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A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:59 pm

I was just thinking of German kontaktarm (literally contact poor) this morning while I was taking a walk, I don't think it translates easily into any other language. Mein Sohn ist immer kontaktarm gewesen = My son has always been contact poor (has always had trouble making new friends).

Something else I don't know how to translate effectively (which means with only one word,) is the Portuguese cassar. Cassar has been used a lot recently for congressmen who have been removed from office and whose political rights have been taken aways from them for a period of eight years for misconduct or, especially, embezzlement. It's used like this: Senhor X foi cassado recentemente com 200 votos a favor e 30 contra (Mr. X has been ? recently with 200 votes for and 30 against - explanation: other congressmen decide whether such a penalty should be inflicted on their colleague). Does anybody know a good word that could fill this slot? Please no rewordings, that I can do myself (insert a smiley here).

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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:05 pm

A cognate, «kassera», with the same basic meaning - to discard - is also used in Swedish, although in other contexts. I think the closest you could come in English are variants on «dismiss» - «discharge», «eject», «throw out» as in «Throw the bums out !» - but you are unlikely to find anything as specific as «cassar», which also implies an eight-year period of restricted civil liberties. Besides, were you to say that Rep X or Sen Y had been removed from the Congress for peculation, people would simply stare at you - in the best of all possible (lobbyist) worlds, such things (the dismissal, not the peculation) don't happen outside of fairy tales....

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曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:18 pm

Systranet translates cassar/cassado as to annul/annulled. Would it be similar to the English word censure?

NOUN: 1. An expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. 2. An official rebuke, as by a legislature of one of its members.
TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: cen·sured, cen·sur·ing, cen·sures
1. To criticize severely; blame. See synonyms at criticize. 2. To express official disapproval of: “whether the Senate will censure one of its members for conflict of interest” (Washington Post).


On a second reading, expel may be closer. Impeach is technically an accusation, although it can lead to removal from office.

Michael Myers and James Traficant were two US Congressman who were expelled from office.
Regards//Larry

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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:29 pm

«Expel» is indeed the word, Larry, thanks ! And reassuring to learn that in the last two plus decades, only two persons have so transgressed the rules that expulsion was necessary. Mr Clean obviously not only went to, but also lives in Washington ! I suspect that things are rather different in Brazil's more boisterous parliament....

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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:35 pm

Expel is good, but I can't only say Mr. X was expelled, I have to say from where, and censure means disapproval, so I would say the search goes on. Thank you guys.

Brazilian dude

P.S. I don't know how boisterous our Parliament sessions are, but they are not as boisterous as the ones I've seen on TV in Asia (was it Taiwan?).
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:36 pm

Who talked about civil liberties? I mentioned political rights.

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Postby Flaminius » Wed Sep 28, 2005 2:40 am

Japanese parliament can be quite a riot. As I cannot stand bloodshed of professional wrestling, I opt for NHK channel 3 whenever the Parliament is in session.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:52 am

Brazilian dude wrote:Who talked about civil liberties? I mentioned political rights.

To my mind, civil liberties include, among other nice things to have, such political rights as that to the franchise or to candidacy for public office, which I presume are among those denied those who have been cassado. That is why I wrote «restricted [emphasis added[sub]MHD[/sub]] civil liberties». But perhaps BD has a different understanding of the term ?...

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Postby Iterman » Wed Sep 28, 2005 6:12 am

Brazilian dude wrote:
Snow, what is snow? How do you pronounce it? Is it something you eat? :wink:

Brazilian dude


Snow is what Brazilian shop keepers spray on their windows just before Christmas, I believe. :lol:
Beg your pardon for my poor spelling and grammer.
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Postby Vandalism » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:30 am

M. Henri Day wrote:While asking around, Vanda, could you also inquire about how that «-sen» in the query you mention above is written ? I suspect the query to be «男人 ?女人 ?» (in pinyin, «nanren ? nüren ?», but don't remember Taiwanese pronouncing «人» as «sen» during my brief visit to the island more than two decades ago.
Henri


Ah, that's my fault, Taiwanese pronunciation. It's not 'ren' meaning person and if I knew how to type characters on a computer I'd show you which character it is. Unfortunately I'm completely stupid when it comes to the www.technology. I learned the Taiwanese phonetic alphabet bupumufu so my pinyin is rubbish too. On the mainland I believe it's pronounced 'sheng' and I think it's the same as the second character in the word for student (not even attempting pinyin for that). As you probably remember the Taiwanese have a habit of turning the Beijing 'sh' and 'er' into 's' and 'n' and have a slangy way of talking. I went to Beijing and people laughed at me for speaking like a Taiwanese.

Stargzer - Funny you should bring up Arabic. My friends are all from the Gulf countries at the moment and this language is my latest fad. When we talk they translate their thoughts directly from the Arabic into English and it never ceases to surprise me the way they come at things; often poetic and sometimes, for me, downright bizarre.

Here's an example I've come across in Hindi of a word reflecting a whole perspective on reality. Kal here in India can mean either today or tomorrow. It seems bizarre since these two notions are diametrically opposed. In effect the context will let you know whether it's the past or the future being talked about but at first it seems bizarre to allow such ambiguity. When you take into account the Indian understanding of time however, the word begins to make more sense. Time is cyclical and endless and we are trapped forever in the 'Eternal Now', stuck, if you like, inextricably between yesterday and tomorrow. Kal is either side of now. No wonder then, kal is also the word for 'time' itself.

The word becomes even more interesting when you learn it also means 'death'. I've had it explained to me that Indian people aren't time-conscious (evident when you have to wait for hours for the bus) because they aren't death-conscious either. In the West we have death shoved away in some inaccessible point in the future and time is ominously ticking towards it. Over here it's accepted into the everyday as the definition of life itself, it moves with every moment and nobody has any fear of it. Time is death and death is time. It's a deep understanding.

All in a word. Really it's fascinating.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:21 am

Thanks, Vanda, for your speedy reply ! You are surely correct in your surmise - the second element must be the graph «生», and the query written « 男生 ? 女生 ?». On the mainland, this latter would be taken to refer to male and female students (学生), respectively, but it may be the case that the graph has wider reference on Taiwan (or, on the other hand, that you associate exclusively with students).

As to your problems with writing Chinese, why not download Micro$oft's IME for simplified Chinese graphs ? It's easy to use if one knows 拼音 (pinyin), which system itself is consequent and fairly intuitive for speakers of most Western languages. One also gets a toggle switch for conversion between simplified and traditional graphs. I haven't encountered any major difficulties in using it, so, to borrow Tim's phrase, it must be for dummies. One minor matter - don't forget that one writes «v» for «ü» in this system. Thus to obtain «女», one writes «nv»....

Henri
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Postby Flaminius » Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:21 am

性 = sex, gender, -ness, -ity.

Thus being male is 男性 and being female is 女性.

生 was almost equivalent to 先生 in the earliest sense I can remember.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Sep 29, 2005 3:45 pm

Flaminius wrote:...

Thus being male is 男性 [Jp dansei[sub]MHD[/sub]] and being female is 女性 [Jp josei[sub]MHD[/sub]]. ...

The above usage, while also possible in Chinese, strikes me as being rather more characteristic of Japanese speech patterns. The typical colloquial Chinese query, at least in those parts of China with which I am most familiar, would be «男的 ?女的 ?» (read «Nande ? Nüde ?). We shall have to wait and see what Vandal's Taiwanese friends tell him....

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