Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
I don't speak Russian, and I don't have a profound understanding of the Russian language, but I would like someone who does, to explain to me how you can accurately translate an adjective by a noun.

sran gospodnaya is the original phrase. The generally-presented translation is "God's shit", which appears, on its face, to refer to faecal matter excreted by Jehovah.

I understand that the Russian formulation is rather more ambiguous : more accurately, something like "faecal matter emanating from/pertaining to Jehovah".

In which case, and given the context of the phrase in the protest song, which is about Putin and the Patriarch using the Church for political ends, I suggest that the intent is better translated by "Holy bullshit", "Godly crap", "Pseudo-theological nonsense". A purely scatological reading just doesn't make sense in the context (and if anyone wants to proclaim that the whole text is nothing but scatological nonsense, I challenge them to review it line by line with me).

Now, I am happy to admit that the use of profanities may have a much greater impact in the Russian language; and this is probably why this particular phrase has been so gleefully seized upon. But I find its use defensible in the context, and I don't find that it insults God, or religious sensibilities, at all. On the other hand, it is very insulting against the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. It will be perceived as an insult against God and against religion by those who are unable or unwilling to make the distinction between the institution and the thing itself.

The manifest intent of the prosecution to identify this political figure, the Patriarch with God is an indication, to my eyes, that PR's attack is well-founded.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 3rd, 2012 at 07:54:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how you can accurately translate an adjective by a noun

I think you should think of the ending -aya as -ly in English (which also turns a noun into an adjective).

So Gospodnaya = Godly = God's (in the sense of "of or pertaining to").

But seriously, what does this have to do with anything?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 3rd, 2012 at 08:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is that both vbo and Sargon focused on this line as the part that most insulted religious sentiment.

It seems obvious to me that there is a world of difference between "God's shit" (which can be construed as an insult to God, and therefore to all believers) and "Godly bullshit", which, in context, is an insult against the Patriarch.

And also... vbo invited a discussion of the phrase.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 3rd, 2012 at 10:00:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that Gospodnaya ("Godly") is also in the name of the "Lord's Prayer".

So, syntactically it may mean "godly bulshit". Semantically, it recalls "the Lord's shit". [Which is part of the reason why you can accurately translate an adjective by a noun - grammar doesn't follow function, especially across languages]

And sinc neither of us are native Slavic speakers or Orthodox faithful... we might want to defer to their judgement.

Also, considering English routinely "verbs nouns" and "nouns verbs", why are you, an English speaker, so shocked that adjectives can be translated as nouns and conversely, in particular semantic/syntactic contexts? And haven't you heard of apposition? (The use of a noun in an adjective function - as in the use of the noun adjective in an adjective function in the expression an adjective function as opposed to an adjectival function or an adjective's function)

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 3rd, 2012 at 10:43:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series