Intermediate High Youth Speaks

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This episode introduces the Russian rapper Timati (Timur Ildarovich Yunusov), also referred as Mr. Black Star. Timati, who is credited as being highly influential in the stage of hip hop music in Russia, has done much to popularize hip hop values, original form of dancing and particular style of dress. Ironically, as the connection to "global hip hop traditions" such as addressing environmental injustice, policing and prisons, media justice, and education is lacking, his last album increased his airtime as well as his popularity in Russia. Listen to the Timati's latest collaboration with DJ Smash Moscow never sleeps.

1. On the viewing stage, first watch and listen to the song and write down what you think the intended images and target audiences are.

2. Generalize, what is the image this song has created? You see people dancing, smiling, and having a good time. Who they are? Is the intended image/message of the song is light-hearted and fun?

3. You may want to make a script of the song.

4. Replace the following slang with acceptable Russian: телка; понты; галимый; крутой; решать вопрос; тебе по карману; чего ты понтуешься?, перед кем ты рисуешься?

It is fair to say that without learning some slang, you probably couldn't understand exactly what Russian native speakers say naturally in their conversation. You might think that while using slang and informal words you may attract native speakers' attention, and they may like to spend more time with you. These things are true, but the problem is you don't know whether the expressions are offensive or not. You also don't know what slang expressions are acceptable and what not. Even more cogent argument remains: slang often covers topics that are taboo and/or uses language that is regarded as rude or obscene. While swearing is widespread in informal settings in Russia and some students and professors of Russian are more lenient rather than strict about the use of slang and swear words, due to the cultural attitude to obscene slang, use of profanity in public constitutes a form of disorderly conduct.

The major sources of the new youth slang are the following: cryptolanguage of criminals, Internet terms, English loans, and hip hop texts. Slang is an important part of Russian language and affects the communication strategies in the society. As I said, the attitude of users of the language towards style is becoming more flexible. It has become acceptable for adults to use teenage slang, especially among those who often expose to teenagers. Some Russian native speakers are very often not aware that s/he is using slang, but most of the speakers of non-standard varieties of Russian are capable of speaking standard Russian if they want. Generally, young Russians will automatically shift to a more polite speech when they meet an older person or lady -- presence of women inhibits anyone of using obscene words. The Russian women tend to be more careful with words, however women swear in presence of other women partly to express trust and intimacy. Moreover, educated speakers don't usually resort to crude slang unless they are relaxed, or they do it to be goofy.

You have many times been told that the overuse of slang disfigures one’s speech and hampers his standing with cultivated people. That’s the kind of language it is, and the kind of effect it’s having. You’d probably hear a lot of this language in a seedy nightclub, or you will run into a street vendor somewhere in Moscow whose linguistic approach is ‘what-the-heck, stir-it-up’.

There’s every chance you will. So you may want to learn some slang expressions, but I doubt whether it is advisable at all to use slang. Finally, slang constantly changes, so that yours accumulations of it today will be a profitless clutter tomorrow.