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Foreign sympathizer

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Topic: 4) Foreign sympathizer (1 of 5), Read 82 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Thursday, June 03, 1999 07:16 AM

Alex Ricciuti, of Zurich, Switzerland, writes: "There are many words in the
often richer languages of French and Italian, and sometimes even German,
which have no English equivalent. In fact, some of my European friends
wonder at how the English language can have so many different words for essentially one thing (for example, 'regent,' 'regal,' 'royal,' etc.), and yet lack a word entirely for others. But the one that continues to lack the most with me, as I often find myself searching for this word, is what is 'simpatico' in Italian, or 'sympathisch' in German. It seems so fundamental, so basic, and yet it is so absent in English. 'Likable' doesn't seem to fit -- it's too abrupt -- and certainly 'unlikable' is too strong and awkward for the succinctness of 'antipatico' or 'unsympathisch.'"

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Topic: 4) Foreign sympathizer (2 of 5), Read 79 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Thursday, June 03, 1999 07:32 AM

My guess is that Alex has discoverd "babelfish" which was mentioned in an AU article not long ago. Automatic translators (and even translation dictionaries) don't always give the best words. Here's a couple of English words of Latin origin that he might not be aware of.


(Note that modern English was formed from both Germanic and Latin roots, (and then some - lots of contributions from The Americans for example) and is the richest language in the world.)


sympathetic adjective
Etymology: New Latin sympatheticus, from Latin sympathia sympathy

1 : existing or operating through an affinity, interdependence, or mutual association
2 a : not discordant or antagonistic b : appropriate to one's mood, inclinations, or disposition c : marked by kindly or pleased appreciation
3 : given to, marked by, or arising from sympathy, compassion, friendliness, and sensitivity to others' emotions [a sympathetic gesture]
4 : favorably inclined : APPROVING [not sympathetic to the idea]
5 a : showing empathy b : arousing sympathy or compassion [a sympathetic role in the play]
6 a : of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system b : mediated by or acting on the sympathetic nerves
7 : relating to musical tones produced by sympathetic vibration or to strings so tuned as to sound by sympathetic vibration
- sym…pa…thet…i…cal…ly /-ti-k(&-)lE/ adverb


empathetic adjective

from empathy noun
Etymology: Greek empatheia, literally, passion, from empathEs emotional, from em- + pathos feelings, emotion -- more at PATHOS

1 : the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
2 : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this

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Topic: 4) Foreign sympathizer (3 of 5), Read 60 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Seymore Wylie (joscyn@hotmail.com)
Date: Friday, June 04, 1999 07:43 AM

Wouldn't 'sympatico'/'sympathique' best be translated as 'agreeable' when describing a person? I agree 'likeable' &c miss the point somewhat.
Seymore
London

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Topic: 4) Foreign sympathizer (4 of 5), Read 58 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Chris Tozier (crtozier@facstaff.wisc.edu)
Date: Friday, June 04, 1999 08:59 AM

I have heard others and have myself used the word sympatico in conversation and no one blinked an eye. It seems that we do have a word that fits your description, sympatico itself. The English language is very good at absorbing words from other languages that it needs.

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Topic: 4) Foreign sympathizer (5 of 5), Read 42 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Mark Williams (sugarwolfe@yahoo.com)
Date: Tuesday, June 08, 1999 07:56 AM

One small note, "simpatico" in Spanish or Italian with its Latin and Greek roots is a personal adjective, while the German "sympathisch" and French "sympathique" can also apply to places and things (see the Oxford Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases, 1997 edition). This divergence leads to a linguistic polymorphism where the latter terms have different meanings according to the situation.

Surely a person may be sympathetic, congenial or like-minded; however, a place lacks these qualities. A place or thing may be to one's tastes or suitable, but applying these traits to a person reduces them to the level of a thing.

English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and most other languages share a common trait that confounds outsiders: Context is everything!


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