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Tusovka the Art of Getting Together in Russia

Curiously, there is no word in other languages that could be considered the equivalent of what new Russians call “тусовка” (to get together). The etymology of this word is not certain. Most likely, it comes from the Russian verb “тасовать” (to shuffle, we usually say “тасовать карты” which means to shuffle cards).

The meaning of this word can be understood in various ways. This is due to the fact that initially it was used to describe the gathering of people, mainly for entertaining purposes, and it resulted in a metonymy (transfer of values or association between to words).

The word can also express the idea of “группу людей, объединённых какими-либо интересами” (a group of people united by some interests), like for example young people, members of a same political party, people from a same corporation, etc.

And from this new value arose a new meaning: “the elite”. In addition, like all buzzwords, тусовка (to get together, to hang out) is very flexible, and can be use with various meanings. Thus , the verb “тусоваться” can mean “быть среди кого-либо, проводить время, общаться, развлекаться, дружить, иметь общие интересы”(be among other people, spend time with others, exchange ideas, have fun, make friends, have common interest). And for this reason, the translation of the word in any other language largely depends on the context.

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(Based on the book “Русский “тусовочный” как иностранный” (Russian word “getting together” in foreign languages) T. Shkapenko, F. Khyubner).

Елена Коновалова

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