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DPG
07-11-2003, 12:30
For me the two things that immediately spring to mind are both connected with the russian language:

1.) When I as a Brit go up to a collegue in a bar or where ever who also happens to be a Brit/Yank/Aussie/Kiwi etc and ask "how's it going??" to be answered "Khorosho"....even if they do speak Russian, why speak it to me??!!!!

2.) When those who do speak (at least some) Russian for some reason insist on adding in a few words to all their sentences. Now, I know that we all use the words Babushka and perekhod and producti, but when people insist on saying things (to other expats) like "do you fancy a cup of tea?? shall I put the Chaiynik on??" it makes me want to die with embarassment!

Any one else have any others to add - what really annoys you about your fellow expat??

I say fellow expat here because I don't think it would be in particularly good taste for russians to start slagging us off or vice versa.

Perhaps new threads can be started about what annoys russians about russians, what annoys expats about russians, what annoys russians about expats (other than the fact that native speakers charge $40 for a lesson!!!!;)) - let's keep them polite though hey!

Cheers, on this gloriously sunny revolution day!!

Intourist
07-11-2003, 14:44
DPG,

Why in god's name would you be embarrased ? There's a lot of Russian words that better capture an idea or phrase than their nearest English counterparts. Culturally, the "tea-kettle" is certainly not as prevalent in American culture, as it is here, and it's two words instead of one. Chainik is easier. It goes both ways, and despite your request out of sensitivity to keep it one-sided, I think a lot of Russians would confirm the same thing, just witness the abundance of English words adopted in Russian.

Honestly, I think it's this feeling of embarrasement, or discomfort or whatever you wish to call it that prevents a lot of expats from really immersing themselves and learning the language better.

Perhaps you're taking it as a form of showing off, or maybe you feel silly using words from a language that you don't yet speak well ? I don't mean that pointedly as criticism, because I think it's pretty natural. I also think, though, that you have to get over that initial feeling of embarrasment and go headforth into it, using the language whenever you can.

Actually,[taking deep breath after having droned on too long], to answer your original question on what annoys me about expats, I'd say it's almost the opposite of what you mentioned, and that is the lack of desire to "sink in". Living here and taking no desire or responsibility to see "locally" is somewhat akin to expressing a cultural superiority.

Just my thoughts. Be interested to hear your comments in response.

Regards,
Intour

kniga
07-11-2003, 15:34
English speakers the world over immediately begin borrowing and using words from the host countries they find themselves in. Allied soldiers in Germany following WII used "mox nix" (machts nights) for "never mind/it doesn't matter"; occupation troops in Japan used "skosh" (shortened from 'skoshi') for "a little" and "mama-san" for "lady"; troops in Vietnam said, "di-di!" for "get going!" and expats in Moscow say, "Khorosho" for "fine". It is all part of a pattern of picking up snatches of a new language and trying the words on for size. Perhaps for some it is an affectation, but for most it is just experimentation on the casual social level, an effort to fit in and an acknowledgement that they are in a new linguistic environment. Russians do the same thing in English speaking countries and carry the habit to such an extreme in many cases that after they have been in the U.K., U.S., Canada, etc., a few years, cannot speak their native Russian without a generous sprinkling of English words in their sentences. Now THAT'S irritating if you know both languages because it forces you out of Russian into English when you are thinking and listening in Russian.

machine
07-11-2003, 16:05
Kniga, allow me to illustrate your post with these 2 dialogs:

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:D

kniga
07-11-2003, 16:15
Machine,

This is pure Breighton Beach and you have to know both languages to understand these two hilarious exchanges! Good examples! :-)

J.D.
07-11-2003, 16:51
I have to agree with Kniga, one of the great strengths of English comes from its borrowing from other languages. 30% of the common words in English come from French. Because of this borrowing English has more words than any other language, Inspite of what the Staliniststyledbrainwashed Russians may say.

Just think DPG, you may be one to bring back a Russian word to the English language.

Braders
07-11-2003, 17:30
DPG i have done what you mentioned countless times ;)

I suppose the mindset changes when you have been here a decade, i never mean to do it, it just slips out sometimes.

With my mates i very rarely do it, however i have been known to say in the past for example: 'Look at the fxxking size of that Televizor' maybe i watched Clockwork Orange to many times.

I have had strange looks indeed in the UK when i simply answered 'Daa' to a mates question in the pub, 'Give us a Piva' has slipped out before as well :p

As for swearing in Russian well i think it sounds better than swearing in English ;)

vespasian
07-11-2003, 21:51
When the spattering of Russian words with English flows smoothly and just seems to be a case of habit, I do not find it annoying (especially by those who have been here long-term). But I fully agree with DPG. My biggest pet peave is when expats who suck at Russian find it necessary to try to show how smart they are by either trying to speak to you in Russian (when they are butchering the language), or throw in tons of Russian words to impress you with their intellect or to show just how "connected" they are with Russia. There are plenty who throw in the Russian words in such a blatantly stilted way that it annoys me to tears.
Braders, there is no pretentiousness dripping from your voice when you automatically slip in those Russian words out of habit. But there is a big difference between that and a show-off prat.

Maine Surfer
08-11-2003, 05:09
Showing off always sucks, doesn't matter where.

I have hard times speaking pure Russian with my fellow Russian immigrants here. It's just there are so many words and phrases I can express better and clearer in English, so my Russian here consists of 85% Russian and 15% English. No one seems to mind. It's going to change when I come back to the motherland, so I suspect people there WILL mind me adding some English words :D

Couple examples from Braighton Beach, big sovok (stay away from that place and Brooklyn in general)

-Chto ti delaesh'?
-Chilayu


Me and my wife in Brooklyn visiting our friend. We go to a store called International Foods, and deciding on what kind of kolbasa to get. Discussing it in English (my wife doesn't speak Russian). A Russian babushka-prodavets hears our English and screams to another babushka-prodavets "Valya, come and help me out. I have two FOREIGNERS buing kolbasa"!!!!

DPG
08-11-2003, 13:32
Well, I was rather referring to the showing off that vespasian describes so well!

As for the thing which I turn on when I awake each morning, I have never called it a 'tea-kettle'!!;) We Brits simply say 'kettle' so the guy who came out with 'chainik' was saving himself not a syllable! And whilst I can see where Intourist and Kniga are both coming from with the language morphing point, the reasoning behind the trend are as far removed from some drunken expat (in the general sense of the word - not directed at anyone here)asking his friendly landlord for a 'pint of pivo mate' as can be.

The driving force behind languages taking words from others these days is simply internationalisation of business (in which English is THE lingua franca) - look at the words which commonly crop up in russian such as 'sayelz menejerz' or 'bizinezz development deerektors' - they are used on a literally gloabal basis. Also, by the way why is it that Russians simply love to use the term Director - is it a propensity for showing off?? One only has to go into a branch of any electronics shop and people that are termed shop assistants in any other country suddenly find themselves labeled director of putting things on shelves/floor polishing etc.

Kniga - while I find your posts both knowledgable and informative and indeed agree with many of them, on this one I have to ask whether you consider the life of the fatcat expat director on a handsome salary in Moscow (not that I am a member of that particular clique) in any way similar to that of an occupying soldier in either Japan, postwar Germany or Vietnam!!;);)

Braders: clockwork orange is a great example - can you believe that I only saw this for the first time about a week ago! There is no denying that it is a great film and may be remembered as the most (in)famous of all of Kubricks films, but, if someone was watching that with absolutely no knowledge of the Russian Language would they 'get everything'? (from a purely non-contextual standpoint)...obviously the fact that it was written by whom it was has incredible bearing on the amount of russianisms included in the script, but still, it's almost akin to me saying to someone "better get your modus vivendii in order mate, I am tired of being seen as the tertius gaudius in your affairs" - they may understand it, but is it really neccessary??

Basically what I'm saying is that I dopn't mind speaking russian to russians - of course I do it on an almost daily basis! But I simply view it as showing off when some prat, the extent of whose russian vocabulary stretches to the heady heights of 'Khorosho, Da, Nyet, Pivo and Spasibo' finds it necessary to answer me in Russian when I address him in English.

Naturally though, if someone has been here for what is inarguably a long term period, and has spoken Russian in huge amounts during that time, it is almost inevitable that some will slip out from time to time. Sometimes when tired or under stress or simply absent minded they needn't have even been here that long - -

- - I remember going back to London after my first year here (during which I didn't speak that much Russian) and almost asking the taxi driver in Russian how much it would be from Heathrow to Semyonovskaya!!! - A bloody fortune by london taxi prices I imagine!!:))

That is certainly enough from me - this thread turned into something verging on serious debate, which was certainly not what I envisaged it to be!

Poka!! (Shall I start the next thread on hypocracy.....hehehe!):eek:

machine
08-11-2003, 14:06
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Intourist
08-11-2003, 14:17
Vespian and DPG,

I agree that blatant showing-off is unattractive, but let's not forget that even those for whom the occasional inadvertant word in Russian is natural due to extended time here and high level of fluency, also started somewhere, and probably "butchered" the language as well. At one point even the fluent people had a vocabulary consisting of pivo, spasibo and Ya ne ponedelnik.

It could be a matter of perception wherein you assume someone to be showing off when he's simply determined, practicing by exercising his limited vocabulary, especially if it's to another expat whose command of the language is much greater and might be able to offer the necessary corrections that are more difficult to receive from Russians.

Back in my exchange days, I met a lot of students arriving here so determined to immerse themselves, that they would only speak Russian, period. With everyone including fellow exchange students. It sounded horrible, but I think you had to admire the determination.

Regards,
Intour

kniga
08-11-2003, 16:35
DPG,

You could have saved a lot of ink by starting this thread by saying that you don't like boorish expat show-offs, but on the other hand, look at the discussion that ensued! :-) What we have here is a widening discussion of the influence languages have on the speakers and vice-versa escalating right up to the position of English as the lingua franca in the world today. You hardly touched on the influence of English on the world of computers (try writing an e-mail address in any language but English) and the fact that some 50% of all the web pages are in English or that the Russians love to adapt our computer terms by rendering them with a Russian pronunciation -- my favorite purloined verb is "" - "download + the Russian infinitive ending". And as to the comparison of occupation troops and fatcat directors in Moscow living on big salaries, I only qualify for the first category (Vietnam), so I cannot say that they equate on the socio-economic level, and certainly the age difference tends to ameliorate show-off behavior by the time one reaches the director level (Western type). However, I think the tendency to borrow and use words from the host country prevails no matter whether the individual is carrying an M-16 or a pen. The temporary occupier in both cases never gets past the dva piva stage, whereas the transplant with enough time in country begins to learn the local language.

Braders
08-11-2003, 16:49
Hows this for a starter for Ten....

Lets reverse the roles...


I use to work for a couple of idiots one was Russian one was English, one day the Russian who was pretty much fluent in English was speaking to a colleague of mine who spoke about 5 words in English. (he knew she spoke poor English)

He spoke to her for around 3 minutes in English, stating some rules and regulations, there was around 5 people listening all Russian apart from me, i first noticed after about 3 seconds, then the poor girl glanced my way and thought 'what's this guy on?' - after a minute all the people around where staring at him in disbelief, he prattled on for another 2 minutes or so and then we just dispersed.

He was under a lot of pressure at the time and this obviously affected his mind, anyone else witnessed something similar?

Can't say i've met many expats who do it deliberately, of course i have overheard many a fool in Bars and restaurants, spouting utter rubbish in Russian above the normal decibel level.

kniga
08-11-2003, 18:33
Braders,

Sounds suspiciously like a deliberate act to me. Everyone who speaks more than one language has had those occasions of slipping into the wrong language for a few words, perhaps even a sentence or two, but one always realizes the mistake and corrects it immediately. Usually, the language that is being used predominently will influence this type of lapsus linguae. It is most humorous to observers and most embarrassing to the speaker using the wrong language if there is any prolongation of the error in the wrong language, but the case of five minutes in the language your colleague did not understand seems to be a case of malicious behavior. I guess that's why you identified both of them as "idiots".

Sadie
08-11-2003, 18:43
Originally posted by kniga
Braders,
to be continued..

kniga
08-11-2003, 20:19
Sadie,

, ... :-)

Sadie
08-11-2003, 20:36
Originally posted by kniga
Sadie,

, ... :-)
Bookie,
however not that long...:)

kniga
08-11-2003, 21:04
Sadie,

It is not a condition that ever persists too long with me... :-)

Braders
09-11-2003, 00:45
Kniga...

It does indeed, but if you had known this doughnut you would have seen clearly that he had lost the plot and was in another galaxy :)

Anyone had a similar experience of stress from a Expat/Russian in the wrong position :p

kniga
09-11-2003, 08:07
Braders,

There are many painful reminders of the ongoing process whereby Russian organizations are substituting their own native employees in place of foreigners in a natural attempt to take control of their own commercial destinies and to no lesser extent because Russian employees are much cheaper to hire than expats. Unfortunately, a rose by any other name is still a rose, and incompetence brought on by lack of effective training, long experience and technical know-how usually possessed by expat talent is still incompetence. The expat faced with a Russian in a position of authority who is inexperienced and lacking the expertise required of the position he holds is always in for a rough time because of the Russian's aversion to admitting that he does not know something, does not understand something or should say, "I don't know," three words he seems incapable of uttering. For expats working in a Russian company or an organization with mixed Russian and expat employees working together, this is a major source of frustration and such tales are legion.

toka1111
09-11-2003, 10:46
- I can vouch to all above...

uninformed
09-11-2003, 12:05
Almost (and sometimes more) annoying are those expats who both hate the US/UK and think that Russians/Putin can do no wrong.

For example...

Militsia are correct to collect bribes on the spot because they are underpaid and, besides, it simplifies the paperwork.

There is nothing wrong to pay a bribe to get something done. It is just another fee and most government agencies charge fees - what's the difference?

Russians aren't racist - they hate the Georgians/Chechyans, etc for good reason and those people "deserve' what they get.

Attempting to compare the influence of the religious right in the US with the close relationship of the Russian Orthodox church and the government.

Suggesting that Russia in the 90s and America's west in the 1800s have something in common and that this justifies the behavior of criminals here.

etc etc.

There's plenty to criticize back home - whereever that may be. But it seems an overreaction to refuse to find any fault or disturbing behaviors on the part of Putin or others in Russia.

On the other hand...there are those who cannot find anything nice to say about Moscow and you have to wonder why there are even here.

kniga
09-11-2003, 16:26
Uninformed,

Extremes are always annoying and always worth ignoring.

DJ Biscuit
09-11-2003, 16:49
I sometimes forget words in English and have to ask my Russian mates 'what would.....(word in Russian form) be in English' then they translate my Russian into my native English, now that's sad!

kniga
09-11-2003, 17:47
DJ,

That's not sad, that's only natural. All of us who live in Moscow (or anywhere else in Russia) and speak Russian do this from time to time. It is comical to our Russian colleagues, but they do the same thing the other way around. This habit of inserting English words in the middle of a Russian sentence is especially prevalent when the conversations concerns computers. How often do you hear "floppy disk" spoken instead of " "? :-)

wwwoland
10-11-2003, 09:49
DJ -- correct you are. Somedays it seems I can't remember certain words in Russian OR in English and that I can't speak either language. A bit embarrasing asking my Russian colleagues what "_________" is in English. As for slipping in the occasional Russian or English word into a sentence of another language, sometimes it is simply a matter of expediency. If I'm hurried, and the English word just isn't coming to mind as fast, or if the Russian word somehow fits the situation better, in it goes. No malice or showing off intended. And as long as everyone I was communicating to understood, then while Dostoyevsky or Shakespeare might roll in their graves, so be it.

Although I must say I find it interesting to listen to some of the new, younger, Russian MBA graduates speaking to each other here in Moscow. I swear, about 40% of their words are either direct English or Russianized English. Sometimes it borders on funny.

Edith
10-11-2003, 10:38
There are some words that simply dont work in English. I cannot for the life of me find an appropriate alternative for Kolbasa, sausage conjures up images of bangers and mash and salami is a specific kind of Kolbasa so there is no word that I can think of thats better. And people who call Pilmeni ravioli have got the wrong end of the stick totally. On the other hand gratuitous language confusion does grate. I have always insisted that I am a rukovoditel not a manadzer when speaking Russian but find I am in the minority.

geofizz56
10-11-2003, 13:43
On mixing languages, I've got a different problem. Until this year, most of my foreign assignments were in Latin America and I became reasonably fluent in Spanish. Now I'm trying really hard to learn Russian, but when I try to think of the Russian word for something, my brain insists on going in order of fluency through a checklist - Spanish, no - French, non - vielleicht Deutsch? auch nein. By the time the old language center has worked its way down to Russian, whatever I was trying to say is long forgotten.

Does anyone else have this problem and does it get better, or is 47 just too darned old to even try Russian?

Kshisya
10-11-2003, 14:54
Oh hope I wont be criticized too much for getting into the thread for expats only ;-) Not as if anybody curious however I would say what annoys ME in expats ;)

You know I really think tis fun and very cute when you guys mix up English and Russian when communicating to Russians :-) I do mix these 2 languages myself when communicate to native English speakers they find it amusing so happy I make them smile ;) When my expat friends do the same and in some smart way it makes me laugh and it sounds pretty charming and I think it really helps when neither side is perfect with a foreign language and makes it more fun to communicate and just a lovely excuse for not being that perfect ;-)

However I do think it might be annoying when you guys try to show off in front of each other including Russian into ya native speech when conversing with each other :-)))It can be amusing for everybody to add some words that both sides know and find funny thoI just recall my Russian friends who mainly for work reasons are way too used to English so for me personally it is VERY annoying when we have just a normal chat not related to work issues and they keep on including smth like : - ( figures), or , (biased) etc into a normal RUSSIAN conversationI dont mind words that really became a part of the Russian slang or language in generalhowever I do think there should be some smart balance and foreign words should be used in some wise and appropriate way :)

What REALLY annoys me in SOME (pretty many :D) expats is the following ;)
1. expats fancy to show off in front of each other bout how well they feel in Russia and way too often try to prove to the comrades in exile how stable and successful they are even if nobody actually cares ;) many ppl do lack confidence about their life here and they use any opportunity to prove first of all to themselves as I observed that everything is not that bad and they do better than their opponent
2. living as if they are on a 2 week vacation even if already spent here years and going to stay for another decadeit involves all this silly mostly often useful socializing that is limited to sharing another beer with no-matter-who/me-other-fellA-expat on a daily basisbehaving as if they are homeless
3. when expats do not speak a single Russian word after living here for a while and when they show off their ignorance as if they are even proud of it
4. expats paranoia regarding some issueswell ppl might have reasons for anything even being paranoid from time to timehowever there is always some reasonable limit for everythingsome expats paranoia goes way toO far
voila :p

kniga
10-11-2003, 14:57
geofizz56,

A common problem for people who speak more than one language. The brain knows that you are not supposed to speak your native language, so it automatically shifts to the first foreign language that is most strongly ensconced in your brain, in your case, Spanish. When Russian becomes the focal point of your foreign language activity, this problem will diminish, but not disappear completely. I was stopped on Tverskaya the other day by a couple of Spaniards looking to go to Red Square. I speak Spanish fluently, but Russian intruded on my explanation with humorous results exacerbated by my Russian companion who was having a great laugh at my expense.

No, you are not too old to learn Russian at 47 unless you think you are. I learned Greek at 42, and it is in many ways just as difficult a language to learn for a native speaker of English as is Russian. Since you are here, Russian is the key to expanding your enjoyment of the experience and an absolute key to learning more about the fascinating people and culture in which you now find yourself immersed. Spend as much time with Russians as your schedule will permit, and if you're not married, find a Russian girlfriend who will improve both your Russian language skills and your morale. :-)

DJ Biscuit
10-11-2003, 15:00
Kniga, how many languages do you speak?

Edith
10-11-2003, 15:06
Originally posted by geofizz56
On mixing languages, I've got a different problem. Until this year, most of my foreign assignments were in Latin America and I became reasonably fluent in Spanish. Now I'm trying really hard to learn Russian, but when I try to think of the Russian word for something, my brain insists on going in order of fluency through a checklist - Spanish, no - French, non - vielleicht Deutsch? auch nein. By the time the old language center has worked its way down to Russian, whatever I was trying to say is long forgotten.

Does anyone else have this problem and does it get better, or is 47 just too darned old to even try Russian?

On this issue, I once spent ten mins in a cafe in Geneva asking for a cup of tea, with a very polite waitress looking hopefully at me and at last I realised that I had been asking in Chinese which had killed off my schoolgirl French.

kniga
10-11-2003, 15:20
DJ,

Sober, I speak seven languages. With a few beers it has been reported that I speak as many as 10 or 12! :-)

Edith,

Chinese in Geneva? That tops my Russian in Zurich. I was in a photo shop to buy some film and asked the clerk in German what type of film he had by type and number of exposures, then turned to my Russian companion to see what type was needed and then gave the order to the clerk in Russian. My companion hissed, "You're speaking Russian!" at which the clerk grinned. I switched to German, apologized, and said that I imagined in a country where four languages were spoken, this wasn't the first time a language mixup had occurred. Without losing the grin, he agreed.

geofizz56
10-11-2003, 15:24
Kniga, good suggestion in theory, but my husband would probably look askance if I brought home a Russian girlfriend! (Yep, a married female here on single status - doesn't allow for much of a social life.)

It is reassuring to know that mixing languages is normal, though - never had the problem in South America, probably because Texans are so used to hearing Spanish that it's not really "foreign".

DJ Biscuit
10-11-2003, 15:24
Impressed.

I mix up Russian and English all the time when I go home. Have you had that look in the pub, in UK when you ask 'can you pass me the pepelnitsa please?'

kniga
10-11-2003, 16:14
!

It is always good to hear comments from the other side of the expat fence. After all, this is your country and we expats are but visitors to your land. I think your observations are all valid, especially those touching on the inappropriate use of languages in both directions. I think in most cases, at least on the part of the expats, this is just a bit of showing off, demonstrating that one is fully immersed in the "Russian thing," and I suspect you will find this to be a predominently male expat habit, as the distaff side always seems to be a bit more reserved (mature? :-)).

Were you to be in America, you would fine not such irritations because Americans all speak a single language -- English! In my neck of the woods if I even speak other than the local Southern dialect, people think that I am "putting on the dog" and acting "uppity" and would call me on it. Much less would I even think of throwing Russian or any other foreign words into my everyday speech, lest I be shunned by my friends and neighbors.

So, Kshisya, we expats will no doubt continue to irritate you, but seldom on purpose...we are just being ourselves, and isn't that what you find interesting about us, our differences?

kniga
10-11-2003, 16:49
geofizz56,

Sorry for the gender goof! I can appreciate your situation, however, as I am a married male here on single status myself. :-)
Y tambien yo soy de Tejas! Repito que Vd. debe de estudiar el ruso porque si vale la pena!

Tintin
10-11-2003, 16:53
Originally posted by Kshisya
Oh hope I wont be criticized too much for getting into the thread for expats only ;-) Not as if anybody curious however I would say what annoys ME in expats ;)

You know I really think tis fun and very cute when you guys mix up English and Russian when communicating to Russians :-) I do mix these 2 languages myself when communicate to native English speakers they find it amusing so happy I make them smile ;) When my expat friends do the same and in some smart way it makes me laugh and it sounds pretty charming and I think it really helps when neither side is perfect with a foreign language and makes it more fun to communicate and just a lovely excuse for not being that perfect ;-)

However I do think it might be annoying when you guys try to show off in front of each other including Russian into ya native speech when conversing with each other :-)))It can be amusing for everybody to add some words that both sides know and find funny thoI just recall my Russian friends who mainly for work reasons are way too used to English so for me personally it is VERY annoying when we have just a normal chat not related to work issues and they keep on including smth like : - ( figures), or , (biased) etc into a normal RUSSIAN conversationI dont mind words that really became a part of the Russian slang or language in generalhowever I do think there should be some smart balance and foreign words should be used in some wise and appropriate way :)

What REALLY annoys me in SOME (pretty many :D) expats is the following ;)
1. expats fancy to show off in front of each other bout how well they feel in Russia and way too often try to prove to the comrades in exile how stable and successful they are even if nobody actually cares ;) many ppl do lack confidence about their life here and they use any opportunity to prove first of all to themselves as I observed that everything is not that bad and they do better than their opponent
2. living as if they are on a 2 week vacation even if already spent here years and going to stay for another decadeit involves all this silly mostly often useful socializing that is limited to sharing another beer with no-matter-who/me-other-fellA-expat on a daily basisbehaving as if they are homeless
3. when expats do not speak a single Russian word after living here for a while and when they show off their ignorance as if they are even proud of it
4. expats paranoia regarding some issueswell ppl might have reasons for anything even being paranoid from time to timehowever there is always some reasonable limit for everythingsome expats paranoia goes way toO far
voila :p

Agree with HRH as well and I'm secretly glad that she brought it up. I'm referring to clearly intelligent and articulate Russians who insist on mixing in English words when it just isn't necessary. I've often thought it is to be seen as cosmopolitan. As if to be westernised is a sign of being more civilised. Don't get me wrong. I'm guilty as a word mixer, sometimes for expedience and sometimes out of ignorance when I just don't know the vocabulary.

As for annoying expats which is what this thread is about...it's the pseudo-colonials that bug me. The ones who view life here as below them, wrapping themselves in Stockmann while reading books like 'Natasha's Dance' (actually a fantastic book) but without ever accessing Russia when all they've got to do is take the metro for once. They look west through rose-tinted spectacles and somehow forget that it ain't a rose garden back wherever they came from.

Kshisya
10-11-2003, 17:59
Guys :) I think I didnt make it clear enough so apologies :) I do not mind you i.e. expats include Russian words into English or English words when speaking Russian and lacking vocabulary if you communicate with Russians :) it is CHARMINGGGG and amusing and FUN :D
What I mean is that in my opinion it is rather ridiculous when ppl use way too many foreign words when speaking same native language. I would prefer a Russian to use blya (well if they cant help it :rolleyes:) than saying f**k after each Russian wordnu ppl I hope you got me right this time :-)

Kniga I wouldnt agree with you I think even when back home in US, UK or elsewhere some ppl also use some French or Spanish words (sure Russian is not that popular) in their speech not paying attention if tis too much and if it is needed or appropriateSome do it on purpose to show to another one that they do speak that foreign language, some do just coz have habits to use that other language professionally or else for whatHowever regardless excuse some ppl cant express themselves in their own language and knowledge of some foreign word doesnt help them much :)

and hey you as a group (i.e. expats ;-) do not annoy me at all *cheeky smile* first of all coz i have several friends among ya fellAs and guRLs :-) + i just do not commnicate with ppl who anoy me or who i dislike...sometimes i just HAVE to communicate with such what's luckily only for work tho :-)

Tintin Actually ppl who really make me furRRRrrious are the ones who come to work here and really say crap about this place and stay not for a day but for good (i have good examples of such ppl working in my co) ...F* Sake! if you dont like it here that much why wouldn't you go to some other market and make ya dreams come true there? right? :-) Thanks God i met few of such a kind...and i feel just sorry for them as they just have real sad and poor personalities ;)

kniga
10-11-2003, 22:58
Kshisya,

If you mean you don't see the purpose of using swear words in either language, I certainly agree with you. There are certain swear words in Russian that get overused, and as well in English by people who either think their use is somehow "cute" or who simply have a rather poor upbringing and were not taught any better.

I can assure you that the use of foreign words when Americans speak English is a sign of linguistic snobbism, not because the Americans can't express themselves adequately in their native language. The most common sign of such usage is when Americans use French words and expressions in the mistaken belief that this somehow elevates their language to the level of the highly educated. Expressions like, "You look tres chic, darling!" are strictly Hollywood or New York City phonies talking to eachg other. The average American does not borrow from other languages (which he does not know anyway), and the well educated American is quite capable of expressing himself in pure English (with a tip of the hat to my Brit compatriots, who will laugh at this staement).

As to Spanish, despite its widening use as part of South America and half of Mexico swarms over our unguarded southern border, about the only Spanish you will hear from native born Americans is "taco, enchilada or nachos" as he orders from the school cafeteria menu. American English, and I daresay British (or as they have it, "real" English) English is nearly completely devoid of foreign words recognizable as foreign words, although we have borrowed an enormous number of words from many other languages that are used and accepted as standard English vocabulary by native speakers.

Braddock
10-11-2003, 23:31
kniga,

A funny thing you touched on in regards to Americans using foreign words.

While French words could be used often in a snobbishly trendy expression, I would say that the use of Spanish and to a lesser extent other languages by Americans is much more about bridging communication gaps as opposed to self differentiation/expression.

It seems that the idea of worldliness and understanding is more acceptable - or at least some patience has been learned as I have not seen the stereotyped "DON'T YOU SPEAK ANY ENGLISH (louder and louder for clarity :D )?!?!" for quite a few years.

Getting back to the French words, is this a sign of the American view of the french in general?

kniga
10-11-2003, 23:49
Braddock,

Americans have never been known for making extradordinary or even ordinary efforts to span a communications gap. We expect people in America to speak and understand English. The Politically Correct crowd wants us to print voting ballots in languages in addition to English (at last count, there were 108 foreign languages spoken in California's public schools, so which languages should we choose to print besides English?), and the National Education Association wants us to teach bilingually in schools (a method guaranteed to slow down both the learning process and assimilation process into the host country as well as a way to make more jobs for teachers, the main reason). This insular attitude towards foreign languages comes from living in a country that is 3000 miles wide, 1500 miles deep and inhabited by nearly 300 million people, the vast majority of whom speak English and only English with no need to learn other languages as is the case in Europe, for instance. This monolingialism makes us the understandable target for derision abroad, but in our own rather large country, English with all its regional dialectical differences is about 99.99% comprehensible to all its citizens.

As to the French, we love their wine, women and cheese, but the last good Frenchman was Lafayette, who helped form and discipline the Continental Army that fought successfully against the vastly superior British army in 1776. We revile the French not for refusing to join us against the Iraqis (a good decision that was in France's best national interests), but for being too feckless to simply state that they had lucrative oil deals with Iraq that they did not want to jeapardize. But, we will still go to gay Paree on vacation...

J.D.
11-11-2003, 08:15
I think every country needs a standard language purely for pragmatic reasons. In the U.S. it is English, for now. And English, like all languages, has different, for lack of a better word, modes. You don't speak the same to your mother as you do to your friends and differently again with your girlfriend/boyfriend.

I had a construction company in the past and if I told my laborers that their decorum should be tailored to suit their audience, they not only would not understand me but they would lose respect for me and I would have a difficult time in getting a full days work out of them. I seldom got angry enough to swear but sometimes I would swear anyways because it was expected.

People who don't conform are ostrasized. Personally I feel that's how Bardak should be run but management has a different view, I didn't say wrong only different.

So I guess I said all that to say this
When you speak, consider your audience.

kniga
11-11-2003, 10:04
JD,

No doubt about it, we speak several "dialects" of our native language in every society, in every language. There is one form of English used with your beer buddies, another entirely different one when speaking to a group of visiting ministers. People make the adjustment required by the changing circumstances automatically and so conform to society's varying requirements.

Working on a construction crew is to work with rough hewn people working hard to make a living. They are a profane lot and have distain for anyone not on their level, even though it is generally at the bottom of the socio-economic scale. If you speak "proper" English around them, you stand out like uncallused hands. I never ran such a crew, but I sure have worked on them building roads in the South in the blazing summer sun. My language got pretty salty, too. :-)

What's your point about Bardak?

wwwoland
11-11-2003, 10:59
Kshi --

Glad to see you're back and posting occasionally. We missed you! :)

Just wanted to comment on your point #3 about annoying expats because you "hit the nail on the head" as they say. How can anyone live and work in a country for an extended time and not have the courtesy or desire to learn the basics -- some language, culture, history, etc. While becoming fluent in Russian is a total pain in the a**, the simple pleasantries should be mandatory: "hello", "thank you", "how much", "please pass the -----", etc. etc.. And the worst is when these people seem almost proud that they've lived here 5 years and don't speak a word of Russian! And then there are those who treat Russians like little ignorant natives. I had an expat colleague one time talking to some visiting Americans (in front of Russian staff) about how "believe it or not the Russians are good people, they work hard, are surprisingly intelligent and can be trained to do a good job". This was said in such a condecending manner I just about reached over and punched him in the face. Unfortunately corporate policy frowns on such actions. :rolleyes: Maybe next time.

kniga
11-11-2003, 11:23
wwwoland,

Right on! It is unbelievable that expats from any country would go to another country and stay for an extended period of time (years) and not make any effort to learn anything about the host country. Many years ago I was in Moscow on an assignment that led to working with a young American lady who worked in the U.S. Department of Commerce representational office helping Americans do business in the Soviet Union. She had been in Moscow for four years and spoke about six words of Russian. She was deaf to the culture around her and blind to what she could have learned that would have made her job easier. However, she was on the U.S. government teat and didn't really have to produce any measurable results (she was worthless to us), so I guess she was just riding the system and believing that she had a wonderful job doing wonderful things in Moscow.

J.D.
11-11-2003, 11:30
kniga

I have found disdain for non-members at all levels of society, top, bottom and even middle. I have even found it in intellectual groups. I call it Hatfield-McCoy syndrone.

Refernce to Bardak was because I thought this applied to the discussion going on there about how it is moderated.

wwwoland
11-11-2003, 11:51
Kniga -- don't even get me started about the U.S. Department of "Name-your-entity" working in Russia, or even elsewhere around the world. Granted, I've met some great folks working for the foreign service, but those that really care about travelling to foreign lands, learning the culture, experiencing the life, meeting the people, representing the states, and understanding the hardships and/or benefits of any given nation are few and far between. Many seem to veiw anything that goes on outside the walls of the "compound" with suspicion, fear, hostility and ignorance. I've even met some foreign service types who probably made it outside the walls only a dozen or so times over a two year assignment. And these are some of the people that the US gov relies on to collect information "on the ground" about the "real" situation of what is happening in Russia. What do they say -- Russia is not Moscow. Well, the compound isn't Russia...

Kshisya
11-11-2003, 12:24
oh recalled something else that's really anoying ;)

When expats consider they know something better than local ppl :p

Well i do not deny the fact that some ppl are really well aware of many things and get some times much better informed about some things than even me ;) However, very often ppl show off and argue bout things they have no any idea about...they just have their more than subjective point of view and try to impose it or "educate" the other expats who in this case just get mislead...

vottttttttttt ;)


www i'm happy to see you too :) missed ya :)

Intourist
11-11-2003, 12:53
K's pet peeve on expats who argue with locals for the sake of arguing, reminded me of a funny saying:

People who think they know it all are annoying to those of us who really do.

Cheers,
Intour

Sapientia
11-11-2003, 12:59
I've got a different pet-peeve with fellow expats:

Those that boast about length of time they have been here and automatically equate it with having a greater knowledge of the place.

"Oh, you've only been here four years have you. I first arrived in 1992 - once you've been here as long as I have, you'll understand better that (insert ridiculous statement)"

Kshisya
11-11-2003, 13:37
Originally posted by Intourist
K's pet peeve on expats who argue with locals for the sake of arguing, reminded me of a funny saying:

People who think they know it all are annoying to those of us who really do.

Cheers,
Intour


mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Intour :D :o *happy sigh* you are my smart arse! *happy shiny smling* :D MWAH ;)

Intourist
11-11-2003, 14:06
Big kiss back at ya

Kshisya
11-11-2003, 14:12
Originally posted by Intourist
Big kiss back at ya

oi :o *wondering how big was that "big* :o ;)


actually for me personally ... i find some ppl anoying regardless expat or not ;-) each of us has own problems with brain, attitudes, manners, :rolleyes: ..behaviour:eek: :o ...or personality as a whole ;) (well not me of course ;) as i'm kinda perfect :p )

*NOTE i did type "KINDA perfect" so dont ya say i'm not modest :p


oi PS Intour what is BOHICA *confused* ;-) and what an interesting signature you've got for today...very interesting...very...*leaving all in thoughts what could it mean* ;-)

Intourist
11-11-2003, 14:16
K, interestingly enough, the diaper-boy and your avatar seem to be swaying together in sync (personally, I prefer the avatar).

I think K has a good point in general, however (if I understood correctly)

It's easy to say what we don't like about expats, but a lot depends on individual personality and not necessarily nationality. A know-it-all in any country is annoying.

It's easy to judge expats for many since as a foreigner you're naturally perceived as an ambassador of your home-country, and our nature to classify everything, compels us to characterize expats as a group, which at the end of the day, is really just another generalization.

[Deep Breath Exhale] Anyway.

Cheers,
Intour

P.S. K- It was a HUGE kiss.

Kshisya
11-11-2003, 14:31
Intour :o :D ...i think that any generalization is not right so in this case it finally comes up to this :)...however the thread was fun I just think it owuld be more fun if it was called: What annoys me in ppl ;)

As for diaper-boy :-/ frankly speaking i just didn't know what file it was so decided to attach and see what coudl it be ;) i do prefer my avatar more as it looks like me much more than this big-eyed babEy :D


ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *heart sunk* it was HUGE :rolleyes: :o *swOOned of excitement* :p

Intourist
11-11-2003, 14:55
K-

BOHICA - It's a little off-colour, so I'll err on the side of caution and explain in Bardak lest I offend some of the more pristine, virgin ears of "the cafe" and my signature implies only the purest of intentions, of course.

-I

P.S. I think you're perfect.

Kshisya
11-11-2003, 15:22
ohhhhhhh:eek: *getting curious* okAAAAAAAAaaaay...i will check on that word in Bardak ;-)

"the purest of intentions" ohhhhhhh....:o :o :o ... *thinking it's better to leave without comment* ;)

and no no no dear don't you dare to belive i'm perfect! tis WRONG:eek: :D ...however i am sure that being "kinda perfect" is not Dat bad for our tough times toO :rolleyes:

:p