November 01, 2015

Email and the Russian Soul

Email and the Russian Soul

These days it seems that I spend most of my day writing, reading, and checking my email, which is mostly in Russian, and I’ve begun to see some — for lack of a better word — standards begin to take shape.

When электронная почта (electronic mail) first appeared, most of the messages I received were written like a formal letter, and I was addressed as Уважаемая г-жа Берди (Esteemed Ms. Berdy), or, at the other end of the spectrum, were treated like an эсэмэска (text message, SMS) — and I got notes that began “Микуся! Приветик!” (Hiya, Micketoon!)

Of course, these standards are still a work in progress. First of all, Russian speakers are not of one mind about what to call the thing they are writing. It can be email, e-mail, емейл, е-мейл or имейл, with the last one probably heading towards the language standard. Some people also refer to them as сообщения (messages).

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