Russian Techno-Speak Makes Hacking a Snap

Even for computer illiterates like me, comprehending Russia's cyberspace is a snap.

All I have to do, it turns out, is flip on my kompyuter, check my khard disk, then grab the kibord or klik on my maus.

There is no EVM (for elektronnaya vychislitelnaya mashina, the Russian equivalent term for computer) to trip my tongue, no klaviatura (keyboard) to mess with. For Russia's new generation of technoliterates, English defines the terms.

On the one hand, this should come as no surprise. After all, biznes and marketing have already successfully been imported into the Russian language -- with long debates about whether that last word is pronounced marketing, as in English, or marketing.

But while these terms never had any equivalents in Russian (how many state enterprises in the Soviet era had marketing plans?), computer talk is a different matter. The Russian language has long had its own computer concepts, but today's cyber whizzes are throwing them out in favor of simple English.

How networked do you sound, after all, if you brag about the great programs you have on your diskovod or your vinchester (an old term in honor of a company that made disk drives)? Real kompyutershchiki these days store their games on their khard disks and trade them on a flopi.

Those games and programs were once awkwardly called vychislitelnoye, or programnoye obespecheniye, but who has time for that these days? Softver is now the term of choice.

For the better games, you need a maus, and not a mysh. To get where you need to go in Windows (Vindous, of course), for example, klik dva raza (click twice) on the maus. This might bring you to a word-processing program like Vinvord (Winword). Then you can call up your fail (your file).

All your friends will be jealous if you have a good modem that will help you connect to the Internet. If your phone line is not too crackly, you can modemit (pronounced Modemit) all night long. When I finally got through to a friend the other night after nearly an hour of busy signals, his wife explained the problem right away. "On modemil," she sighed.

This friend's dream, by the way, is CD Rom, or a SDyushnik.

He just bought himself a printer and would really love a skanner, so he can skanirovat every photo in his apartment onto the computer.

While he and so many other hooked Russians spend hours trying to get their kompyutery to submit to their will, I have more modest aims. Now that I have finished my fail, can someone tell me how to seiv?

Betsy McKay is standing in for David Filipov.