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The Russian Language that We are Losing

According to an article from the “Expert” magazine, in Russia, alarming changes have appeared in our language, taking place in our national culture. The language is the receptacle of the national system of values: it reflects its mutations, captures and accentuates them. Russian language is dramatically regressing, falling into obscurity, littering our language with words that are shifting our traditional values.

Numerous Russian words are disappearing from our vocabulary, they are losing their original sense to be replaced by nonsense meanings.

In Russian, for example, we have lost the words “положительный” (positive) and “отрицательный” (negative). We have “позитивный” (positive but from the English word) and “негативный” (negative but from the English word). “Очень хороший” (very good), “замечательный” (remarkable), “неповторимый” (unique), “удивительный” (amazing) have been replaced by “уникальный” (unique also from the English word).

Instead of “удобный” (comfortable, cosy), we find the word “комфортный” (comfortable from the English word). “Громадный” (huge), “всемирный (universal) are not used anymore, we prefer “глобальный” (global). “Исключительный” (exceptional) became “эксклюзивный” (exclusive), etc.

Words that traditionally described unattractive traits of character or feelings have moved in a category of complementary, for example “амбициозный” (ambitious), “прагматичный” (pragmatic), “деловой” (practical).

Our vocabulary is led by the advertising market economy: a magazine and a chain of stores are called “Эгоист” (egoist). In one slogan the neologism “умножадный” (the wise miser) was used. On TV there was a game “Алчность” (cupidity)…

It is interesting to observe how we use the word “достаточно” (enough). It has replaced nearly all the synonyms: “довольно” (enough), “вполне” (quite), “весьма&qquot; (very, rather). Apparently it is because in the word “достаточно” (enough) you can get all the quantitative, materialistic component.

And how many words can we find in Russian to express the nuances of human experience!!!! Я удивлён (I’m surprised), я ошеломлён (I’m stupefied), ошарашен (stunned), потрясён (astonished), растерян (confused)…. But now all we hear around is “я в шоке” (I’m shocked). It seems that we don’t have anymore time and interest in our crazy life to share our feelings, and that we are only able to communicate about some reactions on our external stimuli (well, in fact just like primitive organisms).

Words like “честь” (honour), “достоинство” (dignity) can now be found in law texts. In our real life, they are already perceived as “пафосные” (pretentious).

Елена Коновалова