Language update for May
Professor Polistra carries in the usual bucket of linguistic nonsense....
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Spreading fast. When people use surreal
they are directly substituting it for unreal,
and they clearly mean like a movie
or like TV drama.
But in fact these surreal
situations are powerfully and forcefully real, slamming you with blasts of real bullets or real falling trees.
So the usage accidentally returns to the original etymology. Sur = above or over, from Latin super. Super-real. Exactly.
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Probably a fussy point but Prof P is annoyed by it. Stalin's famously objective comment about religion was translated by some New York writer in the '30s as "How many divisions has the Pope?"
This is a classic example of schoolmarm rules. In English has
is two entirely separate words, a part of verb tenses and a free-standing verb meaning 'possesses'. In constructions like this, the schoolmarm rule conflates the two separate words. Proper English grammar for this sentence is
"How many divisions does the Pope have?"
Despite this, the 'correct translation' lingers and generates new metaphors like Kilpatrick's recent article
"How many divisions has the Beltway Right?"
In proper English "How many divisions does the Beltway Right have?"
Modern writers may believe the 'correct translation' needs to be maintained because it represents the Russian better. Nope.
There's no reason in Russian to favor the 'correct translation'. Russian doesn't use have
at all in normal speech. Instead it uses the preposition u
, meaning at
or in the possession of
. Stalin's actual statement would render mechanically in English as:
"At Pope howmany divisions?"
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"Japan's Diet, as its parliament is known, has decided against a tax hike...."
Direct parallel to has.
Japan's parliament is known as kokkai. There's no reason to translate this word as Diet instead of the more familiar parliament or congress or legislature. Diet is a totally obsolete word, last used in the West about 500 years ago.
Similarly with prefectures
for Japan's provinces. They're called todofuken. Could be translated as provinces or counties or states. Instead we use another obsolete word dating to the Holy Roman Empire.
Why don't we follow this principle consistently? Jap cars should be called chariots branlants.
Jap televisions should be called opera dei pupi.
Jap computers should be antikytherai.
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Last year Professor Polistra disassembled
the use of background
to advance the Trans movement. Now the same source, Deutsche Welle, is using the same word in a broader context. They ran a long feature on one particular sexual assault by an Arab who is NOT A MIGRANT, and they got through the entire feature without mentioning even once that the Arab is an Arab. Instead he was described several dozen times as "a man with a migrant background" or "a man with a migrating background." Other Kraut online sources
were slightly more honest, at least giving the Arab's first name. Walid. That's an Arab name. Not a Muslim name, not a "migrating background" name. An Arab name. And he was NOT a migrant. He was BORN IN ITALY, and his FATHER had migrated from Morocco.
So DW's migrant background
is a double lie. It leads you to think that Walid belongs to this year's delicate vulnerable endangered angelic Dreamers, who must be treated as victims by definition; and it leads you NOT to think that Walid is an Arab. Standard satan. Always blame situation, never blame genes.
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More new words for "sanity and truth".
"Because a lot of the proposals that Trump has made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude...."
Labels: Language update