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Pridané: 19.02.2020
Autor: Andy BILLINGHAM
Kategória: 04/2020

Andy’s Wordshop

Secretary, continued. If we look at government terminology, we find a similarity in usage between the USA and the UK which makes them quite different from Slovakia. It is that Secretary in the USA and the UK means the equivalent of Minister in Slovakia. So the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab are the equivalent of the SR Minister for Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajčák. The title Minister is still used in the UK, but you have to check if it means Secretary of State or a lower ministerial position, and in the USA this title is hardly used at all when referring to the government. Finally, the question remains: how to translate štátny tajomník? To keep it different from US and UK usage, I suggest State Secretary at the Ministry for (e.g. Trade and Industry).

Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI

Secretary. Here's another example of an English word with at least two translations in Slovak. The first one, the original one, is tajomník, which is what you call a calque (say /kalk/), taken from the French for tracing paper (pauzák), because the idea of secret (tajomné) “shows through” in the two different languages. The second translation, sekretárka, is more modern, because (I guess) it has “come back” into Slovak from English, similar to manažér.  As usual when there are two words in Slovak, one with Slavik origin and the other derived from Latin and/or reabsorbed from English, there's a significant difference between their meaning and usage. In this case I'd say the difference is one of hierarchy, with tajomník or tajomníčka suggesting higher status than sekretárka.

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