1. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Russians

    Discussion in 'Research' started by AlannaHart, Apr 1, 2015.

    Sorry if this doesn't apply to anyone and is just a waste of space!

    Just need to know if there are any Russians in this forum, or anyone very familiar with Russian culture?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Я работал переводчиком русского языка много лет, but I myself am Puerto Rican. What is your question? :)
     
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  3. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Would it be wrong to discuss whether Russia is a first or second world country here? And where they rank in comparison to Canada?
     
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  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Let's not start that again :)
     
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  5. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Let's all indulge ourselves in some Ruski Love :love:
     
  6. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Haha! @plothog you knock yourself out :p

    It's a pretty random question @Wreybies. I just wanted to know whether Russians who aren't Americanized would immediately understand that annoying 'God didn't make Adam and Steve' comment. Would you make the jump from Ева to Steve?
     
  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've heard that the BEST JOKE IN THE WORLD is a German one, which goes (when translated) "Why does nobody live in Canada? Because there's nothing there (Kein ist da)"

    Which just goes to show that puns don't always translate well.
     
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  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My natural response is to say that this sounds more like an individual listener thing, not a cultural or linguistic one. But let me ask... Do the Russian listeners have any English? Idiomatic English? Are they hearing it in English or interpreted into Russian? Are they being serviced by an interpreter? The answers to this may change my response. Steve and Eve won't rhyme at all in Russian, especially when Eve (Ева) is inflected for case (Evy), so that bit of the word-play that creates the phrase is missing. Also, though a Russian would easily recognize Stephen as a masculine name because versions of it exist all across the Indo-European spectrum, the specific English shortening to Steve may be opaque without some prior knowledge or someone on hand to give that tidbit.
     
  9. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Keiner da. ;)
     
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  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not Russian and not great on the subject, but I took Russian language in high-school college and my mom is a former Russian linguist. So I know enough Russian history and culture to be dangerous, and not enough to be an authority.
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This is from an interpreter friend of mine who still works in Russian. He himself is Ukrainian.

    Me: Ok, this is another question from my writing forum... The question was a little vague, so I wanted my grammar in check before I said anything. The question was if Russians would intuitively understand the word-play involved and the intent invoked in the pejorative phrase "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Clearly, the rhyme scheme between Eve and Steve would disappear in a Russian interpretation, even more so when Ева is inflected for the case invoked by the verb. I wasn't sure exactly which verb fit best, and therein lay my question. Also there is the question of whether speakers of Russian, not familiar at all with English, would grasp that Steve was a masculine name since, though Stephen is sure to be recognized by a Russian speaker, the scheme for shortening of names in Russian is quite different from the one used in English.

    My natural response to the person posing the question was to say that this sounds more like an individual thing, not a cultural or linguistic one. Do the Russian listeners have any English? Idiomatic English? Are they hearing it in English or interpreted into Russian? Are they being serviced by an interpreter? Etc.

    Friend: Well...To begin, there IS an equivalent and it has one important attribute for Russian listener's ear: rhyme. In Russian language for a saying, catchphrase, proverb to have that "catchy" flavor it has to have a rhyme: Бог создал Адама и Еву, [а] не Адама и Севу. I found at least one example where a translator used it in his translation. Even though Steve and Сева ( formal: Всеволод) are absolutely not equivalent given names, a Russian reader, provided that at this point he/she has been informed of a context into which the said phrase was injected (i.e. the phrase appears somewhere in the middle of the text), will "catch" the meaning. Once this phrase has been picked up (and it probably already has been) by the wider community of Russian readers, the phrase can (and most likely will) be used to create a catchy title to an article, story, etc. Does this answer the question?

    Me: I will give this to the member, verbatim, and see if this fills the bill. Something tells me though (just from familiarity with setting a scene) that the scene probably involves listeners, not readers, as characters. The Russian protagonists would be hearing this English phrase in the scene and I think what she wants is to know if Russians, hearing anglophones say such a thing, would grab the intent in the phrase, the meaning.

    Me: And just to be clear, this question does not come from a translation or other such work, it would be from an original creation of a scene.

    Friend: Yes, and the context in which this equivalent is to be brought up must be the same as in original~ Conservative Christians' response to homosexuality/bisexuality issues

    Me: Correct, so what I am imagining (she has yet to clarify the original question) is a couple of Russians coming upon a scene of Americans chanting this chant and her question would be if they would get it, the meaning, from context.

    Friend: I would say most likely, yes as Russians are familiar with "Adam and Eve" concept
     
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  12. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd rephrase the joke so that it makes sense as a Russian rhyme.

    Adam and Eve in Russian is "Adam and Eva". Steve or Steven doesn't rhyme with "Eva" in Russian so the joke isn't funny.

    You MIGHT be able to accomplish this with a Russian-language diminutive of "Steven" (which in luckily in Russian is "Stefan" - not sure the diminutive nickname there but if it follows normal form it might be "Stefya" which kinda works with "Eva")

    If it were me, I would rephrase the joke using a different common Russian male name - "God made Adam and Eva, not Adam and Ilya."

    But it depends on whether the joke is being told by an English speaker or a Russian speaker.

    Also, for what it's worth, my experience with Russian humor is that it's darker, more complex, and a bit more vulgar than English humor. So I'm not sure how funny the average Russian would find that joke, or what the Russian equivalent would be.

    Free Russian Joke: There is a well-educated man who has a neighbor he considers dumb. One day, they bump into each other on the sidewalk . The educated man proudly announces that he is on his way to the museum, where he takes classes every Tuesday night.
    "Why would you do that," the neighbor asks.
    "Well," the man says, "Do you know who Abraham Lincoln is?"
    "No," the neighbor replies.
    "I do!" the man exlaims, "because I take classes at the museum every Tuesday. Do you know who Moshe Dayan is?"
    "No"
    "I do, because I take classes at the museum every Tuesday!"
    The neighbor thinks for a second, then finally says, "Well, do you know who Ivan Ivanov is?"
    The man is perplexed, "No I don't. Who is he?!'
    The neighbor smiles, "He's the man who visits your wife every Tuesday while you're at the museum."
     
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  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Interesting culture indeed! I read a nature book by a Russian immigrant once who would, from time to time, talk about his time growing up in Russia. Apparently they determine how the rest of the year will go by how good or crappy its first day went. Is this really the case, or was he exaggerating a bit?

    Minor confession: I want to learn how to speak and read Russian, but I'm told its a difficult language to master.
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It just has a grammatical system that's rather different to English. English is an isolating language; word order determines the logic of the sentence. Russian is inflected; each noun and adjectice changes spelling depending on what it's doing in the sentence.

    Example:

    House/home = дом (dom) - Same I.E. root that gives us domestic and domicile in English.

    House = dom
    At home = doma
    Going home= domoi
    approaching the house = k domu
    in the house = v dome

    English has a tiny vestige of this inflected case system in the way pronouns work (I, me, my, mine).

    I am Wrey = nominative case
    Give me that = dative case
    Come with me = instrumental case
    That is mine = genitive gave
    My dog is blond = genitive case

    Russian does the above with every noun and adjective, and how it gets done depends on things like gender, number, part of speech, etc.
     
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  15. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's also verb declension based on who is doing the action

    To Play = "Eegrat"
    I play = "Ya Eegrayu"
    You (singular) play = "Ti Eegrayesh"
    He/She/It plays = "On/Ona/Ono Eegrayet"
    We play = "Mwi Eegrayem"
    You (plural) play = "Vwi Egrayetye"
    They play = "Oni Egrayoot"

    It's not that hard it's just a different mental grove to get into and think in. And apologies for the horrible transliteration.
     
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  16. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Strictly speaking, that would be conjugation, not declension.
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Correct. :) And, as if that weren't enough, every single verb has two versions! Like a bonus prize!! A perfective version and an imperfective version! Yay!! Sometimes the two versions follow simple patterns that are easy to predict, one to the other, but sometimes they are completely different in form!! OMG, so much fun! Like the verb pair for "to go" which is also the verb pair for "to walk" is ходить & идти (khodit / idti) and the conjugations are utterly different.

    This is why, when I was at DLI, students studying in the dayroom would occasionally break down into tears. Sobbing tears.
     
  18. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I knew I probably messed that up - it's been a few years :p
     
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  19. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    @Wreybies Wow! Thank you for going into such detail! I really should have been clearer though!

    The scene actually involves reading the phrase, not hearing it. A Russian woman comes across a sign with the words 'NO ADAM AND STEVE' and I really want her to not know what the hell it means. But I don't want to be offensive with such an assumption if it would be a very simple connection for a Russian speaker to make. There's no context, really, it's not in the middle of a protest against homosexuality or anything, she just comes across it.
    Also, seeing as there is no Steve in Russian, how do you think a Russian speaker would try to pronounce it if they saw it for the first time?

    @Link the Writer I'd love to learn it too. There's something very enjoyable about speaking in a Russian accent. Plus, it sounds beautiful to me. I'd love to be able to converse in it.
     
  20. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which makes my point.

    I know enough German (from studying it 50 years ago) to understand why it's considered funny. And enough to get the punch-line wrong!

    Which takes me back to the OP. I'm guessing that "Adam and Steve" is the punch-line to a joke I've never heard. OK, it rhymes with Adam and Eve, so I'm guessing it's a reference to a homosexual relationship rather than a heterosexual one, so I've reverse-engineered the joke. Kinda ruins the humour when you have to explain it, or work it out.
     
  21. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    I'm sure she wouldn't understand it, not instantly for sure, unless she speaks pretty good English and unless she used to live in the English-speaking part of the world.
     
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