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Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    In this 'problematic' era I wonder whether you have the word 'problem' in your language and what alternatives there are and were (and will be ;-)).

    Dutch: probleem.
    - Before: kwestie, moeilijkheid (difficulty), I suppose
    - Alternatives: pijnpunt (pain point, where it hurts), knelpunt (pinching point)

    (See also here)
  2. snoopymanatee

    snoopymanatee Senior Member

    Hello ThomasK,

    In Turkish, we use the word "problem", too.

    - Before and now: mesele. (problem, matter)

    "Mesele" is an Arabic loan and has been used in Turkish.

    - Alternative: sorun. (difficulty, hassle)
  3. apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    «Πρόβλημα» ('provlima, n.); Classical neuter noun «πρόβλημα» ('prŏblēmă)--> lit. anything thrown forward or projecting, metaph. anything put before one as a defence, bulwark, barrier. Compound; preposition and prefix «πρὸ» (prŏ)--> before, in front of, forth (PIE base *por-, forward, through) + neuter noun «βλῆμα» ('blēmă, 'vlima in modern pronunciation)--> missile, projectile, shot (PIE base *gʷel- (2), to throw, cf. Lat. ballista, Ger. quellen).
    The troubled times we're going through are «προβληματικοί καιροί» (provlimati'ci ce'ri, pl. nominative masculine) lit. "problematic times".
    A/ «Δυσκολίες» (ðisko'lies, pl. nominative fem.), lit. difficulties. Classical feminine noun «δυσκολία» (dŭskŏ'līă)--> discontent, peevishness, difficulty. Compound; adv. and prefix «δυς» (dus)--> bad, ill, abnormal (PIE base *dus-, bad, ill, evil) + Classical masculine noun «κόλος» ('kŏlŏs) or neuter noun «κόλον» ('kŏlŏn)--> feeding, nourishment with obscure etymology (the noun «δυσκολία» (dŭskŏ'līă) initially described the difficult way of getting food).
    B/ «Σκοτούρες» (sko'tures, pl. nominative fem.), with lit. meaning dizziness, vertigo, blackout, metaphorically, dark days, difficulties, troubles. Byzantine compound; neuter noun, «σκότος» ('skotos)--> darkness, gloom (PIE base *skot-, shadow, darkness) + Byzantine feminine productive suffix «-ουρα» (-ura)
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Great, both of you, thanks. As for Turkish: could you comment a little more on the precise meaning of mesele? What is the link between problem and matter? Something like issue, question? Could you find a reference in other languages?

    Greek : I thought a 'kairos' was a good opportunity. But it isn't apparently. Can you use Σκοτούρες with a determiner? Is it concrete: *a vertigo ? And Δυσκολίες: could it be something like scarcity (of food) ?
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  5. snoopymanatee

    snoopymanatee Senior Member

    Precise meaning of "mesele" is "problem/matter/issue". (I use "issue" here in informal meaning: A personal problem or emotional disorder.)

    Mesele nedir? --> What's the problem/matter?
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Could you use mesele in a different meaning? Or what is the root of the word ? (Thanks !)
  7. snoopymanatee

    snoopymanatee Senior Member

    Oh, sorry I did not understand in that way when I wrote my previous message.

    I am not sure about its root, because it is an Arabic loan in Turkish and I do not speak Arabic.

    "Mesele" is being used in 2 meanings in Turkish:

    1. sorun --> problem.

    2. güç iş --> something which is difficult to do.
  8. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    Japanese/Korean/Chinese -> 問題(mondai/munje/wenti).
    Literally "ask-topic," it is a calque from the European word "problem."
    Before that we didn't have an equivalent for the word.
    If there was a problem I guess we would have said "there are troubles, difficulties, unrest, etc"
  9. sakvaka

    sakvaka Moderoitsija

    In Finnish, the word is ongelma. The origin is a bit unclear, but at the first sight it appears to be connected to the word onki (gen. ongen; "fishing rod") and the verb onkia ("angle"). -mA indicates the result of an action, and in consequence, ongelma is something that you angled. The starting point is surprisingly positive!

    Another theory is that ongelma is a formation of ongelmo† ("hole between two branches" or something like that). Not totally impossible, either: problems can be considered 'dark and deep places full of mystery'.

    In fact, here's an interesting webpage concerning the word ongelma from a cultural-etymological standpoint.
  10. apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi TK,
    Well «καιρός» carries a broader meaning, it's the opportune time to do something; whether this «καιρός» is to be used for good or bad, it is irrelevant, the concept is neutral.
    As for «σκοτούρες» no it's used without a determiner. Its literal meaning is "vertigo" but nowadays, when one hears someone talking about «σκοτούρες» in his/her life, 99 out of 100 times, s/he talks about difficulties.
    Concerning «δυσκολίες», yes, that was its ancient-ancient meaning, pre-classical perhaps. Food was scarce and people had to work hard in order to put it on the table. Since Classical times its definition has become very broad and nowadays with «δυσκολία» we describe "difficulty" (and only that).
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  11. hui Senior Member

    Another word is pulma. Its origin seems to be as unclear - even problematic - as the origin of ongelma.

    Probleema can also be used.

    [In Estonian, pulmad means wedding, I think.]
  12. ancalimon Senior Member

    In Turkish "bulma" means "the act of finding", "the act of solving". For example we call "a puzzle" as "bulmaca" :)
  13. mataripis Senior Member

    In Tagalog it is " Suliranin ". 1.) Ang nagpapasidhi sa suliranin ay ang kawalan ng mabuting pag iisip at kapasyahan. ( The factor that worsen the problem is the lack of rational thinking and right decision.)
  14. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Turkish: problems are things that have not yet been solved, isn't it?

    Tagalog: what is the origin of suliranin ?
  15. ancalimon Senior Member

    Yes. Problems are things that are not yet been solved.
  16. mataripis Senior Member

    I am not sure but "suli"(from "Sauli"(sawli) the first part of word means " Came back"/"return " and for me it means whatever error is done something will come back (the problem)!
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  17. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    magyar > gond, baj, probléma
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Would you be able to comment on the precise meaning of 'gond', 'baj'?
  19. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    In Arabic:

    مشكلة /mushkila/ (problem in general)

    معضلة /muʕḍˤila/ (big problem, puzzle)

    مسألة /masʔala/ (matter, math problem)

    إشكال /ishkāl/ (small problem)
  20. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    gond > concern, care, worry, trouble, attention, difficulty
    baj > trouble, misery, misfortune, grief, bother, complaint
  21. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    That is quite interesting. I think 'problem' in English does not have that ring. Those are the older words, more emotional, less 'distanced', and I like them better...
  22. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    I've check the etymology, rather surprising

    baj < first appears as early as 1300s from BSC boj [fight, fighting, combat]
    gond < ancient word, unknown etymology

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