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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

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tarvos
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 Message 1057 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 3:26pm | IP Logged 
Josquin wrote:
What about English nicknames
like Johnny, Betty, Freddy etc. and words
like horsey, doggy, etc.? It's not like the
concept were totally alien to English.


It isn't. However if you use it like that
in English you really do sound like you're
talking to a young child. I would never say
"horsey" unless I was five years old and on a
farm, or as a way of addressing a dog or
something "good boy". It's not, by a long
shot,
as ingrained in English as it is in Dutch or
German. The way Russian uses it is entirely
alien to English.

Also Johnny, Betty and Freddy sounds like USA
children from the 50s to me.

Edited by tarvos on 13 January 2014 at 7:38pm

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Josquin
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 Message 1058 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 3:35pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
It isn't. However if you use it like that in English you really do sound like you're talking to a young child. I would never say "horsey" unless I was five year old and on a farm, or as a way of addressing a dog or something "good boy". It's not, by a long shot, as ingrained in English as it is in Dutch or German. The way Russian uses it is entirely alien to English.

Yeah, anyway, it might be easier for native English speakers to have a look at their own language than at Dutch. Although the phenomenon isn't the same, it can serve as some sort of mental "crutch".

Quote:
Also Johnny, Betty and Freddy sounds like USA children from the 50s to me.

How interesting... Doesn't invalidate my point though.
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tarvos
Super Polyglot
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Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1059 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 3:41pm | IP Logged 
Josquin wrote:
tarvos wrote:
It isn't. However if you use it like that in English
you really do sound like you're talking to a young child. I would never say "horsey"
unless I was five year old and on a farm, or as a way of addressing a dog or something
"good boy". It's not, by a long shot, as ingrained in English as it is in Dutch or
German. The way Russian uses it is entirely alien to English.

Yeah, anyway, it might be easier for native English speakers to have a look at their
own language than at Dutch. Although the phenomenon isn't the same, it can serve as
some sort of mental "crutch".


The point wasn't to look at Dutch. The point was to look inside any language for a
crutch, and use it to understand a related phenomenon. If you want to use English,
that's fine - I wouldn't in this case because the way it is used in Dutch more
strikingly resembles the use in Russian than the way English does.

Quote:
Also Johnny, Betty and Freddy sounds like USA children from the 50s to me.

How interesting... Doesn't invalidate my point though.[/QUOTE]

It isn't invalid.
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Josquin
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 Message 1060 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 4:02pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
The point wasn't to look at Dutch. The point was to look inside any language for a crutch, and use it to understand a related phenomenon. If you want to use English, that's fine - I wouldn't in this case because the way it is used in Dutch more strikingly resembles the use in Russian than the way English does.

As long as we're talking diminutives, you're certainly right. English doesn't really have them except the occasional -y. But when we're talking names, English abounds in (traditional) nicknames: Jimmy, Dicky, Johnny, Lenny, Betty, Peggy, Susie, Andy, Danny, Mickey, Freddy, Barney, Teddy etc. The fact that these names aren't really used any more, because children are called Zoey, Chloe or Leon nowadays doesn't mean they don't exist.
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Evita
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 Message 1061 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
The diminutives are used in Latvian a lot, too, but not as nicknames for people. We can turn practically every noun into a diminutive form and it usually makes the noun small. For example:

galds - a normal table
galdiņš - a small table

The same principle applies to people's names. For example, the diminutive form of my name is "Evitiņa" but hardly anyone calls me that these days, maybe only my grandma and other close family members (but still rarely). Usually these diminutive names are reserved for children up to 2 years old. As soon as they start kindergarten, they get get called mostly by their real names.
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tarvos
Super Polyglot
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 1062 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 5:20pm | IP Logged 
Josquin wrote:
tarvos wrote:
The point wasn't to look at Dutch. The point was to
look inside any language for a crutch, and use it to understand a related phenomenon.
If you want to use English, that's fine - I wouldn't in this case because the way it is
used in Dutch more strikingly resembles the use in Russian than the way English does.

As long as we're talking diminutives, you're certainly right. English doesn't really
have them except the occasional -y. But when we're talking names, English abounds in
(traditional) nicknames: Jimmy, Dicky, Johnny, Lenny, Betty, Peggy, Susie, Andy, Danny,
Mickey, Freddy, Barney, Teddy etc. The fact that these names aren't really used any
more, because children are called Zoey, Chloe or Leon nowadays doesn't mean they don't
exist.


They exist, but they're out of fashion. I never said they didn't exist, but it's
just... not as common and they are also definitely not used like in Russian.
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Chung
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 Message 1063 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 6:36pm | IP Logged 
I agree with tarvos. Diminutives in English aren't as common as in Slavonic languages and when they do appear they're most often found with personal names. The sociolinguistic comments on their use are also true, and do limit application (or at least can leave a negative sentiment on the audience). In general diminutives for me signal positive sentiment (genuine or contrived) or an attempt to couch the subject in a positive light, but also disparagement in at least one case.

When I encounter those who as a rule go by dimunitive names ending in -y or -ie, I usually get the impression that I'm dealing with a child, or an adult who simply likes to be addressed as such (nothing wrong with that per se), or occasionally is trying to pass him/herself off as innocent, playful, with good intentions or uncynical (bloody poseur). I'd typically address an adult in English with such a diminutive only if he/she insists on it or to signal genuine affection to someone very close to me under certain conditions in private.

Off the top of my head, I remember how people who viruently disagreed or disliked George Bush Jr. referred to him or his family or his supporters as a Bushie (rather than say a "Bushite" or "Bushista"). It also worked well on this level for his opponents and leftists since it's a homonym for "bushy" which conjures a sense of being slovenly or unkempt on the analogy of untamed growth in the forest or just an area full of bushes.

I also note that some people suffering from Asperger's syndrome highly dislike the term "Aspie" with the diminutive being perceived as a pejorative masquerading as a superficially friendly term.

On a related note, I hate the word "selfie". Trying to pass off narcissism as something innocent or inoffensive via a diminutive neologism grinds my gears as a curmudgeonly bastard who came of age before the internet, cellphone cameras, Myspace, Facebook and Instagram.

On the other hand, the use of dimuntives in Slavonic languages is wider and extends to nouns quite often without a hint of being saccharine or contrived (by chance I very recently did some exercises in my Polish textbook on forming diminutives). For example one of my Czech friends refers to her car as moje autičko rather than moje auto partially because it is small, but also because it still runs well despite its age. She genuinely values it. On the other hand, it'd be very unusual or jarring to my English wiring if any of my friends referred to his/her car as "my carie" or a long-standing appliance as "the washing-machinette" or "the toaster ovenie". However, there are limits to this outside English. For example, one of my Polish friends is named Małgorzata (Margaret) but usually goes by Gosia (~ "Maggie", "Gretel"). However, she has a bit of a problem being called Gocha. In Polish, diminutives with -cha seem more likely overall to be perceived as condescending than diminutives ending in other suffixes.

For related information, here's a set of lists with nicknames/diminutives/hypocorisms in several languages.

P.S. In a similar way to "selfie", I also do a slow burn and feel as if I lose 10 IQ points every time I encounter the terms "bestie" or "veggie" being used by adults. *blech*

Edited by Chung on 14 January 2014 at 12:35am

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Josquin
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 Message 1064 of 1511
13 January 2014 at 9:57pm | IP Logged 
I just tried to show similarities between English and Russian, I didn't mean to say it was exactly the same phenomenon.

Anyhow, maybe my German affects my perception, because German is (just as Dutch) right in between. We do have diminutives although we don't use them as eccessively as Russians do. Saying "mein Autochen" when referring affectionately to one's car wouldn't be unusual for a German. Also, I always call my colleague "Uli" instead of "Ulrike" and I have a friend who's known as "Olli" and not "Oliver" to everyone.

To my mind, it's evident that calling people "Ted(dy)" instead of "Theodore" or "Bill(y)" instead of "William" is basically the same thing as calling someone Володя instead of Владимир, although there may be different connotations and pragmatics.

Native English speakers may obviously see this differently.

Edited by Josquin on 13 January 2014 at 10:03pm



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