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Anyone else able to comment on "a bit of an 'arry?" (and Political Correctness)
Thread poster: Christine Andersen

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:29
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Jan 18, 2006

Around New year I answered this KudoZ question, expecting to be one of dozens, but simply had to add my pennyworth as always...

I'm not sure that my answer is quite equivalent either... but nobody else has suggested an alternative.

http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1216357#answ_2903123

But now the asker is still wondering, and probably no one sees the question any more.

Today there are more questions in the same genre - so while you are thumbing through your slang dictionaries and literary allusions, is there anyone who can help?

It's not really my field at all!

But it's an interesting issue, trying to translate across time as well as all the other aspects. When can you use terms that formerly were acceptable, but are no longer politicaly correct (like Jock, which seems to have become offensive, while I was not looking... )

I had an uncle born in India before WWI - the part that is now the Pakistan-Afghan border - who happily called himself a Wog!!!
But that's quite another can of worms.

Conversely, how do we translate expressions that might have been quite offensive when used, but have lost their impact through time?

If we can keep this discussion on a level that the moderators can accept - please folks, linguistic considerations only - it is actually both important and fascinating.


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:29
Spanish to English
A bit of an 'arry Jan 18, 2006

[quote]Christine Andersen wrote:

When can you use terms that formerly were acceptable, but are no longer politicaly correct (like Jock, which seems to have become offensive, while I was not looking... )

Conversely, how do we translate expressions that might have been quite offensive when used, but have lost their impact through time?

Being an ex-patriate Scot all my life I have always found the use of "Jock" (apart from the US term, which is always seems to be related to sport)derogatory. Except in Scotland or used by Scots, as it is only used as a forename there. It originates, I believe from the gaelic "Seoc" meaning John and later to Jock, probably due to English influence, as a form of Jack. Also I believe the majority of these types of terms stem from Colonial and colonialistic WASPs (could be derogatory) White Anglo-Saxon Protestants as a mark of their, supposedly, superiority of the rest of the world.


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 16:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
hola Jan 18, 2006

Christine Andersen wrote:

If we can keep this discussion on a level that the moderators can accept - please folks, linguistic considerations only - it is actually both important and fascinating.



Thank you very much for this last comment, Christine.

Hopefuly, we'll be able to help you with this interesting topic
respecting the site rules.

Au


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:29
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Point taken Jan 18, 2006

I won't repeat my rambling comments from the KudoZ question, but point taken, David.

I never actively use the expression Jock myself, but will not do so from now on. Of course, it does also make a difference who uses it and to whom...

But a hundred years ago it seemed to be quite acceptable - and that is the real issue. There is no simple answer of course, but are there any good ways of marking in a translation how a name was meant, when it is very different now?

It's just as much a matter of not being unintentionally offensive - please come with warnings and examples!


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:29
French to English
+ ...
Dutch Cognate Jan 18, 2006

As a bookish young (and American) man whose athletic clumsiness would never have led him to being called a "jock," I was amused to be referred to as a "joch" or "jochie" when I lived in the Netherlands, where the term is a neutral, if informal, term for "boy" or "guy."

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Anyone else able to comment on "a bit of an 'arry?" (and Political Correctness)

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