Blogging on Russian

In the fall of 2013, senior Russian and Middle Eastern Studies major Chase Philpot ’14 begin blogging occasionally on aspects of the Russian language that caught his attention. “I wanted to have a spot where I could publish some of the less academic but, in my opinion, more interesting aspects of the Russian language that I had learned,” he said. Over winter break, Chase read the book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes, in which the author argues that consciousness is a product of language. As Chase put it, “language simultaneously enables and constrains our consciousness, and I believe idiomatic expressions are some of the best ways to gain insight into the underlying psyche and mentality of the speakers of a certain language. My blog is just an informal exercise in cross-cultural analysis–both linguistic and psychological.”

What’s more, for Chase blogging is a way to reproduce what drew him to language study in the first place: the idea that it should be fun. It is fitting, thus, that he has called his blog “Russian Word Play.” Upon arriving in Russia on the Dickinson-in-Moscow program after spending a summer of intensive language training at Middlebury College, Chase became aware that he was speaking in overly formal, “textbook,” Russian. “My favorite part of studying in Moscow was having the opportunity to pick up idiomatic expressions and gain insight into how Russians speak with one another in informal settings.” Chase was recently awarded a prestigious Critical Language Scholarship to study in Russia during summer 2014.

Keep checking his blog for more idiomatic expressions and word play:

Chase gives a thumbs up on the shores of Lake Baikal during his 2012-2013 academic year abroad


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