Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interesting choice of words

Found this article in a Russian paper:
Известная российская актриса выходит замуж за подругу

В то время как в РФ пока не готовы принять однополые браки, российские пары с нетрадиционной сексуальной ориентацией стараются узаконить свои отношения за границей.

Famous Russian actress is marrying her girlfriend

While the Russian Federation is still not ready to accept same-sex marriages, Russian couples with nontraditional sexual orientation strive to legalize their relationships abroad.

What caught my eye was the актриса выходит замуж за подругу. Because it's not just "is marrying".

Ordinarily Russian has two ways to say "get married", and which one you use depends on the gender of the subject. Выйти замуж is for women - it literally means "go out to behind a husband". For men, you say жениться, which is "to get wived (wifed?)". (There are of course some more generic ways to put it, which aren't often used: идти под венец, to go under a wreathe (from the custom of a bridal wreath); венчаться, which is literally 'to be wreathed'; сочетаться браком, to combine by marriage; and соединяться, to unite - while these can be (though rarely) used intransitively - 'they got married' - they are particularly used in the transitive sense; there's no "he married her - I mean, performed her marriage" confusion in Russian. The first couple of these are quite poetic, the third quite formal, and the last one has about the same register as the English translation. In other words, you don't see any of them very often (although из-под венца, out from under the wreath is used quite a lot, either for genuine backing out of marriage and/or stealing the bride from the altar, or - more often than we would use the same metaphor - for snatching something away at the last minute (I remember seeing an article which said that Barcelona had led its fans to believe their signing David Beckham was a done deal and Тут-то "Реал" и кинул своим "заклятым друзьям" подлянку, увел невесту прямо из-под венца (just at that moment Real played a dirty trick on their "frenemies" and stole the bride right from the altar).)

So it struck me odd that they used the выйти замуж construction here. I would have gone for актриса женится с подругой, the actress is taking her girlfriend to wife - if I hadn't said актриса и подруга сочетаются браком (the actress and her girlfriend are uniting in matrimony), which seems the neutral choice used by a lot of the media - and not just for gays, by the way; in any context where both members of the couple are famous or getting equal billing.

This wording reads like "the actress is taking her girlfriend as a husband". I get that "she is taking a wife" would also sound odd to Russians, but surely "taking her girlfriend as a wife" sounds less weird?

(Of course, I'm sure the weirdness was desired.)

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At 9:15 PM, September 11, 2013 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Would you believe me if I told you I remembered this Shakespeare line?

"I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua"
The Taming of the Shrew (I, ii, 75-76)
http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/come-wive-wealthily-padua (inter alia)

OK, didn't think so ;-) However, I DID recall this from the musical spinoff, "Kiss Me Kate":

PETRUCHIO: I've come to wive it wealthily in Padua,
If wealthily then happily in Padua.
If my wife has a bag of gold,
Do I care if the bag be old?
I've come to wive it wealthily in Padua.

ENSEMBLE: He's come to wive it wealthily in Padua...

(Checked both online, to cover my backside)

At 12:55 PM, September 12, 2013 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

The Portuguese for "to marry" is a gender-neutral reflexive verb, "casar-se com" -- "to marry oneself with [someone]." Obviously "casar" derives from "casa" (home), so to marry literally means to set up a household with someone.

At 10:49 PM, September 12, 2013 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

If you think that translation leaves something to be desired, check out some of these howlers:

At 9:18 PM, September 13, 2013 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Of course I believe you. I remember them both, myself. "Brush up your Shakespeare, start quoting him now" and "If the Gable boat means a sable coat (I know) Anchors Aweigh!"


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