January 01, 2017

The Year in Words

The Year in Words

It’s that wonderful time of the year… when the city is buried under a couple of meters of snow, your boots are turning white from de-icer, and the pre-holiday traffic-jam-o-meter is stuck between “barely moving” and “total transportation collapse.” It’s a perfect time to stay inside, make a pot of tea and vote for слова 2016 года (2016 words of the year).

When you look back over the year, you see how recent events have eclipsed some of the earlier headline-grabbers. Remember грекзит (Grexit), the precursor to брекзит (Brexit)? Russian wordsmiths spent the better part of the post-Brexit period dithering over the spelling: брексит, брекзит, брегзит, брегсит, or брэкзит. So far it looks like брекзит is the winner and has firmly entered the Russian language.

Alas, war words loomed large this year. While гибридная война (hybrid war) continued to be a popular phrase and subject, more attention was given to кибервойна (cyberwar), кибератака (cyberattack) and кибервойска (cyber soldiers). In Russia the ministries and media are, of course, concerned about these internet warriors in the US: ФСБ заявила о подготовке кибератак на финансовую систему России. (The Federal Security Service announced that plans were being made for cyberattacks on the Russian finance system.)

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