Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2013 December 23

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December 23[edit]

English equivalents of the Chinese words "含蓄" and "文雅"[edit]

I have some problem translating the Chinese words "含蓄" and "文雅" into English? I think I understand their meaning, but haven't found what I'd consider as near-equivalents in English.

In the usage I have in mind, "含蓄" is used to refer to literary works or their styles. A work or style that is 含蓄 is not explicit; (some of) the meaning has to be inferred by the reader. "Implicit" and "implied" are two dictionary translations I've found, but "implicit" is not a word I'd use to refer to a work or style. (It sounds a little weird to me; maybe others don't feel the same way.)

In the usage I have in mind, "文雅" has the connotation of not vulgar or crude. To me, it suggests a style or expression appropriate for literature (maybe some classic, respected kind of literature?). Two dictionary translations I've found are "elegant" and "refined", but I think they have an overemphasis on beauty and refinement.

Any suggestions?

-- (talk) 12:56, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Working just on the basis of your comments above, I would suggest "allusive" and "lucid". --ColinFine (talk) 14:37, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
I too, with nothing but your explanations to go on, came up with allusive for the first one. The second is somewhat more vague to me; in particular, I'm not sure why you're rejecting refined, which seems to me a good match for "not vulgar or crude". What about tasteful? Deor (talk) 14:48, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the suggestion of allusive for 含蓄. If you aren't satisfied with refined for 文雅, what about graceful? I don't think lucid is quite right. (I am not a native speaker of Chinese, but over the course of the past year I have moved from an intermediate level to what I think is an advanced level.) Marco polo (talk) 15:22, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd say reserved or restrained for 含蓄, and I can't really think of anything better than refined for 文雅, in the context of an antonym of plain-spoken (say, contrasting classical and more recent Chinese literature). If you're translating a passage, using two adjectives might help convey the full meaning. wctaiwan (talk) 02:46, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Apostrophe in Russian[edit]

I was going to ask a question about characters' nicknames in Roadside Picnic, but in the process I came across another curious thing. The Russian Wikipedia article about nicknames, ru:Прозвище, gives as synonyms кли́чка and погоня’ло. What is the apostrophe doing in погоня’ло? I've never seen an apostrophe used in this way in Russian; in fact I can't even find a way to type it on a Russian keyboard layout. Is it at all connected with the use of an apostrophe for hard sign in Ukrainian? Is this word a kind of Internet jargon where the apostrophe is just decorative? Or is the apostrophe there to differentiate from the past tense verb form? (This would be odd, because Russian is usually happy to permit different words to be written identically, like замок or мука.) Does it make any difference in the pronunciation? Does this show up in other words? --Amble (talk) 16:05, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Or maybe this is just a typo in the Russian Wikipedia article? I had convinced myself it's a real word (including the apostrophe) with a quick Google search, but on further investigation I think the hits may all lead back to the same Wikipedia article. If it's as simple as that we can just correct it in ru.wikipedia. --Amble (talk) 16:24, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
I would say that this is just a mistyped accent sign: According to [1], the accent is on я indeed. No such user (talk) 16:31, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Typo, obvsly. Many do not know how to type combining accents properly so they use apostrophe.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 19:28, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
But in the texts printed in 1920-1940 you usually encounter apostrophe in place of the hard sign.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 19:31, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
But don't hard signs only ever precede vowels? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:49, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, с’езд etc.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 21:04, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. That proves it can't be a typo for погонъяло - which is a good thing since there's no such word (except, maybe, in Bulgarian). -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 08:15, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
It's easy to remember that the hard sign in Russian is used only after prefixes (apart from some dozens of words like адъютант, фельдъегерь, etc. - but diachronically they also have/had prefixes).--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 12:11, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Such a word doesn't exist in Bulgarian either. It is true that the letter ъ occurs much more frequently in Bulgarian than it does in Russian because it represents one of Bulgarian's six vowels. However, there are some limitations with regards to its distribution. Word-initially, ъ is there only in the word ъгъл "angle; corner" and its derivatives, and in marginal loanwords such as ъперкът "uppercut". It never occurs orthographically in word-final positions, although, in the standard language, a final ‹а› has the sound of ‹ъ› in forms like чета "I read" (pronounced [чеˈтъ]) and света "the world" (oblique case form, pronounced [свеˈтъ]). Also, it is unusual for ъ to stay next to another vowel; this situation may appear across morpheme boundaries in words like съавтор "co-author" and съученик "classmate". In transcriptions of foreign names the ъ can be seen in all positions, including initially (Ърнест "Ernest"), finally (Кушадасъ "Kuşadası"), and next to a vowel (Кюъл "Kewell").
Some languages, like Ossetic and Kabardian, use multigraphs one of whose components is ъ (see Cyrillic digraphs). --Theurgist (talk) 00:54, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

OK, thanks to No Such and Lüboslóv; and thanks to Lüboslóv for the typo fix [2]. Indeed, it should have been obvious that it was a mistyped accent. I was led astray by the first two results on a Google search [3], [4], but there are hints that these actually echoes of the same original typo in the Russian Wikipedia article. --Amble (talk) 22:55, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

French help[edit]

I'm trying to transcribe an interview with a Kurdistan Workers' Party member, found here: [5]. I'm having trouble with a few words. Can someone check the following and correct the words marked with ??:

J’ai beaucoup participé aux opérations, parce qu’en général je me trouvais dans la région du Boutane (??) Bohtan. Il y a eu beaucoup de confrontations ; et j’ai souvent un eu l'ennemi face à moi. Environ cent de mes camarades sont morts près de moi. La Le plus difficile à vivre, c’était quand ils jouaient avec les cadavres. Ils se jetest ( ??) jetaient sur les cadavres, surtout sur les femmes. Ils les coupaient en pétits petits morceaux, ils arrachaient leurs oreilles, leurs yeux ; c’est toujours très dur pour moi. Ils ont fait ça à beaucoup de guérilla hausse ( ??) guérilleros. Ils arrachent leurs pieds, et leurs mains. Si tu tues une personne, pourquoi arracher ses oreilles, ses yeux, ses pieds, et ses mains ? Il y a beaucoup de cette violence, surtout des commandos spéciaux. La majorité de ces commandos spéciaux utilise des narcotiques (??) et ils n’ont plus de des sentiments humains. Quand une personne leur tombe entre les mains, même si elle est blessée, ils la torturent jusqu’à la mort.

Note: I am NOT trying to express any sympathy or opposition to PKK. I'm only transcribing an interview. Thanks for any help! --Bowlhover (talk) 18:10, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

I think I could hear those words fairly clearly and have suggested a few corrections. My French is not very good though. Fut.Perf. 21:07, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Seems fine, apart from the last sentence which should be plural: ils la torturent. But I'm no expert. Ssscienccce (talk) 21:57, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Oops, my bad. Thanks to Future Perfect for the help! If anyone can spot other errors (in areas not marked with ??), please let me know. --Bowlhover (talk) 02:18, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
I made some corections in the text. But 1) ils n'ont plus de sentiments humains, is for me, better French than ils n'ont plus des sentiments humains. And 2) des narcotiques (substances that induce narcosis) seems not to be the right word. I think she (the translator) would have used des stupéfiants, des drogues. — AldoSyrt (talk) 10:26, 24 December 2013 (UTC)