Saturday, November 12, 2016

‘Trumpocalypse’ and Other Trumpisms Entering the Russian Language, Turkova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 12 --  Kseniya Turkova, who tracks language change in Russia for the Snob portal, says that Donald Trump’s election is leading to the spread of “Trumpocalypse” and other “Trumpisms” in the Russian language and that these provide a rich field of study of linguists like herself.

            She says she heard her first Russian Trumpism in a Moscow café the day after Trump won the election in the US. One Russian said to another, she reports, that he “’had no strength left and had been trumped for the day.’” But almost immediately after that, she heard dozens of neologisms based on his name (

            Trump’s name and its translation into Russia where it means “a winning card” encourages this process, Turkova says, as does the fact that be changing only the letter “m” trump becomes not a winning card but a trap. Among the most common Trumpisms so far are “Trumpocalypse,” “Trumpomania,” and “Trumpanic.”

            Some Russians, picking up on a linguistic innovation offered by filmmaker Michael Moore in September, have also begun referring to the United States as “Trumpland,” the Snob portal journalist reports.

            The Russians are far from alone in doing this, she continues. The French are using their own expression “se tromper,” to suggest that the US has made a mistake.  And the Ukrainians are corrupting their verb, “trapitis’,” to read “traMpilos’.”  The question then in Kyiv, “what’s happened?” takes on a whole new meaning.

            Both supporters and opponents of Trump are engaged in this creative work, Turkova says, an indication that “the world really is on the brink of changes, that it is becoming unpredictable, that analysts have been wrong in their predictions, and that the accepted arrangements have collapsed.”

            As a result, she says, “not only the figure but even the family name Trump has become a marker of these changes. But we still do not know what the post-Trumpanic arrangement of the world will be.”

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