July 01, 2010

Lemme Tell Ya!

Lemme Tell Ya!

it took me a while to “get” the English slang shortcuts like wanna (want to) and gonna (going to). So I assume my American counterparts studying Russian must face the same kinda трудности (difficulties) when dealing with what Ivan Turgenev called “the great and mighty” Russian language. So I’ll tell ya all about it.

Lemme start with the banal сокращённые формы (reduced forms) like ма (мама – mama), па (папа – papa), ба (бабушка – grandma), теть (тётя – aunt), доча (дочка – daughter), здрасьте (здравствуйте – hello), не (нет – nope). (Note, these and all that follow are abbreviations only used when speaking; you might see them in printed works, but only in dialog, perhaps to underscore a character’s earthiness.)

In the numbers department you gotta know тыща (тысяча – thousand). Then there is шо (что – what or that), хошь (хочешь – want) and, of course, the rather наглый (rude) чё (чего – what) to say nothing of те (тебе – you in the dative case). For instance, if some street hooligan grabs you by the scruff of your collar and says: “Чё те надо?” (“Whattya wan?” or maybe “Whatchu lookin’ at?”), brace yourself, you are in for a fight.

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