The question this week is a literary one, because it concerns the translation of the title of the novel by Irving Stone about Vincent van Gogh, "Lust For Life", which was published in Slovak as
"Smäd po živote". I expect everybody knows about "freedom of translation" from the way film titles are often treated. The distribution company decides that the film will be more successful with
Slovak audiences with a different title, and I suspect that the publishers of the Slovak version of Stone's book did the same, because "smäd" literally means "thirst", whereas "lust" has sexual
overtones, "túžba" in the sense of "žiadostivosť" or "chtivosť" linked with "zmyselnosť". The English title uses alliteration (L closely followed by L) for effect, whereas the Slovak title aims to
give the same idea in more polite form. Please send questions about English language habits to email@example.com, and I will choose one to answer each week.
Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Economy. This is an example of how an English word can change its meaning depending on the words which come before it (showing once again how important it is to learn combinations of words in a
foreign language). If someone says "the economy", they probably mean "národné hospodárstvo", but if they say "economy" without "the", then they mean "úspornosť", and this form of the word can be
used in the plural as well, like when someone says: "We need to make even greater economies." The expression "economies of scale" means that as a company gets bigger, it can save money by
negotiating better prices for larger orders (showing once again that you have to be rich if you want to save money). Students do courses in economics at the University of Economics, some of which
should involve studying "the economy". The university is not "economical", however, because that means "úsporná".