Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Great Genby.

A little fun with new Russian.


Digital age and and a country open to outside world created entirely new ways for language creativity.

Take this, for example. Switching from one language to another also requires, when writing, switching your keyboard settings. In the case of Russian, switching from Latin alphabet to Cyrillic. Many Russians soon discovered that typing in Russian when the keyboard is switched to English creates quite a few fun words. And vice versa.

If you type 'Dear' to start a formal letter, in Cyrillic it becomes 'Вуфк' that sounds Woofk. A nonsense word that doesn't mean anything but sounds onomatopoeic both in Russian and in English with 'oof' and 'уф' interjections as the most obvious. Russian 'oof' has the same meaning as in English. I have a friend with whom we use 'Вуфк' as a regular greeting in correspondence.

If you touch-type Putin in Russian with the standard Cyrillic фыва-олдж keyboard in mind but with the Qwerty layout switched on, the name becomes Genby. It is now becoming an internet meme in its own right.

And the most popular reverse word that sprung from the switched keyboard phenomenon is ЗЫ. ZY, pronounced z-yee with the hard Russian ы sound, is nothing but PS, a postscript. But it also has an added weight of introducing a punch line, an ironic or sarcastic conclusion to one's blog post or a social network update. Probably because it sounds similar to 'гы', a Russian interjection, expressing impish glee.

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