Erin McKean, always a LH favorite, has a Boston Globe column on “a year’s worth of the best and worst stories about words”; it’s a nice rundown, except that I wish she hadn’t given a certain self-promoting nitwit more of the publicity he craves. Since I don’t wish to give him any myself, I’ll just say you can read about him and his stupid site here.
While I’m at it, another favorite, Michele A. Berdy (who comments here as “mab”), has a Moscow Times column on “The Top 7 [Russian] Words of the Year”; even if you don’t know Russian, it will give you a useful summary of what Russians in general and Muscovites in particular have been obsessing about. Congratulations on surviving the аномальные погодные условия, mab!


  1. Off topic — Hat or anyone else, are you familiar with the work of Viktor Zhirmunsky? In “Why Rhyme Pleases”, Simon Jarvis describes

    …what still, perhaps, remains the single most important book ever written about rhyme, Viktor Zhirmunsky’s Rhyme: its history and theory, […] sadly, still awaiting translation into English.

    Seems like it should align with your interests, but I don’t think it’s been discussed here.

  2. Vance Maverick says

    Jarvis cites it as

    V. M. Zhirmunsky, Rifma: eyo istoriya i teoriya (Petersburg, 1923) [repr. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1970, ed. Dmitrij Tschižewski et al., with a new preface by the author [Slavische Propyläen: Texte in Neu- und Nachdrucken, 71]]

  3. I suspect I’m not the only one who’s noticed that eight out of eleven of the seven слова года are English. This probably doesn’t surprise anyone, but is it хорошая идея?

  4. Thanks, Hat. We actually had lovely weather during the endless 10-day holiday — a bit of fresh snow every day, not too cold, and even — hold on to your hat! — sunshine. Of course, thousands of people outside Moscow are still without electricity, snow and ice being such an anomoly in these parts that the emergency services couldn’t cope. And the 10-foot icicle is back, once again striking terror into the hearts of pedestrians.
    And yes, johnacko, we borrow a lot of words.

  5. Stefan Pugh says

    As for the use of English words in the New Russian, it’s not a question of being хорошая идея or not. Words come and go. Russian lost many of the French borrowings (or “usings”, as I like to term them if they don’t become real “loanwords”) that were current in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Some stick, some don’t. It’s a phase. But you’ll also note the Russianization (esp. in slang) of computer-related terminology. Great fun to watch!

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