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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Russia revives or raises its head?

The other day the Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev thanked the Americans for “a compliment” in connection with their statement about “resurgent Russia”. In fact, the compliment was not, as the translation of the English phrase resurgent Russia as “resurgent Russia” is incorrect.

The meaning of each word is made of two components: denotate (a basic concept that refers to the word) and connotation (a rating — positive, negative or neutral — which is contained in this word). The words “lady”, “woman” and “woman” are one and the same denotate, but very different connotation. Accordingly, each word has its compatibility: “the lady” can be used with the words “Grand”, “elegant”, etc., and “Baba” — with definitions like “ignorant”, “hefty”, etc.

Forgive me reader this digression into Philology, but the word is resurgent in the English political lexicon such use that it’s hardly a compliment, in contrast to the Russian word “resurgent”, which carries a positive connotation. The online “Free dictionary” (The Free Dictionary) illustrates the meaning of the phrase resurgent resurgent nationalism. It’s not exactly a compliment.

Popular Internet news site The Daily Beast in an article about how the occupation of foreign territories (say, the American occupation of Iraq) grist to the mill of the terrorists, wrote in 2011 about “resurgent Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, and, yes, al Qaeda” (in this list there is no so-called “Islamic state”, now banned in most countries, including in Russia, since then it has stayed in obscurity, and later turned out in full force). Transfer of the main terrorist organizations, coupled with the word resurgent definitely demonstrates the negative connotations of the word.

The correct translation of the resurgent — it is something like “lifting the head”. So talking about all sorts of threats and a variety of “bad guys” (when-that in Soviet Newspapers one could read phrases such as “raises the head of the counter-revolutionary underground”). So nothing to be proud of, Mr. Kosachev, about resurgent Russia.

Me in this regard is not surprising this particular case with Mr Kosachev. Surprised by the attitude of the people, Russian compatriots, to verify the information — or rather its absence, because information no one bother to check. Although today to check any fact, any words, any name can be for half a minute with the help of the Internet, my generation has been deprived in early years of this luxury. When in the mid 1970s I started to work as a journalist, had to check all the media outlets were check services, which meticulously asked the author: “And from what source did you get this? Can you confirm?”. Had to keep at home and at work a whole collection of dictionaries and reference books, to go to the library, call the help Desk TASS to clarify the Russian equivalent of foreign proper names, etc.

Today young colleagues do not spend a lot of time searching for the correct translations of foreign words, names, titles — the Internet has it all (and almost always free). But they even can’t think of anything to double — check- they think they know, and that’s enough. As in old Soviet joke about Vasily Ivanovich and Petka: his orderly saw the Colonel at the piano — he poked a finger at one and the same key. Petka says: “I was in Moscow, at the Tchaikovsky concert hall, saw the play: they have both hands, all ten fingers running across the keyboard. What are you hammering?” On what Vasily Ivanovich answered: “Well, so did the Jews, the intellectuals! They are looking for, and we know about it!”

Good thing — the confidence typical of young people more than us older. But even she, like everyone in this world should have a reasonable limit. If you are a journalist or, even more, the politician, the statesman, you are on duty to be sure in their correctness and to be guided by what you think you supposedly know, and proven knowledge that often belies your assumptions. Do: learn, enrich their knowledge and, if necessary, change the view — it is useful for brain activity. “Only a fool in his life doesn’t change opinions,” Confucius said two and a half millennia ago. “A wise man seeks the truth, and the fool has already found it” — so formulates the same idea is our contemporary, the French writer and philosopher Bernard werber.

…You know who “executed English king Charles the First” (here and below I quote the Russian TV channels)? Or also executed “the king of France Louis XVI”? Such monarchs in Russian historiography not reported — is, respectively, Carl and Louis. In this video we got from our ancestors who borrowed in the Russian language proper names are mainly using German. Hence the French king Henry instead of Henri and the American Hudson river instead of the Hudson.

The rules of the Russian language instructing them to observe the traditional pronunciation — in the form in which our language once borrowed foreign word, the name. Innovation in this case is taboo, but sometimes with Russian television burst “Hudson”, “Washington”, “FL” and similar neologisms. Sometimes talking as if flaunting his knowledge of the English language, but still often does not think and does not check. Will come as is.

On one of the main Federal TV channels of Russia has recently exposed the tax evasion in the United States (counter-propaganda in connection with the “Panamanian securities”). In America there are only two States with offshore tax concessions — Nevada and Delaware, but in the report I heard a long list of different things (from these data — they know only the authors of the material). As “tax havens” and called new Jersey, which, in contrast, is characterized by an extremely high level of taxation. Then I realized: colleagues-TV men heard the sound, but obviously don’t know where he’s at, a tax haven is the British island of Jersey, one of the Islands of the English channel. By the way, some TV presenters call this Strait “the English channel” (translated carbon copy of the English name — The English Channel).

One of the leading popular Russian television says the person living in California that it will be easy to drive away a girl living in Florida, five hours. Cute, but to fly about five hours in three time zones! Would you even looked at the card, looked somewhere, anywhere when preparing for the transfer. Or not prepared (why, I know everything!)?

Among the Russian-speaking emigrants living abroad, widely distributed is the same apathy that the “mainland”. In one of the “Russian pharmacy” new York, I once offered to soothe the wart of St. John” (St. John’s Wort). So at least said “John”. And “verruca” (wart) has nothing to do with the word that is spelled differently — wort — and means “grass”, “the healing plant”. And in fact, this medical weed in Russian is called St. John’s wort. And to find the correct translation — a matter of minutes. They just don’t need — they already know. That is, you think you know.

What to do — how to stop the transformation of our people into all-knowing know-nothings? I think here the main responsibility lies on those responsible for school education. It is necessary to teach children to learn independently or in collaboration with other students to obtain the necessary data, test and systematize them, to collate different information about a given subject, to identify the main and secondary, to distinguish true information from false, reliable sources from unreliable. While this study is a little dominated by rote learning of what is needed for exams.

And most importantly — let’s still going to leave room for doubt in the correctness. Abandon your favorite Russian sayings: “Wait, right now, I’ll explain everything!”. The truth is much more useful to understand than to speak.

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