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Words new to me: тавлинка, береста, фольга

June 25, 2013

“I suppose they probably had good reason to defrock me,” he [Dobrov] replied.

“Which was?” said Vikhrov.

“It was that our archpriest here, really mad at me, pointed me out when the bishop came through as being poor in conduct and not knowing my extended catechism; well, he put me under the authority of Totskii Monastery; what could I do, I submitted, went there, and out of extreme boredom started making the monks tavlinki with this and that kind of pictures on them! Of, say, a monk cooking an egg over a candle, and a devil learning how from him; I would carve all that out of beresta and put some fol’ga under it… well, everything went along like that as long as I had money… These days I’m out of the habit and it’s easy not to drink vodka, but before I couldn’t go a day without it […]”

– Расстригли-то, пожалуй, почесть и за дело меня, – отвечал он.

– А именно? – сказал Вихров.

– А именно, что благочинный тут наш, очень злобствуя на меня, при объезде владыки отметил меня, что поведеньем я слаб и катехизиса пространного не знаю; ну, тот меня и назначил под начал в Тотский монастырь; я, делать нечего, покорился, прибыл туда и ради скуки великой стал там делать монахам тавлинки с разными этакими изображениями! Монах, например, яйцо печет на свечке, а черт у него учится{73}; вырежу все это из бересты и фольги под это подложу… ну, и все это таким манером шло, пока денежки у меня были… Нынче вот я отстал, мне ничего водки не пить, а прежде дня без того не мог прожить […]

тавлинка ‘flat snuff-box made of birch bark’ is marked as obsolete and regional in Ushakov.

берёста ‘birch bark’ (also ‘document written on birch bark long ago in Novgorod and Pskov’) I should have known already or guessed from its similarity to берёза ‘birch tree.’ It has an interesting stress and ё/е pattern, though. It looks like it was once, and can still be, береста in the nominative singular and бересты in the nominative plural, with the stress shift almost all end-stressed feminine nouns have. But, I’m guessing, the nominative singular береста gave way to берёста under the influence of берёза, and now, at least here, it’s берёста in the nom. sing. and бересты in the nom. pl., which isn’t a common alternation. I’m not sure if the specialized meaning of historical document affects the choice of stress.

фольга ‘very thin sheet of metal’ is also фольга, with the stem-stressed version marked as obsolete and specialized in Ozhegov. But Zalizniak apparently has only фольга.

These are from back in part 3, chapter 9 of Pisemskii’s Men of the Forties (Люди сороковых годов, 1869). Right after this in the same passage we get пекуния ‘money,’ a rare and stylistically marked borrowing of the Latin pecunia.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 5, 2013 7:01 am

    My wife and I argue from time to time whether фОльга or фольгА is correct. She can be an intransigent prescriptivist at times so she’s all for the first syllable but I keep telling her that фОльга is at best old-fashioned and at worst smug, as in “I am oh so well educated.”

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