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Jalalaika from episode 1

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1373269.  Sun Jan 31, 2021 4:47 pm Reply with quote

Stephen Fry called Jimmy Carr's buzzer a jalalaika in episode 1 Jargon.
There is no such thing =)
The right name is жалейка - zhaleika/jaleika. It is wind isntrument most used in slavic countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
Name comes from word zhal' - жаль, which means sorrow or being sorry for smthg. Instrument wasn't only used by shepherds, it was one of funeral instruments.

Here you can see and hear various slavic instruments

Hope that somebody will find this information useful =)

1373272.  Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:07 pm Reply with quote

I've played in a concert with a balalaika as a solo instrument.

1373278.  Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:34 pm Reply with quote

Thanks inkshift! Yes, I think Stephen got a bit mixed up there.

The buzzers in that episode were a jarana (a Mexican eight string guitar), a jouhikko (a Finnish three string harp which sounds somewhat like an accordion), a жалейка (that Russian clarinet which sounds somewhat like a bagpipe), and a Jew's harp.

Not only did Stephen intrude an extra syllable - presumably by anaology with balalaika, the Russian three string guitar that Awitt mentions - but he also pronounced the /ʒ/ sound as /h/. Pronouncing <j> as /h/ may be good Spanish, but good Russian it certainly isn't!


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