an upstart civilian government

English translation: a government that has risen suddenly to prominence from nowhere

01:38 May 6, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary
English term or phrase: an upstart civilian government
To this day [1991], the 37 million citizens of Burma are ruled not only by the shadow dictator Ne Win, but by his favorite number, 9. A devotee of golf (no coincidence), Win governs his life by 9s--he took 45 people with him on a trip to America; he overthrew an upstart civilian government on the 18th day of the 9th month; he gave his party the 9th, 18th and 27th slots on electoral ballots. (Is the adjective'upstart'perceived as negative in English in this context?)
Maritza
English translation:a government that has risen suddenly to prominence from nowhere
Explanation:
Upstart doesn't necessarily have a negative meaning. But it sometimes has the meaning of 'someone who behaves arrogantly.' In your passage I'd say the word is used in a fairly neutral way, as described above.
Selected response from:

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 21:57
Grading comment
Thank you! :)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +1Not to be taken seriously.
Knara Law
3 +3a government that has risen suddenly to prominence from nowhere
Kim Metzger
4 +1see explanation below
William Stein


  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Not to be taken seriously.


Explanation:
Upstart is new and inferior.



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Note added at 2003-05-06 01:48:55 (GMT)
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Upstart - one who has suddenly risen from a humble position to consequence. Vulgar.
Webster\'s Comprehensive dictionary.

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Note added at 2003-05-06 01:50:36 (GMT)
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Vulgar - lack of culture, taste, sesitivity.

Webster\'s New World College Dictionary.

Knara Law
Local time: 03:57
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 13

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marie Scarano
4 hrs
  -> Thank you Marie.

neutral  Ino66 (X): Not necessarily inferior... Shakespeare was called "the upstart crow" by some of his contemporaries...
4 hrs
  -> Thanks. My answer is only for this context.
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
a government that has risen suddenly to prominence from nowhere


Explanation:
Upstart doesn't necessarily have a negative meaning. But it sometimes has the meaning of 'someone who behaves arrogantly.' In your passage I'd say the word is used in a fairly neutral way, as described above.



    Concise Oxford
Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 21:57
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2249
Grading comment
Thank you! :)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Fuad Yahya
1 hr

agree  Ino66 (X)
4 hrs

agree  asusisu (X)
5 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
see explanation below


Explanation:
The term "upstart" is definitely negative. It's usually used to refer to a small, insignificant person who tries to rise up suddenly (an immature rebel).
In this context, though, it might be ironic: the shadow governor considers the revolutionaries to be "upstarts" but in fact they had every right to rebel against the dictatorship.

William Stein
Costa Rica
Local time: 20:57
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 36

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  wendyzee (X)
3 hrs
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