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Oxford’s word of the year, Topol explained: it is not “rebellion of youth”

Christmas is traditionally the Oxford dictionary chooses word of the year and going by the media as though someone once gave a Nobel prize. There is not so important which study is based linguists, it is diagnosed the trend, and the “Word — 2017” was the English concept of a youthquake that we have wrongly translated as “revolt of youth”. To deal with the translation (not just words, but it a trend), we helped a writer Eduard Topol, who we called Israel.


photo: Natalia Muslinkina
Eduard Topol.

According to Oxford dictionary youthquake was first printed in 1965 Diana Vreeland in the article of Vogue magazine. Years passed, and only now fully in other senses, is the finest hour of this “young shake”: in recent years, the number of its use has increased seven times. It is clear that the honorary post of the “word of the year” there were many contenders (e.g., “dirt”), but won all the optimistic trend .

Eduard Vladimirovich, what is the importance of choosing a “word of the year”? At some point this became the “selfie”, for example… Now it “unatractive” or “rebellion of youth”.

— Youthquake [YUS-quake]. It is clear that the Oxford English dictionary took the word according to frequency of use among youth, and for specific audiences. I do not think that this was some popular slang word. Unlikely.

They are trying to find a word that leads mankind forward…

— The word good. I like it by itself. Because all the new processes or social transformation taking place in the world, traditionally excited youth. [YUS-quake] is associated with young audiences and in design and in meaning. It’s so voluminous, it’s like a young star is born in astronomy. But this is not a “youth rebellion.”

It would be wrong?

Is not precisely and more narrowly. [YUS-quake] — this rebellion, and youth of all neoplasms. For example, a very young twenty-year-old guys invented Google. This is youthquake, because it shook the entire planet. Not as “earthquake”, and as a shift of civilization. This is comparable to the invention of the automobile 150 years ago. The new engine of progress, that’s what it means [YUS-quake]. “Young shock”, I would say. It’s closer in meaning, but still in English it wider. So immediately I will not up with analogue. Took, joined the two words and get the concept. I think in the Russian language, it strikes root, and will also be a concept.

— How privacy, also in Russian there is no equivalent…

— Well, Yes. In the same way as in English language there is no word “banal”. They have no concept of banality. In Russian, we know what it is, and no matter how the translators tried to find the English equivalent — it was not that. Each language has its specific use. We Ozhegova dictionary 250 thousand words, and in the English dictionary 600 thousand. But this does not mean that English is three times richer. If in Russian you can use suffixes and prefixes to increase the number of word meanings in English that are not; and it turns out that these are two different language systems of thinking. In English you can take two small, short words (English words are shorter than Russian two times), combine them, and the result is a new concept.

— But well, I didn’t “compromising”? Not dirty Laundry, insider dirt, that is also fashionable, but still the notion of positive?

— Yes, it would be sad if I won “compromising”. But [YUS-quake] is just for “Moskovsky Komsomolets”, you just do it. You do this [YUS-quake] in almost every room, at least, try. And it’s wonderful. Can transfer Gusev from me. You, thank God, have not “Communist Union of youth”, namely [YUS-quake]!

— The names of the traditional left, both in Europe many Newspapers, the title of which Evening, but no they are not… everything is going online on the Internet. And do not you think that in the future the number of Russian native speakers will still shrink?

— I think that the Internet greatly facilitates this contraction. And it’s not that Russian language pressed anglicisms. While Yes, and that’s important: because the entire field of high-tech uses all the same English meaning, sorry, the iPhone won’t we have invented, as well as Silicon Valley exists in an English speaking country… And this has serious value.

— What country creates meanings…

— Well, of course. But the language narrows not so. The youth massively use SMS, messages from Twitter, wotsap and so forth, that it just narrows the Russian language. I’m writing a message and the phone tells me the words. Not to me they came up, and the phone — his intellectual dictionary. And I want, maybe another drink, but he tells me I like the fact that it laid. And I sometimes have to rewrite. Phone forcibly narrows my dictionary, pushes me into a banal…

“Hello. How are you?”

— Here you see. In addition, the epidemic of young people reduces long Russian words to write. And then these reductions are included in our everyday life. Pushkin reserve was 20,000 words, which he used in all his wonderful works. It is a huge dictionary for a person. And vocabulary English mercenary soldier was 200 words. And they could do… So the field narrows. What to do. The global processes.

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