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Thread: Incorrect Russian as a stylistic means.

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    Incorrect Russian as a stylistic means.

    Incorrect Russian as a stylistic means.

    We, native speakers, sometimes make our speech incorrect deliberately, in order to achieve some effects. I decided to write a small article covering this phenomenon for the forum. I think it might be useful for English-speaking learners of Russian since they can observe some peculiarities of the language “on the inside”, it also may help to feel how the possible errors are percieved by the native speakers.

    I would also be very grateful if some English speakers could correct my language errors in this article.

    1. The first type of the deliberately made errors are those used to imitate an incorrect foreigners’ speech. They may be classified into two groups: grammar errors and pronunciation errors (i.e. foreign accent).
    1a) Grammar errors. We, Russians, usually imagine a foreigner’s speech is a speech full of incorrectly used noun cases and verb forms. An incorrect declension (or a total lack of declension) is one of the most popular ways to imitate a foreigner’s speech. Let’s try the phrase: «Я бы хотел купить этот игрушка для моя дочь» “I’d like to buy this toy for my daughter”, and every Russian can easily imagine a foreigner in a shop. Certainly, a native Russian would say «Я бы хотел купить эту игрушку для моей дочери». Or: «Мне нужно послать почта мой друг» “I need to send a mail to my friend” instead of natural Russian «Мне нужно послать почту моему другу». Incorrect gender agreement is also a popular means to achieve this effect. We have already seen it in the example with «этот игрушка» (see above), here both the gender agreement and the case are improper. More examples: «Этот дорога очень длинный» “This road is very long” instead of the proper «Эта дорога очень длинная»; «Погода был тёплый» “The weather was warm” instead of «Погода была тёплая». All such phrases sound funny and make a good effect of a foreigner’s imperfect Russian.
    Another kind of deliberate grammar errors is the improper use of Russian verb forms. The most popular way to do it is just to substitute all the verb forms by their infinitives. «Я любить смотреть русский фильм» “I like seeing Russian films” instead of «Я люблю смотреть русские фильмы». «Вчера мы прилететь из Нью-Йорк» “We arrived from New York yesterday” instead of «Вчера мы прилетели из Нью-Йорка». Sometimes Russians add an auxiliary verb «есть» (to be) to those verbs, in order to achieve a greater effect, since this auxiliary verb is never used in real Russian verb forms: «Я есть прилететь из Нью-Йорк», «Я есть читать ваш статья» and all the similar constructions sound very foreign for Russian ears, the correct ones are: «Я прилетел из Нью-Йорка», «Я читал past (or читаю present) вашу статью». If a Russian uses a construction like that in his speech, everybody will understand he is trying to seem a foreigner (maybe he is doing it just for fun, or for any other possible purpose).
    One more way to seem a foreigner is to use a copular verb «есть» in its present tense between two nouns or before an adjective. Examples: «Я есть инженер». “I am an engineer” instead of Russian «Я инженер», «Это есть мой портфель» “This is my briefcase” for natural «Это мой портфель», «Ваша страна есть очень большой» “Your country is very big” for «Ваша страна очень большая» (pay attention to the improper gender agreement, too), and so on.
    2b) Imitating a foreign accent. Certainly, it depends on what accent the speaker wants to imitate. The most popular ways to imitate the English accent used by Russians are:
    - English [R] (if the speaker knows how to pronounce it);
    - English alveolar [T] and [D] instead of Russian dentals (the same note, see above);
    - Aspirated voiceless consonants [P], [T] and [K], i.e. pronunciation with a superfluous air flow (the aspiration is not found in Russian pronunciation);
    - Pronunciation of [И] (“ee”) instead of Russian [Ы]: «Я бил там» “I was there” instead of «Я был там»;
    - Lack of palatalization, i.e. pronouncing hard consonants where the soft ones should be: просба [PROSba] instead of просьба [PROZ’ba] “request”, огон [aGON] instead of огонь [aGON’] “fire”, сколко [SKOLka] instead of сколько [SKOL’ka] “how much”, скорост [SKOrost] instead of скорость [SKOrast’] “speed” etc.
    - Incorrect pronunciation of Е, Ё, Ю, Я after consonants. In real Russian pronunciation, those vowels are NOT pronounced with a “Y” [j] sound when following a consonant. They are pronounced as clear Э [eh], О [aw], У [oo], А [ah] sounds preceded by a soft (palatalized) consonant. A very typical mistake made by foreigners is to pronounce an additional “Y” [j] sound without palatalizing the consonant. So far, we imitate saying мьесто [MYESta] instead of место [M’ESta] “place”, льёд [LYOT] instead of лёд [L’OT] “ice”, утьюг [ooTYOOK] instead of утюг [ooT’OOK] “an iron”, пьят [PYAT] instead of пять [P’AT’] “five” etc.
    This way of imitating the foreign (not only English!) accent is one of the most popular used by Russians, or maybe even the most popular one. I think that is because: 1) it’s very easy to imitate this error by native Russians, since those sound combinations really occur in some other Russian words, namely where the “ь” is written (as in «пьеса» [PYEsa] “scene play”, «вьюга» [VYOOga] “snowstorm”, «семья» [s’iMYA] “family” etc.); 2) the Russian ear is very sensitive to this type of pronunciation mistakes.

    2. Another type of the deliberately made errors are the errors made to achieve a comical or funny effect, or for some other purposes (not for imitating foreigners’ speech). Those are mainly grammar, word structure ore spelling errors. The phonetic errors are not usually used for those purposes.
    a. Grammar errors. They are mostly used to obtain a comic effect, or to make a sentence sound unusual or unexpected. The most popular errors of this type are:
    - incorrect gender agreement of verbs with the first person subject. Namely, a man can use feminine, and a woman can use masculine speaking about (him/her)self in the past tense. The most popular examples are: «Я пошла» by a man or «Я пошёл» by a woman “Well, I go (somewhere)”. It sounds very comically and unusual;
    - answering a question in the same person it was asked. Examples: «Ты придёшь? – Придёшь (2nd person)» instead of «Приду (1st person)» “Will you come? – I will”. «Вы будете обедать? – Будете (2nd person pl)» instead of «Будем (1st person pl)» “Will you have lunch? – We will”. Usually it helps to achieve a very good effect of unusualty and unexpectedness;
    - some other inconsistencies in verb person, like «Я иду и он иду» instead of «Я иду и он идёт» “I am going and he is going”. This sounds very comically;
    - deliberately wrong verbal conjugation. Sometimes it also helps to express comicity: «сиДЮ» instead of «сиЖУ» “I am sitting” (because of сиДИШЬ – сиДИТ – сиДИМ – сиДИТЕ – сиДЯТ), «приноСЮ» instead of «приноШУ» “I bring” (because of приНОсишь – приНОсит – приНОсим – приНОсите – приНОсят) etc. Such forms as «сиДЮ», «приноСЮ» etc. sound really funny.
    b. Word structure errors. There are a lot of different types. One of the most possible types is swapping syllables, like «мочеПУ» instead of «почеМУ» “Why?”, «шаранДАК» instead of «каранДАШ» “pencil” and so on.
    c. Spelling errors. They can sometimes be used to achieve some kind of special effect. Example: as every Russian knows, Я and Ю are never written after Ч and Щ. So, the word «ЧУдо» “miracle, wonder” is spelled via У, not Ю, despite the consonant Ч is always soft. Even schoolchildren know it well. But someone may write: «Ты моё чюдо» “You are my miracle, You are wonderful”, and we understand he wants to express his affectionate feelings to a girl together with a little irony by means of the “soft” letter Ю and incorrect spelling.

    We will not discuss the “Word Game” here since that is a subject of a separate complex analysis.

  2. #2
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    Моя считать пример с "чюдо" неудачным, лучше взять какое-нибудь другое слово, в котором ошибка будет явно намеренной. В падонкафском языке таких особенно много.

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    Re: Incorrect Russian as a stylistic means.

    Another kind of deliberate grammar error is the improper use of Russian verb forms.
    If a Russian uses a construction like that in his speech, everybody will understand he is trying to seem like a foreigner (maybe he is doing it just for fun, or for any other possible purpose).
    The most popular examples are: «Я пошла» by a man or «Я пошёл» by a woman “Well, I go (somewhere)”. It sounds very comical and unusual;
    - some other inconsistencies in verb person, like «Я иду и он иду» instead of «Я иду и он идёт» “I am going and he is going”. This sounds very comical;
    Usually it helps to achieve a very good effect of unusuality and unexpectedness;
    So, the word «ЧУдо» “miracle, wonder” is spelled via У, not Ю, despite that the consonant Ч is always soft.
    or
    So, the word «ЧУдо» “miracle, wonder” is spelled via У, not Ю, despite the consonant Ч always being soft.


    The rest was fine, nicely written.

    Interesting read.
    Please correct any Russian language mistakes I make.

  4. #4
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    Re: Incorrect Russian as a stylistic means.

    Quote Originally Posted by волк
    Another kind of deliberate grammar error is the improper use of Russian verb forms.
    [quote:1wg1ymst]If a Russian uses a construction like that in his speech, everybody will understand he is trying to seem like a foreigner (maybe he is doing it just for fun, or for any other possible purpose).
    The most popular examples are: «Я пошла» by a man or «Я пошёл» by a woman “Well, I go (somewhere)”. It sounds very comical and unusual;
    - some other inconsistencies in verb person, like «Я иду и он иду» instead of «Я иду и он идёт» “I am going and he is going”. This sounds very comical;
    Usually it helps to achieve a very good effect of unusuality and unexpectedness;
    So, the word «ЧУдо» “miracle, wonder” is spelled via У, not Ю, despite that the consonant Ч is always soft.
    or
    So, the word «ЧУдо» “miracle, wonder” is spelled via У, not Ю, despite the consonant Ч always being soft.


    The rest was fine, nicely written.

    Interesting read.[/quote:1wg1ymst]

    grammatical error
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  5. #5
    Почтенный гражданин Volk's Avatar
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    Now that just adds to the irony...

    Hah, I didn't see that one.

    You can still use 'grammar error' though but grammatical is better.
    Please correct any Russian language mistakes I make.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by волк
    Now that just adds to the irony...

    Hah, I didn't see that one.

    You can still use 'grammar error' though but grammatical is better.
    Yeh, I think both are OK.

    I don't like "he is trying to seem like a foreigner".
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    Great. Is someone going to write the same tutorial about padonki slang?
    My English isn't so good, зато с русским все в порядке ))
    I'll be very thankful, if you correct my mistakes.

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    Great. Is anyone going to write the same tutorial about padonki slang?
    My English isn't so good, зато с русским все в порядке ))
    I'll be very thankful, if you correct my mistakes.

  9. #9
    Почтенный гражданин Volk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TATY
    Quote Originally Posted by волк
    Now that just adds to the irony...

    Hah, I didn't see that one.

    You can still use 'grammar error' though but grammatical is better.
    Yeh, I think both are OK.

    I don't like "he is trying to seem like a foreigner".
    Perhaps something like:

    If a Russian uses a construction like that in his speech, everybody will understand that he is trying to speak as a foreigner would
    Would or would do? I don't think that matters either...
    Please correct any Russian language mistakes I make.

  10. #10
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    [quote=волк]
    Quote Originally Posted by TATY
    Quote Originally Posted by "волк":1xv63vax
    Now that just adds to the irony...

    Hah, I didn't see that one.

    You can still use 'grammar error' though but grammatical is better.
    Yeh, I think both are OK.

    I don't like "he is trying to seem like a foreigner".
    Perhaps something like:

    If a Russian uses a construction like that in his speech, everybody will understand that he is trying to speak as a foreigner would
    Would or would do? I don't think that matters either...[/quote:1xv63vax]

    I'd say "trying to sound like a foreigner"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Indra
    Моя считать пример с "чюдо" неудачным, лучше взять какое-нибудь другое слово, в котором ошибка будет явно намеренной. В падонкафском языке таких особенно много.
    Моя с твоя соглашаться.
    И вообще падонкафский слэнг маст дай.

    Quote Originally Posted by Боб Уайтман
    But someone may write: «Ты моё чюдо» “You are my miracle, You are wonderful”, and we understand he wants to express his affectionate feelings to a girl together with a little irony by means of the “soft” letter Ю and incorrect spelling.
    Actually if I saw such writing, I would rather consider the author as an illiterate uneducated unintelligent person than understand he was expressing "his affectionate feelings"
    Please correct my mistakes if you can, especially article usage.
    My avatar shall be the author I'm currently reading.

  12. #12
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    Мне нравица этот иформация
    Ingenting kan stoppa mig
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    Quote Originally Posted by TATY
    Мне нравица этот иформация
    *shudder*
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
    Yo hablo español mejor que tú.
    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

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