Inappropriate vocab' item?

The "Colloquial" unit in Russian offers -blin-/блин, translated as "Jeez!" as an expression of surprise. I used it in a sentence in email with my Russian colleague (professor of language study), and she wrote back immediately: "Please don't use it!" She said that it is a euphemism for an obscene word that begins with the same two letters. (I don't know what that is!) So I just wonder if this needs to be reconsidered by the Russian managers. BTW, "jeez" in English seems harmless enough, you hear it everywhere; but it has to be a shortening of "Jesus"? So some people might object to it. I suppose that could be said of almost anything.

June 6, 2018


I think it's supposed to be shortening for the word\бляд which is like \ whore.

June 6, 2018

The word is actually spelled "блядь" for anyone that's curious.

June 7, 2018

thanks lol

June 7, 2018

I think that we should learn the most common slang or vulgar words of a language- they are most definitely part of the language we are learning -, but not in order to use them, but in order to understand them when we encounter them.

I think that learners should not use these words until they have a really good feel for the settings, situations and contexts in which they may be appropriate. The native speakers of the language learn this from their very childhood -- what they can say among their friends, may be taboo with other people. What you can use with family and friends, may endanger your career when used while your boss is present. What may be used among men, can be totally inappropriate when used toward a woman ... etc etc. Each language has unwritten rules about these usages, rules that also change over time. This is something that is very hard to acquire by a learner of a language.

Therefore, in order not to offend people, I would do without these words in my active language use, but look out for them in what I read or hear.

June 7, 2018

Первый блин всегда комом.

June 6, 2018

Well, Blin may or may not be used as a shorthand for some pretty nasty words. Explicit language inbound. грязный язык----------- Блядь или блять

Что блять What the F---! See what I mean? It's more likely than not related to F--- than it is to "Jeez!", and really it kind of means the same thing in Russian.

What a wonderful language.

Funny enough about the use of the F word, it's so universal in the English language it takes Russians 4-5 different words to cover all of its meanings.

June 7, 2018

Actually, that's nothing wrong with the Duo course here. The topic is named "Colloquial" so you cannot use its words out of the specified range. You would better not use these words at all in order not to be misinterpreted. It's just enough to understand these words if someone uses them.

June 7, 2018

I think Russians swear more than many other cultures and we need to know the words if we go to Russia or watch Russian movies. Swear word are called мат (матерный язык) from the most common swearing. There are even books written about swearing in Russian.

One of the most dangerous words is easily said by mistake when you order juice. I once by mistake asked a flight attendant for "more orange ❤❤❤❤❤". I immediately understood I said something wrong because she looked terrified (but she handled it professionally). So learning to understand Russian swear words is quite important, but wait to use them (and the word for juice "сок") until you are 100% sure what you do.

June 7, 2018

It is a mild swear word widely used in speech but not so much in writing (same with чё as a replacement for что, by the way). She is right that it is not the best choice for an email message.

Чёрт is another alternative, somewhat safer, hence its use in media. If you want to make it safer than that—maybe, you should not swear at all? It is not like using "Dang!" is a necessity when "A pity!" is enough to convey your disappointment.

Euphemisms for swear words are often about hinting at the possibility of actually using THAT word while saying something else instead. Блин quite obviously stands for бля or блядь, which are indeed very rude. «Чёрт» is thus less offensive; it does not play with vulgar drunker sailor-level profanity. I, however, have a feeling «чёрт» is more common in fictional dialogue and in writing than in spoken speech (but we did want to include it).

In writing, блин is more characteristic of informal young-ish flavoured banter. In speech, however, it is a different story; I heard people over 50 use it (you can hear блин in Soviet films). I am not even sure teenagers these days use it. At least, this "swear" word is not so old it is going to disappear soon.

June 9, 2018

"Blin" can mean pancake. There are similar sounding words that are inappropriate.

June 7, 2018

speaking of russian swear words, my best friend is russian she she told me there is this word, no idea how to spell it but said outloud it sounds kindof like ¨Hui¨ or ¨Huey¨ and roughly translates to ¨c0ck¨ and she said its extremely frowned upon to ever say it and that her parents usually freely swear but she has never ever heard them say this word... the only thing I can equate it to in the english language is the word ni88er (as in the forbiddeness of using it)

is this true?

June 8, 2018

It depends. In some circles it's okay word. It's forbidden in official language, most people will be offended to hear this word.

June 8, 2018

The word you're referring to is "хуй" and yes, it is a strong word. It's used in some phrases that are probably not appropriate for Duolingo.

June 8, 2018

There are too many phrases with this root word to avoid it. Stand alone, no pun intended, the word refers to the actual body part, but all the phrases that use it are just figures of speech. It's a good thing her parents don't talk about d**ks around her...

June 10, 2018

AFAIK, there's nothing wrong with using "блин". After all, it literally means a Russian pancake:

Maybe it was too colloquial for the situation, but I'm not sure. What I know is that it's like saying "❤❤❤❤" or "crap" in English, but milder. I'm not a native Russian speaker, though.

June 7, 2018

Yes, it's used as a euphemism for a stronger word, P-Code and helloworld have already identified it. You can find differing opinions for how strong the euphemism actually is. I'm a Christian, so are many of my friends, so we're fairly restrained in our speech - we don't use it. I wouldn't have chosen to include it myself, but I don't think it can be removed now that the course has been released. This is what Tips & Notes has to say, FWIW.

There are many ways to say "Crap!" or "Jeez!" in Russian. Блин is, probably, the most common in speech while being rather mild (it is a substitute for a much stronger word). «Чёрт» is also very common and acceptable in a wide range of contexts (and it is not associated with more obscene words). It is what you will find in many movies and games, even those aimed at kids.

June 7, 2018

I wouldn't believe these dictionaries, because 'Jeez' is far from the actual meaning. Urban dictionary says that it is: "The family friendly version of the word blyat", but I'm not so sure about that family friendly part. My mother probably wouldn't approve it :D

In Russian neighboring countries it's often used as a swearing word and it isn't very bad one unlike blyat/bljat/блядь.

June 7, 2018

Blin = pancake, but it is used as a substitute of "Blyat" which is "❤❤❤❤" It is often confused with "Cyka" which is "whore" because of the phrase "Cyka Blyat."

June 8, 2018

I think those words should be taught separately. And also it should be made clear if the word is literary, jargon or "мат"/its replacement.

Jeez is short of Jesus, so probably no one will be offended if you use it, while блин is a euphemism for a mat word. So, basically, if talking to a person you can use any English profanities straight on (all the "❤❤❤❤" or whatever), than you can use Russian profanities or mat. If you have to use euphemisms (like fudge), than you can Russian euphemisms (like блин, ё-моё). And if you want to keep away from profanities and vulgar word, replace that Jeez with "о Господи", "Боже мой" or "о Боже" (or something else depending on the context).

BTW, once for my English lessons I translated "весёлые люди" (cheerful man) as "gay man", and could not understand why everyone is laughing so hard. That was the only meaning given in my dictionary, you know.

June 11, 2018
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