This Live Journal features Russian slang words and expressions, with stressed syllables helpfully indicated in red. One useful post reprints a Michele Berdy Moscow Times column about слова-паразиты, literally “parasite words.”
Sometimes they are used as intensifiers, but more often they just seem to appear in your speech all by themselves. Nasty little parasites that they are, you don’t notice them until they have taken over half your utterances. And then ridding your speech of them is virtually impossible.
Like all speakers of Russian in Moscow, I’ve been infected by the parasite как бы. This is a perfectly useful phrase that means “as if.” You can use it legitimately in sentences like, Как бы в шутку он сказал, что хочет жениться. А, может быть, он серьёзно? (As if in jest, he said he wanted to get married. But maybe he’s serious?) According to linguists, как бы as a parasite originated in St. Petersburg, but it has swept through Moscow like a particularly virulent flu. It doesn’t really mean anything and is used the way some people use “like” in English. Он как бы поехал купить хлеб. (He, like, went to buy bread.)
Another parasite is типа, which, like как бы, has a legitimate use: to express a comparison or similarity. Он купил новую машину — она типа Джипа, только меньше размером. (He bought a new car — something like a Jeep, only smaller.) As a parasite it means “kinda, sorta, like.” Я, типа, хотел ей позвонить. (I kinda wanted to give her a call.) It can also be used to indicate a quote: Она, типа, не хочет пойти сегодня в клуб сегодня. (She’s like: I don’t wanna go to the club tonight.) This can be sometimes translated by the equally appalling “go,” used in Valley Girl English to mean “say.” Он, типа, хочет выпить. И ей, типа, всё равно. (He goes: I wanna drink. And she’s like: Whatever.)
She goes on to discuss короче, конкретно, чисто, прикинь, and понимаешь. In the comments to the LJ post, there’s a joke that depends on the word типограф ‘printer’ being pronounced with the stress on the final syllable, so that it can be confused for типа граф ‘like, a count’; I thought it was tipógraf, with the stress on the penultimate, but I guess I’m behind the times as usual. (Via digenis.org.)