10 Russian words that cannot be translated into English

Despite the fact that the assets of the English language more than a million words, sometimes there are situations when a simple translate for Russian-speaking person, the concept proved to be too difficult. This is especially true when it comes to the mysterious Russian soul. “Subtlety” has collected 10 Russian words that have no simple and understandable English equivalent.

10 русских слов, которые невозможно перевести на английский

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Rudeness

“Rudeness is nothing like rudeness, insolence and arrogance, coupled with impunity” — so clearly and succinctly described the concept of Sergei Dovlatov. The writer lived in new York for 10 years and have admitted that most of all he was surprised by the lack of rudeness: “you can steal, but don’t slam the door in front of your nose”.

2. Longing

In English this word can be translated except as “melancholy” or “emotional pain”. But these concepts do not convey the depth of the Russian Tosca.

“Not one word in the English language cannot convey all the nuances of longing,” — said Vladimir Nabokov.

3. Maybe

To explain to a foreigner the meaning of the word will be very difficult, because the exact counterparts for him just yet. Despite the fact that many people consider “random” feature of the Russian national character, quickly explain to the English what was going on, just will not work.

“The absence of a term in the dictionary of some people does not always mean the absence of the corresponding concept, however, prevents complete and accurate understanding” — Vladimir Nabokov.

4. Chaos

Literally “lawlessness” means “without limitation”. At least that is the synonym of this concept was able to pick up a Professor of Slavic studies at the University of new York, Eliot Borenstein. Some translators sometimes use the word “lawlessness,” however, the Russian “chaos” is much broader and implies a violation not only of law, but also social and moral norms.

5. Feat

English “feat” often translated as “achievement”, but it clearly does not reflect the essence of the Russian word. The fact that the feat is not only and not so much the achievement of the goal or outcome and heroic action, act in extremely difficult circumstances — and in spite of them.

6. Vulgarity

Teaching in America, Vladimir Nabokov admitted that he could not translate it understandable to every English-speaking word in English.

“From the time when Russia began to think, all educated, sensitive and open-minded Russians are acutely aware of the sticky fingered touch of vulgarity”.

However, one translation, quite original and close enough to the original meaning, he still invented: posh-lust, “passion for bling”.

Later, Harvard Professor Svetlana boym tried to give their interpretation of the Russian term: “This word also means a triviality, vulgarity, sexual immorality and callousness”.

7. This neglect

For the first time the word was used by Feodor Dostoevsky in the novel “the Double”: the author was very proud of the new term. In his understanding, “this neglect” meant the desire to step aside and become invisible.

8. Genesis

In the Russian-English dictionaries it is translated as being (literally — “creature”). However, the Russian Genesis is not just life, but the existence of objective reality independent of human consciousness. Genesis comes from the Russian word “to be.”

9. Whacky

Holy fools in Russia called those who voluntarily renounced worldly pleasures for the sake of faith. They were often like madmen and were closed or wandering way of life in order to find peace and to eliminate a earthly passions.

10. Tear

This is a key concept in the writings of Dostoevsky, meaning strong, uncontrolled emotional outburst, during which the person exposes the intimate, hidden in the depths of feelings. Thanks to the novels of a writer entrenched in the Russian language.

In difficult-to-transfer “anguish” is the idea of all forces, hysterical confessional and even a kind of masochistic narcissism.

English

learning languages

Russian language

Educational program

Special projects

FacebookVkontakte

bookmark