Grammar can be decisive

ichard Engle’s interview of Veselnitskaya contained a crucial item where she labeled her relationship with the Russian prokurator’s office. She called herself an ‘informant’ and that was translated into English as informant. I looked up informant in my dictionary of new Russian words (an old book but it was in there) and it defined ‘informant’ in just the way English would, someone answering questions of an investigator.
However, when she said ‘informant’ she used it in the instrumental case, ‘informatom’, which indicates a temporary situation with which the subject does not identify. e.g. ya byl soldat = a career soldier but ya byl soldatom = I was a solder for a while, a draftee, did my 3 years and out but not a career military man.
So it would be interesting to see what people who know Russian make of that. I intend, for my part, to run it by the Russian lady at the front desk of my physical therapy service, I’ll get back to you with her observations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *