I could find a list of names that have become words in Russian (the most well-known in English are Potemkin villages and Stolypin neckties), because they always have interesting backstories.
    Also, I had to look up компрачикосы-is that word well-known in Russian?

  4. Also, I had to look up компрачикосы-is that word well-known in Russian?
    I’m guessing mainly by Victor Hugo fans; it doesn’t get many hits on Google.

  5. Is Molotov cocktail known in Russian, or only in Western languages?

  6. компрачикос – comprachicos
    I guess the modern generation is more familiar with Joker than with Gwynplaine. Even compradore bourgeoisie – компрадорская буржуазия, from Soviet schooling, will strike a stronger chord.
    But I deliberately left it in the quote from Chekhov in the hope that it would spark the readers’ interest.

  7. компрачикос – comprachicos
    I guess the modern generation is more familiar with Joker than with Gwynplaine. Even compradore bourgeoisie – компрадорская буржуазия, from Soviet schooling, will strike a stronger chord.
    But I deliberately left it in the quote from Chekhov in the hope that it would spark the readers’ interest.

  8. Is Molotov cocktail known in Russian
    yes, but it hadn’t been widely used before 1991 for obvious reasons. The substitute expression was descriptive бутылка с зажигательной смесью – bottle with inflammable liquid. The modern currency is файер – from ‘fire’ but actually a flare, as used by football hooligans and rioters.

  9. are there different Russian words for different types of love?
    yes, I suppose the vocabulary is as wide as in English.
    One word might interest you: симпатия – sympathy means love, attraction, not pity or sorrow as in English. There is probably a bit of French influence there (sympathie – sympa).

  10. One word might interest you: симпатия – sympathy means love, attraction, not pity or sorrow as in English. There is probably a bit of French influence there (sympathie – sympa)
    As is the case in German. Has any language on the continent retained the Greek meaning?

  11. Delightful article!

  12. ProudToBeAMammal says:

    You post prompted me to re-read the story, and I noticed a sentence to which I did not pay attention before: “…his hair stood up like a brush, his eyes were small, and his lips were thick. He was, in fact, distinctly ugly, and if he had not been wearing the school uniform, he might have been taken for the son of a cook.” (from
    http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/achekhov/bl-achek-boys.htm ). The original: “Волосы у него были щетинистые, глаза узенькие, губы толстые, вообще был он очень некрасив, и если б на нем не было гимназической куртки, то по наружности его можно было бы принять за кухаркина сына.”
    From which I have to conclude that there was a phenotypical distinction between the noble and the plain…

  13. Or rather an imagined phenotypical distinction.

  14. I just read Sashura’s article again using GT, and it renders Монтигомо as Montezuma most of the time, so whatever bilingual corpus Google is using believes the names are equivalent.

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