Language mixing in colloquial Kazakh is not something unusual or rare in Kazakhstan. People use Russian words like “уже” [already], “еще” [still; yet], “давно” [long ago], “по-любому” [in any case], “вообще” [overall], “пойдет” [it’s ok] very often in their everyday speech in spite of knowing their equivalents in Kazakh. More often these words sound more natural in speech than Kazakh equivalents of them. However, mixing languages in songs occur more rarely, and interestingly, when Russian is used in songs it sounds artificial or gives the song humorous tone. I attempt to analyze mixing Russian and Kazakh in two popular songs by the group Dos Mukasan by looking at similar patterns and contexts.
In both songs insertional language mixing takes place: Russian language (embedded language) is inserted (in the form of single words or of larger constituents) into the grammatical frame defined by Kazakh language (matrix language) (Auer & Muhamedova, 2005). A song called “16 қыз” [16 girls] is a joky song written by an unknown author in the early decades of the twentieth century. It was popularized by a group called Dos Mukasan in the 1970-80s. The language variation we can notice in the song is embedding Russian words and phrases into the Kazakh text. Each line of the two verses contains a word or phrase in Russian. In the first verse the words “генадушка”, “немножка” and “молодушка” end the first, second and third lines, which might have been done for easy rhyme:
Астыма мінген атым генадушка,
Шабамын көңіл ашып немношка.
Не стоит на свете жить етуге,
Азырақ ойнап-күлмей, молодушка.
In the original version the performers pronounce these words with a strong Kazakh accent, probably to emphasize the playful nature of the song. Here, the grammar of the matrix language (Auer & Muhamedova, 2005), Kazakh, is kept and Russian words are embedded without any change. But the most interesting case of inserting is seen in line three: the whole line is in Russian, but Kazakh ending is added to the word “жить” [live]. “жить” is a full verb in Russian that does not need an ending, whereas in Kazakh most verbs are used as a combination of two or three verbs. So instead of Kazakh “өмір сүруге” [to live], or Russian “жить” [to live], they say “жить етуге”. The phrase “жить етуге” is four syllables, which better fits the line, while “өмір сүруге” has five. So that might also be a reason for inserting a Russian word in that line.
In the second verse the pattern is different, as Russian words and phrases appear at the beginning or in the middle of the lines, not at the end. However, there is another use of Kazakh ending in a Russian word “сорт+тар” [sorts] in the third line. In this case a Kazakh plural ending is added to a Russian noun:
Қарағым, айналайын, черный көзім,
Никогда не забуду айтқан сөзің.
Второй сорт, третий сорттар толып жатыр,
Первый сорт қайдан тудың сенін өзің?
The chorus is mainly in Kazakh, except for some Russian female names and the last line which says “Я люблю тебя, Рая”. Although the embedding in the song is intentional, it clearly shows the social linguistic context of that time, when a lot of Russians were coming to Kazakhstan.
Another song of this group called “Су тасушы қыз” [literally: A lady who carries/delivers water] is about a girl who drives a water carter. As the word “водовоз” does not have a translation in Kazakh it was used in the song. The song was written by the group in the late 1970s and it might have been influenced by the song “16 қыз” [16 girls], as it has some similar use of Russian embedding. For example, the word “большой удар” [a big punch] in the second verse, rhymes with the Kazakh word “кейбір қулар” [some sly fellows]:
Әкелген бал-бұлақтан мөлдір су бар,
Сылтаулап шөлдей берер кейбір қулар.
Жасырда бұл совхоздың қыздары ыстык,
Абайла, алып қалма большой удар.
Overall, the song “Су тасушы қыз” has fewer cases of mixing Russian than “16 қыз”, but the tone and manner of two songs are very similar. Intentional use of Russian-Kazakh mix in a joky manner might be the reason for the popularity of the songs, and in more serious songs mixing languages would not have such an effect.
[Aleksandr Z] (2016, Oct 2). Дос Мукасан – 16 Кыз 1977 [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feq2lEPfOoo
[Дос-Мукасан] (2014, Jul 19). Дос-Мукасан – Су тасушы қыз [Video File].Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9CaXSifa88
Peter Auer & Raihan Muhamedova, (2005). ‘Embedded language’ and ‘matrix language’ in insertional language mixing: Some problematic cases. Italian journal of linguistics, 17(1), 35-54. Retrieved from http://paul.igl.uni-freiburg.de/auer/userfiles/downloads/Auer_Muhamedova_Embedded%20language%20and%20matrix%20language%20in%20insertional%20language%20mixing.pdf