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Thread: Русская песня "Мурка" - does the lyrics contain slang words?

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    Русская песня "Мурка" - does the lyrics contain slang words?

    I wonder if someone can help me translate a few of words of the lyrics to a Russian song called "Murka", that I haven't been able to find in dictionaries. The words I can't find are probably slang.

    This is the first verse:

    Прибыла в Одессу банда из Амура,
    В банде были урки, шулера.
    Банда занималась темными делами,
    И за ней следила Губчека.


    The word I'm curios about is "Губчека". I'm thinking perhaps it means a set of rules, or a moral code, that criminals are supposed to live by. I could be completely wrong though.


    This is the refrain:

    Мурка, ты мой Мурёночек!
    Мурка, ты мой котёночек!
    Мурка - Маруся Климова,
    Прости любимого!


    I wonder what "Мурёночек" and "котёночек" mean.


    Finally, this is the last (in some versions) verse:

    Здравствуй, моя Мурка,
    Мурка дорогая!
    Здравствуй, моя Мурка, - и прощай!
    Ты зашухерила нашу всю малину,
    И перо за это получай!


    I've also seen this verse end with:

    А теперь маслину получай

    I'm guessing that to receive a feather means you receive your death sentence, and the olive of course represents a bullet.

    What I can't find out is what the words "зашухерила" (sometimes "зашухaрила") and "малину" mean.

    It is a lovely song, even though it is about betrayal and revenge, and if anyone has not heard it, I can recommend Хор Турецкого, they do a wonderful A Capella version.

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    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swede74 View Post
    The word I'm curios about is "Губчека". I'm thinking perhaps it means a set of rules, or a moral code, that criminals are supposed to live by. I could be completely wrong though.
    Губчека = Губ ЧК => Губернская Чрезвычайная Комиссия
    To say "И за ней следила Губчека" is roughly equivalent of saying the gang was so ruthless and invincible that the matter required special attention of the FBI; the local police was not enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swede74 View Post
    I wonder what "Мурёночек" and "котёночек" mean.
    Мурёночек is a diminutive of Мурка.
    "Котёночек" is a word play. Мурка is a diminutive of Мария. It's very uncommon today, but it used to be common in the past. Also, Мурка - is a traditional female cat name for the lack of a real name because the first syllable "Мур" resembles of a sound a cat makes when purring. So, the author of the song has a girlfriend named Maria and calls her also a kitten.

    To address your later questions, the following is a translation of some of the slang words used:

    1. перо = a feather => a knife

    2. маслинa = an olive => a bullet

    3. шухерить, шухaрить => infiltrate (in this context)
    The long origin of this is said to be from Odessa where many of the thieves were Jewish and spoke Yiddish in different dialects, so шахар, шухар, шухер, and шойхер are basically the same word meaning "morning". The thieves had a designated person who "stood/watched the morning" while the rest of the thieves were doing their theft at night. In the morning they had to stop. Also, the "morning" (=stop the theft or robbery) could come early if a stranger or a police passed nearby. With time, the word "шухер" started to just mean "danger". In the context of this song, the word is used in that general sense meaning Maria infiltrated the gang putting the entire gang in danger. The proper name for Maria should be "мусор" or "мойсер" meaning "traitor". However, the word "мусор" is now used exclusively to denote a policeman.

    4. малина = dwelling (in Yiddish) => the place where the gang is based

    Hope it helps.

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    Thank you very much for your extensive answer. It was very helpful; ever since I came across this song I have wanted a translation, and to learn to sing it. The former turned out to be a tougher nut to crack than the latter. I would never have guessed that "Губчека" is an abbreviation rather than a 'real' word.

    When you mentioned the traditional female cat name "Мурка" I came to think about the first dog in space, Лайка. It seems that name is constructed in a similar way, and I have been told it means "The one that barks", or simply "Barker"

    As I said, your information was very helpful and much appreciated. Now I also know what not to call a policeman, should I ever get in trouble with the law in Russia.

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    You're most welcome.

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