إصلاحيين

English translation: إصلاحي، مصلح

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Arabic term or phrase:reformist, reformer
English translation:إصلاحي، مصلح
Entered by: Amer al-Azem
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10:54 Jan 29, 2003
Arabic to English translations [Non-PRO]
Arabic term or phrase: إصلاحيين
Do we say " reformers" or "reformists"? I would be grateful if I know why.

Keep in mind that "reformer" means مصلح. Is there any difference between مصلح أو إصلاحي?
Amer al-Azem
Local time: 00:52
Reformists. There are differences, but very subtle.
Explanation:
"Reformer" is a noun applied to one who engages in activities to reform something, usually of a social or cultural nature (encompassing religion, politics, education, and other areas). The term is typically used in a somewhat laudatory manner. Qasim Ameen is thought of as a reformer by some, but as a corrupter (or corruptor) by others. The common word in Arabic is مصلح

"Reformist" is used both as a noun and as an adjective. It refers to one who is a follower or advocate of "reformism," which is the word we use for the doctrine or movement of reform. The Arabic for "reformist" is most commonly إصلاحي

As you can see, the difference between the two is a hair's breadth. When used as an adjective, the term "reformist" can be clearly distinguished from "reformer." For instance, we can speak of a "reformist party" or "reformist tendencies." In such collocations there is no mix up with "reformer," although one can often justifiably substitue "reform" for "reformist." The difference between a "reform party" and a "reformist party" is so subtle it is almost artificial. One can say, for instance, that "reform" in such a context would typically mean engaged in the activity of reform, while "reformist" (and "reformism") may obliquely hint at reform merely as a political label or as a posture, more like a doctrinaire loyalty to a concept. Another subtle difference is that when "reformist" is used in this fashion, it acquires a somewhat neutral postion with respect to the advocated reforms. In other words, the writer who calls a politician "a reformist activist" may not necessarily agree that the advocated changes amount to positive reform. It is similar to the word "Reformation" with a capital R in reference to the movement of Martin Luther. Although it is the official name of the movement, it is not necessarily thought of by everyone as producing or even aiming at genuine reform.

When used as a noun, "reformist" is hardly distinguishable from "reformer" except perhaps that "reformer" would point to an active endeavor, while "reformist" would point more to reformism as an adopted doctrine or as a public stance.

Because there is no law anywhere that requires people to use words according to any established lexicon, words in any language have a tendency to grow sideways, to blur their boundaries as soon as they are put in circulation. The idea of having one word for each meaning and one meaning for each word has its attraction, has been proposed by serious thinkers, and continues to guide many practioners of the language arts. The truth, however, is that it is simply contrary to the very nature of human language, as opposed to other communication systems, such as computer codes and animal communication. In short, I would steer away from anyone who tries to pin down such terms, even in their native language, let alone create one-to-one correspondence with terms in other languages. What is required for both comprehension and performance is sensitivity to the intended use. Such sensitivity is mostly gained by intensified exposure. Dictionaries help, but used apart from genuine exposure and active engagement, they can do more harm than good.

Fuad

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Note added at 2003-01-29 11:43:32 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I hope that my answer covers your follow up question as well. Please let me know if it fails to cover that.
Selected response from:

Fuad Yahya
Grading comment
أشكركم و أشكرك سامي كذلك.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +2Reformists. There are differences, but very subtle.
Fuad Yahya
4 +1مصلح - إصلاحي
Sami Khamou


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


47 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Reformists. There are differences, but very subtle.


Explanation:
"Reformer" is a noun applied to one who engages in activities to reform something, usually of a social or cultural nature (encompassing religion, politics, education, and other areas). The term is typically used in a somewhat laudatory manner. Qasim Ameen is thought of as a reformer by some, but as a corrupter (or corruptor) by others. The common word in Arabic is مصلح

"Reformist" is used both as a noun and as an adjective. It refers to one who is a follower or advocate of "reformism," which is the word we use for the doctrine or movement of reform. The Arabic for "reformist" is most commonly إصلاحي

As you can see, the difference between the two is a hair's breadth. When used as an adjective, the term "reformist" can be clearly distinguished from "reformer." For instance, we can speak of a "reformist party" or "reformist tendencies." In such collocations there is no mix up with "reformer," although one can often justifiably substitue "reform" for "reformist." The difference between a "reform party" and a "reformist party" is so subtle it is almost artificial. One can say, for instance, that "reform" in such a context would typically mean engaged in the activity of reform, while "reformist" (and "reformism") may obliquely hint at reform merely as a political label or as a posture, more like a doctrinaire loyalty to a concept. Another subtle difference is that when "reformist" is used in this fashion, it acquires a somewhat neutral postion with respect to the advocated reforms. In other words, the writer who calls a politician "a reformist activist" may not necessarily agree that the advocated changes amount to positive reform. It is similar to the word "Reformation" with a capital R in reference to the movement of Martin Luther. Although it is the official name of the movement, it is not necessarily thought of by everyone as producing or even aiming at genuine reform.

When used as a noun, "reformist" is hardly distinguishable from "reformer" except perhaps that "reformer" would point to an active endeavor, while "reformist" would point more to reformism as an adopted doctrine or as a public stance.

Because there is no law anywhere that requires people to use words according to any established lexicon, words in any language have a tendency to grow sideways, to blur their boundaries as soon as they are put in circulation. The idea of having one word for each meaning and one meaning for each word has its attraction, has been proposed by serious thinkers, and continues to guide many practioners of the language arts. The truth, however, is that it is simply contrary to the very nature of human language, as opposed to other communication systems, such as computer codes and animal communication. In short, I would steer away from anyone who tries to pin down such terms, even in their native language, let alone create one-to-one correspondence with terms in other languages. What is required for both comprehension and performance is sensitivity to the intended use. Such sensitivity is mostly gained by intensified exposure. Dictionaries help, but used apart from genuine exposure and active engagement, they can do more harm than good.

Fuad

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-01-29 11:43:32 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I hope that my answer covers your follow up question as well. Please let me know if it fails to cover that.

Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2542
Grading comment
أشكركم و أشكرك سامي كذلك.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Dikran
15 hrs

agree  AhmedAMS
316 days
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
مصلح - إصلاحي


Explanation:
Reformer = مصلح
Reformist = إصلاحي

Reformer is a noun. Reformist is an adjective.

Here are examples from Oxford Dictionary:

Noun
Wilberforce was a great British social reformer who fought for the abolition of the slave trade in the late 18th and early 19th century.

reformist
adjective
a reformist, rather than a revolutionary approach, to government

من الأفضل اتباع النهج الإصلاحي بدلا من النهج الثوري تجاه الحكومة

Arabic/English dictionaries seldom mention the term "reformist".

Reformer is translated as مصلح

Meriam-Webster on-line dictionary does not contain "reformist" but it refers the reader to "reformism"

المبدأ الإصلاحي أو السياسة الإصلاحية أو العقيدة الإصلاحية

I guess you are right. "reformist" does have a rather political connotation because of its relation to -ism.

Sami Khamou
Local time: 17:52
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
PRO pts in pair: 560

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Bilal
3 hrs
  -> Thank you Bilal
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



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