Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Function. This word fits well within the tradition of tricky words, because the meaning it looks like it should have due to its apparent similarity with the word "funkcia" as used in Slovak is the
one which is least used in English. I mean the sense of "funkcia" associated with somebody's professional or organizational rank, where better words in English are "position" or "post". You might
say for example: He brought shame and ignominy to the position of Chairman. It used to be polite in English to talk about Communist "apparatchiks" as party functionaries. It's more common to use
"function" in the sense of "big, formal celebration", which hotels have function rooms to cater for. Then there's the mathematical sense of function, where y as a function of log x produces a line
(curve) on a graph.
"Hats off!" to Peter Marcin, I say, who started his Saturday evening chat show on December 6 - St.Nicholas' Day - by presenting the proper historical background of "Mikuláš" and rejecting the
"white-bearded fat man from the cola trucks" as an unnecessary Western import. There seem to be more and more attempts to substitute imported ideas for things which have long and strong traditions
here in Slovakia, which are being devalued as a consequence. My wife went ballistic (jumped out of her chair in fury) the other day when she read in a "popular magazine" that people should not eat
fried fish and potato salad on Christmas Eve because "it's not healthy food". The writer missed the point: it's a Christian tradition, it's not meant to be healthy!