Friday, June 20, 2008

Armenian translation needed.

I was wondering what the Armenian word for 'corruption' is. The Armenian language has a word for bribery which is Կաշառակերություն. But bribery is only a part of what corruption is.

Does the word Փչացածություն describe what corruption means?


Anonymous said...

that's the word i use.

me said...

Henc korupcia el asum en. It might not be too "grakan" but that's what the newspapers use.

spm said...

այլասերված. ... English Translation: այլասերված ... Armenian, այլասերված, degenerate, degenerative, graceless, perverse. ...

I think it is the closest word, which actually does not refelct the meaning of corrupt/corruption. I general I argue that one of the problems of modern Armenian is that it lags behind in absorbing and digesting new words in rapidly evolving world of globalization. Academics lazily translate and make up words that are not used by the people and it only deepens the problem. Corruption is already being used by people and even formal media. Let us not invent artificial word to replace it.

Anonymous said...

As a linguist I have not once tried to find a proper equivalent for the word. Corruption is bribary+immorality+stagnation. Considering the fact that the translated version will only be a clumsy Armenian artificial equivalent of the word, I suggest giving up this idea. Corruption is corruption. That's all. And we know quite well what it is.

nazarian said...

OK. Then where do you adopt the word from? Russian, English or some other language?

I think the word Կոռումպացված is an adaptation from Russian. The word Կոռուպցիա is an adopted Russian word. I don't think there is anything wrong with adopting or adapting words from Russian. The issue may be that the Russians adopt words from English so that way you basically get second hand words.

Another point to remember that well crafted words in Armenian can be successful. Words such as Սառնարան or Հեռուստացույց were seldom used in everyday conversations before the independence but with a little bit of promotion and an effort to cleanse the language, they have become quite accepted by the general population.

spm said...

Սառնարան or Հեռուստացույց are good examples. I also like very much համակարգիչ instead of computer, although it is not widely used. Actually in Spanish it is "ordenador", which reflects better what modern computers do. However my claim that new words appear much faster than the equivalents in Armenian are produced is still very valid, and advocating "purity" does not help the language develop dynamically.

There are also cases, when the exact translation exists in Armenian and is being used generally. But for some reason certain situations demand a new definition and a new word is required. For example the word պատահար. It is usually good for any occasion except for traffic accident. In Armenia most people would say "avarya", in the USA commonly used word is "asidan" to distinguish it immediately from say spilling coffee on new pants. If "taxi" is accepted so should be "marshrutka", because it would be impossible to force people to use 2 worded "ertuxain taxi" in a conversation for purity reasons.

nazarian said...

Ճանապարհատրանսպորտային պատահար - that's the word for a traffic accident. I prefer the word ավարիա if these are the only choices.

But I agree with you. Trying to keep the language pure has resulted in an outdated language which sometimes I gripe about among close associates and friends. That said, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to come up with the Armenian equivalents.

Anonymous said...

I will give you an explanation of the origin of the word but please stop this discussion as I am afraid you are giving a hint to the Armenologists to invent another absurd word like “teslakan”, which I guess is prospect or perspective or something like that. Borrowing words from other languages is a quite natural process, there exists a big layer of loan words in all the languages and it in no way deteriorates the language. The unhappy equivalents do a lot more harm while borrowing ( to a certain extent) is a positive development in any language.
Corruptela is a Latin word meaning decay, deceit and bribery. The Latin figurative meaning indicates to a seducer. This last meaning is not actual for the modern English corruption.
So, if the English has borrowed the word from Latin, and many other languages have borrowed it from either English or Latin, why can’t we, representatives of a minor language borrow it from English. It’s quite normal.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

The problem with "corruption," in the sense that you are using it, is that it is used metaphorically. There are a number of Armenian words that are literal equivalents of the word, but they do not carry the metaphorical meaning. That's why coming up with a translation is a problem.

I think the clearest translation would be a simple definition of what corruption is. It would be a little longer, but clarity is more important than length.

Having said all that, Armenian does have quite an extensive vocabulary. Much of it, unfortunately, has not (yet) made it into mainstream Armenian. I would venture to guess that buried in old tomes somewhere is the exact Armenian equivalent of the word corruption.

My particular gripe with Armenian is the changes made to the orthography in the 30s, in order to make the language simpler. It was Orwellian, totally uncalled for, and led to the loss of a host of rich etymological associations that many Armenian words had. Charentz had a hand in it, and I'm forever pissed at him for it. Bad, bad move.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is an urgent need to translate the word "corruption" into Armenian right now. In any language new words are coined or created or borrowed only when there is a need for it. Unfortunately in Armenia the concept of "corruption" is still very foreign to the majority of population. If you do a simple survey anywhere in Armenia you will notice that people think corruption and bribery are absolute synonyms. 95 out of 100 people will say they are the same thing. This means that either the concept of "corruption" is still foreign to this nation, or Armenians who live in Armenia don't want to accept for some reason that corruption exists. There is no reason to rush to create a word for "corruption". As long as the society does not fully comprehend (or does not want to comprehend) the meaning of corruption second-hand borrowings are also okay to use.

I fully agree with armen filadelfiatsi that a larger problem for the Armenian language is the soviet orthography, which has mutilated the logic of Armenian word formation and language development. It was Abeghyan who started the destruction and the soviets continued it with illogical language reforms. The sooner we get rid of this artificial abeghyana-soviet orthography, the sooner Armenian will re-gain it's flexibility and ability to create it's own words that match current realities.

nazarian said...

It looks like there is a need to educate people what corruption is rather than coining a new term for it. It's possible that corruption is so deep rooted in the society that they are not aware of its existence.

But, on the other hand, a clear word that conveys the meaning of corruption as soon as you hear it can go a long way in education the average person.

Mariam said...

Every taxi driver understands "կոռուպցիա", while "corruption" sounds like a foreign word to him :) I guess we will have to do with a second-hand borrowed-from-Russian word for now, until a better one pops up naturally (not introduced by dusty bookworms!)

Of the "introduced" words my favorite was and remains "հատակա-անկյունային տախտակափայտ" for plinth, which is of course a joke - the real Armenian word for it is "շրիշակ", and most laborers call it "plenduz" anyway :)