Word of the day – туфля

туфля (tuflja), noun = shoe

This week’s Russian lesson is about clothes and this word just appeals to me. It sounds a bit like “tooth fly” – my way of remembering it is to imagine my shoes being full of flies with big teeth. This is quite a strange image, but that helps it to stick in my memory.

I also like the Welsh word for shoe – esgid – it sounds like skid, so to remember it, I think of people skidding around in their shoes. The word for a horseshoe is pedol, which conjures up images of horses pedalling bicycles.

Anois tá mé ag dul níos mó Gaeilge a fhoghlaim (Time to learn some more Irish now).

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This entry was posted in Language, Russian, Words and phrases.

14 Responses to Word of the day – туфля

  1. Polly says:

    Strange imagery aids memory a lot. The stranger the better.

    It’s simulatenously a relief and frustrating when I try to find a word in Russian and instead I get tranliterated English. e.g.
    демонстрация = demonstration,
    организованний = organized, and many more examples exist.
    This isn’t lazy dictionary publishers, this is what I find in Russian publications, too. It makes my job easier, I suppose. But, it feels inauthentic, kind of like eating a Big Mac in Paris: “I coul’ve gotten this back home.” another e.g. “divan” is French for couch/ sofa, but I’ve seen it used in Russian.

    When I purchased a Turkish dictionary (just for fun) I found all kinds of words that I had always thought were “real” Armenian. I already knew of many French words that had crept into the language. I’d wager that if I were to take a look at Persian, I’d see the origins of even more Armenian words.

    One thing that I like about Arabic is that they have their own words for many things that are borrowed in other languages, including “Zero!” That word almost seemed universal except for the mutations of “null.” And then I find out that we borrowed their word for 0 – “cipher” from “sifr.”

  2. Thomas Maska says:

    While learning Hebrew I too use stupid memory hooks, like מונית is Taxi… Because Taxis make Monit (money)… Or even farther down on the dumb scale is the word for “visits” מבקר because my girl friend will come and visit me sometimes and stay the night (keep your minds clean or else) and in the morning “mevaker” up to go to church. “Mevaker” sounds to me like “me wake her” (kinda) – and I do, because she is visiting… It’s ridiculous, but it works for me!

  3. Maximiliano says:

    When am learning Hebrew, I also use the same techique. Like, with the word, mekonit, which means car, which sounds like mechanic.

  4. AR says:

    @Polly
    Though, I am not an expert on Turkish, I do know some things. Turkish, an Altaic language, is only made up of one third Mongolic and Central Asian roots. The rest are borrowed from Arabic, Persian, and other languages of Europe and the Middle East.
    Examples from Arabic: Şayir from sheir (poetry), tikat from deqat (attention)
    Examples from Europeans: biciclet (bicycle), baharat (spices) from the Indian word for India (Bhaarat).
    When the Turkish language reforms were instated and the writing system was changed from Arabic to Latin, the phonology was “Europeanized”.
    Armenian is an Indo-European language with strong ties to the Indo-Iranian and Hellenic branches and therefore it has many Sanskrit roots and a word order similar to Hindi. It has borrowed words from Greek and Latin in early times, Old Persian in Mediaeval times, and from Russian and other European tongues in modern times. Armenians probably would not borrow many words from the Turkish because of unfriendly relations. Perhaps the common words may be due to the fact that both languages have borrowed words from Persian.

  5. Polly says:

    Yes, it’s likely that both languages borrowed from the same source. Given the geography of Armenia (& Turkey), I would expect to find a lot of foreign loan words. Every empire seems to have stomped through that part of Asia minor on the way to, or from, Europe – the Greeks, Persians, Romans, and most recently the Ottomans and the former Soviet Union.
    Though I have seen some hostility towards Turks, I don’t see it directed at the Turkish language itself. Some older Armenians speak it amongst themselves occasionally, when they want to avoid the prying ears of their kids.

  6. AR says:

    Yes, there are many Armenians from western Armenia (now eastern Turkey) who were forced to change their names and their language. All Armenian surnames names end in -ian and many of the names that the Turkish created for these people are made of a Turkish root and the suffix -ian. Often these names are “nonsense”. Quite a bit of Armenians did adopt Turkish as their language but many fought against it. The Turkish speaking Armenians who I have met all feel bad that they cannot speak Armenian. Turkish is the only mother tongue they know.

  7. k says:

    BTW the wоrd “Туфля” comes from a german word and was originally “Туфель”, so it has changed it’s gender from mascul. to feminine

  8. k says:

    P.S in middlelowergerman “туфли” were “tuffele”

  9. Lau says:

    Tuffele exists in Danish in the form of “tøffel” meaning slippers.

  10. k says:

    And since you are learning russian clothes some more for you
    ” сапог” sapog – from iranian “sapaga”,
    ” кафтан” kaftan -turkish, crimea-taratar “kaftan”
    ” башмак” bashmak turkish, chagatajskij, ” bašmak”
    ” шляпа” shljapa – bavarian “Schlappe”
    “галстук” galstuk – german “Halstuch’
    “штиблеты” shtibleti – german “Stiefelette”
    ” мундир” mundir -german “Mondierung”)
    ” брюки” brjuki german “brôk” or niederland “brock”
    ” шинель” shinel – french “chenille”
    “пальто” pal’to french “paletot”
    “сюртук” surtouk – french “surtout”
    “костюм” kostyum – french “costume”
    “ботинки” botinki – french” bottine”
    “жилет” gilet – french “gilet”
    “фрак” german ” Frack”
    ” пиджак” – english “pea-jacket”
    ” майка” maika – french “maillot” or italian “maglia”

  11. Benjamin says:

    It’s funny to see that Russian has adopted quite some German words. I would never have thought of that until I read an article about the matter just recently.
    In fact, I always have to smile when I see a German loanword in other languages. It often looks so misplaced, especially when I think of a Japanese sentence where they suddenly say “absairen” (abseil / abseilen) or “aishaken” (piton / Eishaken). I don’t speak any Japanese and can only decipher/read Hiragana and Katakana, but the image is funny enough. ;)

    I wonder how a German text with English words in it read for an English-speaking person…

  12. Polly says:

    Benjamin – I can tell you that it doesn’t look strange at all to see English words everywhere. Especially tech words like: internet, web browser, and on-line. I read a lot of Russian articles on-line and I see English words (sometimes not even transliterated) all the time. I bet English fits into a German sentence a little more naturally than into a Russian one.
    English, itself, seems to be an aglomeration of French, Latin, and Greek.

    Have you noticed the many German words, English uses (sans umlauts)?

    UMLAUT
    Mensch
    zeitgeist
    schadenfreude
    doppelganger
    Kindergarten

    And that’s just off the top of my head.

  13. Jevgenijs says:

    Туфля – is a borrowing from one of the Turkic languages. There is a plenty of Turkic borowings in Russian. Магазин (shop). Сарай (shed). Печь (stove). Деньги (money) – this one came from Mongolian. Сокол (falcon). Бирюк (lone person). Кулак (fist). Штаны (trousers). The list of borrowings of very basic words from Tatar, Mongolian, Arabic, Persian is long.

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