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Carluke-Russian

OK you have just stepped off the Aeroflot plane arriving in Moscow and you are in the Immigration Hall. When asked where you are arriving from say London. Don't say Carluke.  Here's why

Horsey's tale  of  the  arrival  in  Moscow  of  the English ambassador,  Jerome  Bowes, records  the insulting  cry of  'karlik' or  'carluke' with  which  the  Russian  crowd greeted him  after  he  had  dismounted from  the  horse provided for  him claiming that  it  was unworthy of  his status.

It  is probable that  the  crowd  used  it  on  this  occasion  since the English  equivalent is  recorded by  Horsey.
But  'carluke'  is obviously Rus.  karlik? a  dwarf.

Horsey seems  to  have  noted  one  of  the insulting remarks  in  an approximation to  the  Russian pronunciation; for  this purpose he  chose  a  short phrase that  his  ear  could  most easily  grasp. At  the  same  time Horsey's informant gave him  the English  equivalent of  one  of  the  other  cries  of  derision provoked partly no  doubt by the  unorthodox  costume  of  the Englishman (probably doublet  and hose).
The  dwarfs  at  the  tsar's  court  wore Western  costume  before  it  was generally  accepted.
 
So be warned - If the policeman hears you say 'karlik' or Carluke you might just end up being frisked for contraband black puddings and haggis. !

(From the article "Russian Words in Sixteenth-Century English Sources" by H. Leeming   with kind permission
The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 46, No. 106 (Jan., 1968) )
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Last Updated on Oct-18-2014