Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Economies. I have used this word in the piece on the best costs-saving projects in 2011 in the sense of "savings". It's possible to use this word in singular form as well, and then it means "a
savings-based approach". Savings in connection with costs are of course financial, but "economy" can be applied to other things as well. Someone who practices "economy with words" is a silent type
of person, and somebody who applies "economy of effort" is a lazy so-and-so.
Note that this use of the word economy without "the" means "šetrnosť", so it's different from "the economy" (as in "národné hospodárstvo"), although both meanings are linked to the original Greek
idea of efficient household management. To minimize confusion in government then, "Ministerstvo hospodárstva" should not be called the Ministry for Economy OR for the Economy in English, but the
Ministry (or Department) for Trade and Industry.
Continuing with my survey of red-letter days in the year (because they are printed in red in the calendar), this week I'm focusing on Ash Wednesday, which came up last week. It's the first day of
Lent (Pôst), and the ash (popol) is a symbolic reminder of the humility (pokora) which people should probably feel in relation to God all year round, and which Christians focus on during the forty
days leading up to Easter (Veľká noc), the time which Jesus spent fasting ("postenie sa") in the desert.
I always thought the name "Lent" was related to "lean" ("pôstne") as in "lean meat", because it is a period when food should be lean, but in fact it comes from the same origin as the German word
"Lenz", which means "spring" ("jar"), and both these words are linked with the idea of "length", because spring is the time when the days lengthen, i.e. get longer.
Remember, if you have questions about English usage, you can send them any time to email@example.com. AB