The grammar of Russiagate: Russians or "the" Russians?
Thread poster: Susan Welsh

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Mar 4

This should be of interest to Russophiles, grammarians, and other human beings:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/02/the-grammar-of-russiagate/

"There’s a big difference between Russians and the Russians, even if the grammar seems inconsequential...."


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:01
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Thanks for sharing Mar 4

The article makes some good points. The author appears to be very meticulous with language, down to the last comma, which makes me trust him on issues of grammar. One sentence doesn't read well to me though:
If so, they haven’t said informed us of that fact.
Is it just me, or should said be dropped?


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:01
Member
English to Italian
CDA Mar 4

Susan Welsh wrote:

This should be of interest to Russophiles, grammarians, and other human beings:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/02/the-grammar-of-russiagate/

"There’s a big difference between Russians and the Russians, even if the grammar seems inconsequential...."


For me, a non native speaker of English, what the article says seems almost obvious. E.g. "Consider what I call the insidious article, the. In the public prints and official pronouncements, it’s not enough to say Russians tried to muck around in the American election. It’s almost always the Russians. This is a subtle way to convey the idea that Vladimir Putin and his intel agencies were responsible."
Thing is, more often than not we just process this kind of input (especially spoken language) without noticing those "little details", that however affect our understanding and perception to some degree.

Actually, there's an entire discipline that focuses on this kind on language analyses: Critical Discourse Analysis. For instance: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/journals/cadaad/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Volume-5_Van-Leeuwen.pdf#page=4


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not just you Mar 4

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

The article makes some good points. The author appears to be very meticulous with language, down to the last comma, which makes me trust him on issues of grammar. One sentence doesn't read well to me though:
If so, they haven’t said informed us of that fact.
Is it just me, or should said be dropped?


Well spotted. It looks like one of these typical train of thought errors, where the author was probably thinking "if so, they haven't said so", but then decided that "informed" was a more formal and serious sounding option, but then forgot to remove the offending "said"...


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Interesting article Mar 4

I even found it useful just for the reminder about synecdoche, a figure of speech I use quite a lot, but which I can never remember the name of icon_smile.gif

Thanks for posting.

[Edited at 2018-03-04 19:25 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
FWIW Mar 5

I thought the article was very poorly written. It tries way too hard to be erudite and ends up sounding pompous.

And the basic premise that the use of "the Russians" is some "insidious" and "subtle" ploy seems rather bizarre. They're very openly blaming the Russian government, not just some random peasants in Siberia!

It would also sound odd to me in English to just say "Russians". Germans like rules. French are good lovers. British can't cook. Nope, I don't see it.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 02:01
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Try Mar 5

British can't cook

Brits can't cook.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:01
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Hackers from Russia or The hackers from Russia? Mar 5

In German it sounds rather rude to write or say: Die Russen, die Amerikaner. Only in colloquial speech is it possible.

 


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