Pit Schultz on Fri, 6 Jun 1997 22:56:56 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> ! Luchezar Boyadjiev: Sample Words

Dear nettimers,
I need urgently your co-operation on the following project. Some of you
probably already know it from f2f contact. For such friends - well, now is
the time to...As for any body willing to colaborate fromnow on - it would be
deeply appreciated!
Best to all,

Luchezar B.

Co-operation needed URGENTLY!
Do you know what is "bon marche" in French? Well, they use it when they want
to say - "cheap". But "bon marche" actually means "a good deal" or "not
expensive" ...which is not exactly the same!
Did you know that in French there isn't a word such as "cheap"...? Did you
also know that in Finish there is no grammatical form for the future simple
tense like "I will"? Or that in Bulgarian there is no such word like
"privacy" ? 
All of this must mean something!
These are words that I call "missing words"! And I am looking for more of them! 
I am also looking for the "untranslatable words" and the "longest words" in
each language... I collect such words as part of the project: "SAMPLE WORDS". 
It's a non-profit project! And this is what it's all about:
Have you noticed that when you go to a foreign country the first words you
usually learn are the most obvious ones - "good day", "excuse me", "thank
you"? Then you might learn "water", "bread " and so on...and then some dirty
words like "fuck you" or "arsch-loch". And in the States you, of course,
might learn "motherfucker"... 
      Well, I don't need these words! 
I need the words that you don't usually learn "just like that". For example,
the Dutch word "gezellig" which approximately means "cosy"... but also a lot
more than that... 
               I need the key words for understanding a certain way of life! 
Such as, for example, the Bulgarian words "minavka" and
"neprotivokonstitunzionstvuvatelstvuvaite " which approximately mean 
"a severe let-down" and "do-not-anti-constitutionalize"... but also a lot
more than that...!
I need such words and their short contextual descriptions for a project
which aims to collect and compare the most typical words from each language
spoken in Europe today! If you know such words in your own language(s),
whatever they might be, that are "missing", or are so specific to your way
of life that they are almost "untranslatable" directly with one word, or
have so many letters in them and are so "long" that it is almost impossible
to pronounce them - then, you can help me! I need these words and their
short contextual descriptions in both your language(s) and in English! Your
help and colaboration would be deeply appreciated and aknowledged! Please,
send your words to:

Luchezar Boyadjiev - 8 A, Victor Grigorovitch Str., Apt. 13, Sofia 1606,
tel. + 359 2 52 21 04;  fax: + 359 2 80 37 91
E-mail: luchezb@mail.cyberlink.bg
THANK YOU! Or, as we also say here - "merci"!

"Sample Words. An Investigation into the State of Language Affairs in Europe
Today", 1996/7
Luchezar Boyadjiev

Stage 1: From each local language in Europe (including language minority
groups such as Gypsy, Basque, Catalan, Corsican, etc.) a selection of three
sample words is made by colaborating individuals. Each word must be a
condensed expression of the local context. There should be at least one or
more sample words for each one of the following three categories of words:
	1. Untranslatable words - select an idiomatic word expressing in the most
condensed but the fullest possible way the local mentality, attitudes,
self-evaluation and reflection, tradition, etc. Such a word must not have a
direct one-word translation in any other European language. (See chart for
such a word in Bulgarian).
	2. Longest words - select the longest word in the local language. Such a
word might be a composite one and/or have no actual use in the speech but
still exist as a curiosity. (See chart for such word in Bulgarian). 
	3. Missing words - select a concept without a local word, or a word in any
other language which you miss in your own language. (Please, refer also to
Stage 3). For instance in Bulgarian language there is no single equivalent
word to the English word "privacy". 

Stage 2: Give a short contextual description in the local language to each
one of the selected sample words. The group of "missing words" exists only
as contextual descriptions.

Stage 3: Translate all your sample words into both English and Sanskrit
(optional) as the "newest" and the "oldest" common language denominators for
the European languages. These translations should be attempted as direct
one-word equivalents (eventhough approximate) and short contextual
descriptions depending on the translatability of each word.
In the group of the "missing words" a selection should be made of: a/ one
missing English word for each local language which demonstrates a lack; b/
one single Sanskrit word (optional) which is missing in all European
languages (hopefully such a word will be identified by the collaborating
language experts). This word is then translated into both local and English
languages through reversed contextual description. 

Stage 4: The selected sample words, translations, descriptions, etc. are put
into specially designed charts. The filled-out charts are collected,
exchanged, etc. via the internet until a full documentation of European
sample words is available. 

Stage 5: The information thus collected is subjected to comparative
analysis, interpretation or just informal reading with the aim of
establishing a relatively objective, mutually reciprocal language "picture"
of  Europe where each language (culture) would be given equal status and
equal chance to speak for itself.
Each sample word(s) from a particular language will carry an indication as
to who exactly the source of the word is so that the source could be
contacted directly or "sources" could comunicate directly between themselves.

Required assistance and collaboration: This investigation needs a group of
collaborating individuals, artists, curators, language experts, etc.
interested persons from each European country. The selection of sample words
from each local language, as well as, their contextual descriptions in the
local language and contextual English translations should be made by the
collaborating individuals in the most informal manner. The translations into
Sanscrit (from English), the selection of the single missing Sanskrit word
and its translation into both English and the local languages are given to
collaborating language experts. 

Public availability: The comparative analysis is conducted by all kinds of
collaborating and/or interested experts and individuals on the basis of the
collected information which is made available through the means of the
internet (a specialy designed website) and/or public display of the charts. 
The public display of the collected information (printed on charts) will
take the form of: 1/ a book or operational "manual"; 2/ an installation in
which the charts are arranged as a tree with branches (much in the way
genealogical trees are arranged).
The process of interpretation of the collected data might be long and difficult.

CHART #1 - Bulgarian words; source: Luchezar Boyadjiev

A/ Untranslatable word: "minavka" (approximate translation - LET DOWN). 
	1/ Local language - "minavka" - opisatelna duma za osnovnata grizha, strah
i tzel na bulgarina - da ne se mine. 
	2/ English language - "let down"; contextual description - a descriptive
word for the main fear, concern and goal of a Bulgarian person - "da ne se
mine" ("not to suffer a let down"). Roughly interpreted the word means: a/
to realize afterwards that you (I) have failed to make a more beneficial
choice for yourself (not necessarily the best possible one...); b/ to have
missed-out on some opportunities due to inadequate judgement of the
situation; c/ to have missed-out on something usualy of pragmatic nature; d/
the word "minavka" is a mental realization and an expression of deep
frustration because of the effects and the practical results of one's
actions especially when compared with the actions of the "next fellow
Bulgarian" and his/her choices, etc. taken to more beneficial results, under
similar circumstances and/or available options; e/ the curse of the constant
pesimistic anticipation of such results.
	The ultimate "minavka" is (for some) to have been born a Bulgarian.
	3/ Snscrit language - ...???...

B/ Longest word: "neprotivokonstituzionstvuvatelstvuvaite".
(approximate translation - DONOTANTICONSTITUTIONALIZE). 
	1/ Local language - "neprotivokonstituzionstvuvatelstvuvaite" - sustavna
duma, koiato ne se izpolzva chesto, no koiato izraziava ironichno otnoshenie
kum instituziite na vlastta. 
	2/ English language - "donotanticonstitutionalize"; contextual description
- a composite word of ironic substance and of the nature of the trivial and
generalized slogans of Socialism.The word "urges" you not to do anything
against the constitution of the country in the same way the signs of the
type "do not trespass" or "do not step on the grass", etc. urge you not to
do something. The word is an ironic coment and expression, a vulgarization
and a literalization (comming from the time of totalitarian Socialism in
Bulgaria) of the fact that either one has no actual constitutional rights,
or that everything is part of or could be a totalizing system of
prohibitions (discipline). The word is a form of resistance against the
institutions of power.
	3/ Sanscrit language - ...???...

C/ Missing word: a/ English - "PRIVACY"; b/ Sanscrit - ...???...
	a/ "PRIVACY" - 1/ English - the quality or state of being apart from
others; secrecy 
("Webster's", 1971, p. 395).
			2/ Bulgarian - lichno prostranstvo, lichna neprikosnovenost, pravo na
lichnostnost, na samolichnost i t.n., kachestvoto ili sustoianieto na
otdelenost ot drugite, ot kolektiva.
			3/ Sanscrit - ...???...
	b/ "...???..." 	- 1/ Sanscrit - ......
			  2/ English - ......
			  3/ Bulgarian - ...... 
Sofia, May 1997						Luchezar Boyadjiev

		-   end   -

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