Russian Word of the Day: Болтать-to chit chat, blab
November 14, 2012
This week’s words are based on old плакаты. Today’s posters will take us back so good ole Cold War times and fears of espionage and treason!
I can’t tell you how many times I have been accused of being a spy. In fact, just a month or so ago I got a ‘hate’ comment from somebody who claimed that he knew I was a spy and that Putin would kick ‘sluts’ like me out of Russia. I kind of wanted to approve it so that all could enjoy it but it had the f-word in it. So I deleted it, but only after my husband and I read it several times and giggled. First of all, I’m so flattered that this reader thinks I am knowledgeable enough about Russia to be a spy. Спасибо за комплимент! Secondly, I don’t live in Russia anymore. So Putin will have a hard time kicking me out. I live in a quiet American town where I stay home with two children who are not very interested in Russia, let alone military secrets. So unless you count baby talk, I don’t get the chance to болтать very often.
But now for the word of the day: болтать
It means to chit chat, yap, gab, jabber, gossip, pretty much any word that means to talk frivolously and unnecessarily.
A болтун is a person who does the above.
This poster was anti-espionage from WWII
But once the Soviets weren’t so worried about the Nazis they had American spies to worry about. This poster is from 1954.
While I do believe that a lot of the fear of nuclear warfare was rather inflated during the Cold War (especially from the American side) I do know for a fact that there were American spies in Russia. How do I know? One of my professors here at University was a spy in Saint Petersburg in the 70s. And it’s funny he did there almost exactly what I was doing there (Going to school, learning Russian, living like a Russian), but the difference between our experiences is that 1, he was a spy and 2, he was getting paid for living in Russia.
So I can understand why people were suspicious of me. I guess not many people want to live in Russia for fun. Which is a pity because they are missing out.