A putea, putere

Friday, 26 September, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

The title consists of a Romanian verb and its participle. It has no direct equivalent in English, but exploring its changes form and the changes of meaning they reflect will make for excellent introduction into the value and virtues of a flexional language, something English speakers (a sad pigdin slowly turning analytic) would be unfamiliar with. Let's then begin!

Eu pot. Ist singular present indicative, canonically translated to English as "I can".
i putea. Ist singular conditional-optativeii, cannonically translated to English as "I could".

So far so good, right ? It's Romanian for to can, could. Except :

Eu puteam. Ist singular imperfect indicative, "I used to be able to". There's a difference between "could" and "being able", isn't there ? Sure, readily trampled, but could is either factual or statutory, whereas ability is strictly factual. You're able to do all the things you could, but you couldn't do all the things you're able to. Such as for instance, you're able to trample a newborn baby underfoot, but could you ?

Se poate ? IIIrd singular conjunctive, "Is it possible ?", with a twinge of "What are you doing man, that's just not done!" depending on context. The canonical translation of the English "anything is possible" would be... "orice se poate", but it also means "anything goes". Which it should, because a good language helps the idiots think, and the fact that English doesn't have these convenient markings to support the frail intellect even as it speaks is perhaps in no small part a cause for the current US anomie.

Au putut. IInd plural "composed past", "They managed", "were capable to" etc. Like in Inaintasii au putut sa construiasca o tara si voi nu sunteti in stare s-o vindeti., The forebearers managed to build a country you're not even capable of selling.

Putere, past participle. Power. Quite!

Putinţ iiiăiv, the other past participle. Ability, capacity, often used to denote sexual potency. O look at that, English also distinguishes power and potency, it just doesn't realise they're forms of the same root, nor does it anymore have the tools to create such forms off a root.

Because you know, Latin was too hard for the poor babies, and it kept the spooks of the timev from the social mainstream, reserving prëminence in society for just some kids. And so it went the way of the diaeresis, because god forbid naive notions of equality be contradicted by reality, and so that old set of spooks counts as white now, and there's a new set of spooks that have problems with the lower bar. Which will be of course accommodated too, because once you start down the slope you can never come to a stop againvi, and so English will soon enough be just about fit to speak to the more intelligent of dogs.

Despot That obviously exists in English too, but here's something funny : "He often says I can" translates as you'd expect to "El spune des pot". So there you have it, when people do that damaging, vile and offensive "try and figure what things mean in context" they're not thinking of a puny creole. They're thinking of a fully featured, European (which motherfucking means white) language, that's flexible and capable and empowering. English used to pretend it's there, but that pretense had to be given up once its colonies became successful, because you can't have a language be powerful jure uxoris.

And of course, last but not least, Putoare, ie, stench. So there have it : capacity, ability, authority and bad smells, all wrapped into one package, coming out depending on the buttons you push through the use of context. That's what a true language is : one where every single word is a motherfucking Swiss knife, with a bunch of tools included, one where sentences aren't a collection of beads on a string, but a relationship between the current forms of linguistic essences.

To best understand the difference, English sentences are like a marriage between an old guy and a banging hottie, the "ships crossing in the night" thing. Her current form is rubbing (mostly in one spot) with his current form and that's all. She can readily be replaced, or replace him, with nary a difference. Romanian sentences meanwhile are like the marriage English speakers idealise (and Romanians do not, guess why ?), where the marriage is not the current contact between two bodies, but the extended contact between two minds, that'll see the change in forms over time.

This is no small matter, and your ignorance of it does not in any way make it not matter.

  1. Special character denoting the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative /ɕɕ/, in Russian щ, in English sh. []
  2. Romanians have no fucking clue about grammar, so instead of using the proper words they invented some. It's a sad practice I already lambasted them for, []
  3. Special character denoting the voiceless dental sibilant affricate /t͡s/, the harder version of the Russian ц, in English ts such as in cats. Or zz in pizza. []
  4. Special character denoting a mid central vowel, /ə/. []
  5. Mostly the Irish, and the cockney, and the Welsh, and so on. []
  6. Oxford recently stopped teaching Latin altogehter, as part of that general "progress" of the corpse towards soil nutrients. It was a good move, however, on practical grounds, by the new millennium the "Latin" they were teaching was so bad anyway, and the alleged young replacements for the old professors so horribru that it's better off dead than tortured. []
Category: Cuvinte Sfiinte
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2 Responses

  1. iii. ц

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 26 September 2014

    O yeah my bad.

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