“Русев удря Русев мачка!”
Have you wondered what it is Rusev is saying at the beginning of his entrance music? It’s been driving me crazy because I couldn’t make it out. Then I finally saw it in one of his tweets and spent a little time with Google Translate.
Rusev udrya Rusev machka! is Bulgarian. It’s hard to hear in his entrance: I always thought I heard budrya instead of udrya. Machka stumped me because in Russian that sounds like “little ball”. I also wondered if it was a borrowed version of the word “match”. In general I’ve thought he was speaking Bulgarian because I recognized it as a non-Russian Slavic language, but then he has little off-mike conversations with Lana so I wasn’t sure if perhaps I just couldn’t make him out. Russian and Bulgarian are similar, but Bulgarian is not one of the Slavic languages I’ve spent time around so I don’t have a sense of its differences.
Anyway, what he’s saying is unsurprising: Rusev hit Rusev crush! In my opinion he sounds like a hulking troll, like “Me hungry me eat!” Which is funny, because as his English improves he sounds more like a cunning, formidable nationalist heel than a brutish meatheaded import. His English promos must be scripted, but he delivers them like he means it. The ya and a on the verbs udrya and matchka are gerund endings, so more literally this is something like “Rusev hitting Rusev crushing.” But that’s awkward, must be a structure that doesn’t translate quite right. Or maybe it’s the grammar of a hulking troll in Bulgaria.
Lana, by the way, has crystal clear Russian. When most Russian women speak to me I’m a deer in the headlights, despite my skills at translating difficult prose. I’m just really weak at oral comprehension, I have to see the words to make sense of them. But Lana’s diction and accent are like that of an angel to my ever-struggling ears. I know what she’s saying, every time! I also wrote about her linguistic curiosities here.
If you’re visiting this post as a translator, student, or native speaker of a Slavic language, I would love to hear your take on the words of Lana and Rusev. I’m also wondering if there’s a place somewhere on the interwebs where people are discussing these two from a critical perspective, either in English or any other language. Please chime in if you have any leads.