Staunton, January 28 – How great a long-term impact Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the Internet will have on Russia remains to be seen, but the three in varying degrees and in varying ways are already changing the Russian language in ways that merit attention because the way people use words both reflects and shapes how they think and behave.
Kseniya Turkova who keeps track of language issues for the Snob portal has written before about the linguistic games Russians have been playing with Trump’s name (snob.ru/selected/entry/116376), but this week she focuses on the impact he is having on the Russian language itself (snob.ru/selected/entry/119873
У and inserted the letter И instead of the letter Ы. The correct spelling, transliterated should be otynaugurirovali as ugly as that sounds.
In the same column this week, Turkova points to what she says is Putin’s latest contribution to the Russian language which he has earlier enriched by his use of vulgarisms and criminal underworld slang. This time, she says, he offered a euphemism, describing prostitutes who supposedly cavorted with Trump, as “girls of lessened social responsibility.”
Russian reaction to this was fast and furious, with perhaps the most widespread comment being that “the girls” involved showed not “lessened” social responsibility but rather a “heightened” one if you looked at things from a different angle. But the media is delighted to have yet another euphemism for prostitute: they’ve had difficulty coming up with anything new in that sector recently.
Finally, the impact of the Internet on Russian, which has already having a greater influence on the language that either Trump or Putin could hope for, is now being tracked in a new study soon to be published of a “Dictionary of the Language of Internet.ru” (echo.msk.ru/blog/govorimporusski/1917690-echo/