Verbal Tics

There is a small benefit to being torn out of your linguistic environment. You begin to recognize when writers use vocabulary that was created much later in their period literature. I’m noticing such blips both in Bykov and Shamil Idiatullin, a new Russian writer I’m exploring. (Obviously, Shamil Idiatullin is Russian not in any ethnic sense but in the language he writes).

Bykov’s characters who live in the 1930s use the expression “вот это вот всё”, which is a very recent verbal tic that arose way after I emigrated. Idiatullin’s character intersperses his speech with “как бы” in 1983, which is impossible because this particular tick was born in the 2000s. It has the same effect on me as if characters said “go, Brandon!” to mock the authorities in 2008. I notice these things because I wasn’t there when they were born and they aren’t natural to me.

6 thoughts on “Verbal Tics

  1. “recognize when writers use vocabulary that was created much later in their period literature”

    I get that with period tv shows and movies (since I read so little period literature in English) Downton Abbey used to drive me crazy with period inappropriate dialogue “this isn’t who you are” “steep learning curve”… (the Crown also does this though to a lesser extent).
    Mad Men gave the impression of trying to avoid that but also slipped at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Other words which appeared after the 2000 are вкусняшки and тогдашние (iirc). I thought the latter was informal language till saw it appearing in serious blog posts and articles. Don’t like both, even though like eating the former. 🙂


  3. Or is it здешние ? Never seen those words till this year and now start noticing тогдашние / здешние everywhere.


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