Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ksenia Turkova and Alexei Mikheev. Russian language resources.

I'd like to recommend two resources on modern Russian language.

The first is the Russian linguist Alexei Mikheev's (Алексей Михеев) website "Словари XXI века. Клуб ценителей русского языка" (Dictionaries of the 21st Century, the Russian language appreciation club). The website aggregates news items, commentary and analysis on new trends, usage and cultural references in modern Russian.

Mikheev also runs an active Facebook group "Словарь года" (Dictionary of the Year) where he and other members pick new words, phrases and usages from current news. Discussions are lively, members post links and references. Both the site and the Facebook group are usually up to the point and free from hysterical shouting that infects many forums these days. Based on posts and discussions Mikheev compiles monthly and yearly 'dictionaries' of new words and usages in Russian. Great fun and very informative.

A current discussion focuses on "двушечка", literally 'a little two', or two-kopeck coin. President Putin used the word in relation to the two-year prison sentence for the three members of Pussy Riot, the feminist punk-rock group.

As with other FB groups you need to ask to be accepted as a member.

The second resource is a Moscow News ("Московские новости") regular column on language by Ksenia Turkova (Ксения Туркова). Like Mikheev, Turkova also focuses on new usages and phrases appearing in current news. Her analysis is apt and based on sound linguistic background.

Turkova's columns are widely read and have active commentary threads. Discussions there rarely deteriorate to abuse and threats.

The latest column looks at "двушечка" as an example of cognitive dissonance that has become one of Putin's hallmarks.  

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