رجال السلطة ونساؤها

elroy

Imperfect Mod
US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
#1
I recently came across رجال السلطة ونساؤها as a translation of "men and women of power." I suspect the translator used this instead of رجال ونساء السلطة to avoid a "stranded مضاف" (i.e. to avoid leaving رجال without an (explicit) مضاف إليه). This strategy works in most cases, but in this case the translation bothered me. After thinking about it for a bit, I figured out why, and I'd like to share my thoughts with you and see if you agree.

When we say رجال السلطة, the meaning is الرجال ذوو السلطة, i.e. "men who have power," whereas when we say, for example, رجال الأمن, the meaning is الرجال التابعون للأمن, i.e. "men who are affiliated with/belong to the security forces." In a way, these are almost opposite meanings: the men have the power, but the security forces "have" the men (figuratively). We cannot reword the second one as الرجل ذوو الأمن.

So we see that an إضافة construction with two nouns can have (at least) two possible meanings, i.e. two possible relationships between the two elements.

My feeling is that we cannot replace the second noun with a pronoun if the relationship is a "ذو relationship" (as in رجال السلطة), because السلطة ورجالها, to me, sounds like the power owns the men and not the other way around.

To make an analogy with English, السلطة ورجالها to me sounds like "the power's men" as opposed to "men of power." In English, an apostrophe and s cannot be used if we have a "ذو relationship," and that's what the pronoun construction sounds like to me.

Other examples:

رجال النفوذ / العِلْم / الأصالة
الرجال ذوو النفوذ / العِلْم / الأصالة :thumbsup:
النفوذ ورجاله / العِلْم ورجاله / الأصالة ورجالها :thumbsdown:

رجال الشرطة / الجيش / الدولة
الرجال ذوو الشرطة / الجيش / الدولة :thumbsdown:
الشرطة ورجالها / الجيش ورجاله / الدولة ورجالها :thumbsup:

What do you think?
 
Arabic (Egyptian)
#2
To me, رجال السلطة ونساؤها is exactly the same as رجال ونساء السلطة because in both cases نساء معطوفة على رجال وليست معطوفة على السلطة , it may differs grammatically from السلطة ونساؤها in which نساء معطوفة على السلطة.

So we see that an إضافة construction with two nouns can have (at least) two possible meanings, i.e. two possible relationships between the two elements.
Agree.:thumbsup:

My feeling is that we cannot replace the second noun with a pronoun if the relationship is a "ذو relationship" (as in رجال السلطة), because السلطة ورجالها, to me, sounds like the power owns the men and not the other way around.
In this sentence ,I think it depends on the context which explains whether the men have the power or the power owns the men.

رجال النفوذ / العِلْم / الأصالة
الرجال ذوو النفوذ / العِلْم / الأصالة :thumbsup:
النفوذ ورجاله / العِلْم ورجاله / الأصالة ورجالها :thumbsdown:
All seems to be right.

رجال الشرطة / الجيش / الدولة
الرجال ذوو الشرطة / الجيش / الدولة :thumbsdown:
الشرطة ورجالها / الجيش ورجاله / الدولة ورجالها :thumbsup:
:thumbsup:
 

Mahaodeh

Senior Member
Arabic, PA and IA.
#3
To me, رجال السلطة ونساؤها is exactly the same as رجال ونساء السلطة
In terms of meaning, I totally agree for the same reason you gave. In terms of style, I feel the first is actually better.

When we say رجال السلطة, the meaning is الرجال ذوو السلطة, i.e. "men who have power," whereas when we say, for example, رجال الأمن, the meaning is الرجال التابعون للأمن, i.e. "men who are affiliated with/belong to the security forces." In a way, these are almost opposite meanings: the men have the power, but the security forces "have" the men (figuratively). We cannot reword the second one as الرجل ذوو الأمن.
In terms of the intended meaning in the context you gave, I agree. However, in terms of the general meaning of إضافة both means الرجال التابعون للسلطة أو الأمن. In Arabic, الإضافة does not give the meaning of ذو, it gives the meaning of possession or association (تبعية). Technically, رجال السلطة means that these men are associated with power so given the phrase with no context I would understand that they are the people that are working for/with the power or authority: from the president to police officers.

My feeling is that we cannot replace the second noun with a pronoun if the relationship is a "ذو relationship" (as in رجال السلطة),
I agree as I mentioned before. If I were to translate 'men and women of power', I would go with الرجال والنساء ذوي السلطة.

because السلطة ورجالها, to me, sounds like the power owns the men and not the other way around.
This is where I disagree assuming I understood what you mean. I think you mean رجال السلطة ونساؤها is the same as السلطة ورجالها. I disagree because while in both cases the ها refers to السلطة the difference is that in the example you gave جال السلطة معطوفة على السلطة، أي أن كلاهما مقصودين في الكلام والتعبير يعني: السلطة ورجال السلطة في حين رحال السلطة ونساؤها تعني رجال السلطة ونساء السلطة والسلطة مضاف إليه وليس هناك شيء معطوف عليها، أي أنها ليست المقصودة بالكلام بل المقصود هم الرجال والنساء فقط. I don't know if I explained myself properly.
 
Arabic (Egyptian)
#4
I feel the first is actually better.
Yes, the first is better.

Technically, رجال السلطة means that these men are associated with power so given the phrase with no context I would understand that they are the people that are working for/with the power or authority: from the president to police officers.
It depend on the context, it can mean that or refer to people under the control of the power.

I think you mean رجال السلطة ونساؤها is the same as السلطة ورجالها. I disagree because while in both cases the ها refers to السلطة the difference is that in the example you gave رجال السلطة معطوفة على السلطة، أي أن كلاهما مقصودين في الكلام والتعبير يعني: السلطة ورجال السلطة في حين رجال السلطة ونساؤها تعني رجال السلطة ونساء السلطة والسلطة مضاف إليه وليس هناك شيء معطوف عليها، أي أنها ليست المقصودة بالكلام بل المقصود هم الرجال والنساء فقط.
Agree.:thumbsup:
 

barkoosh

Senior Member
Arabic - Lebanon
#5
I also think that رجال السلطة ونساؤها and رجال ونساء السلطة are the same. Those are two shorter ways of saying رجال السلطة ونساء السلطة.

True, السلطة ورجالها could sound like "the power's men", but it's also true with رجال السلطة. The thing is, رجال السلطة is more commonly used for "men of power", and that's the first thing that we think of when we hear it. So in رجال ونساء السلطة and رجال السلطة ونساؤها, the first impression is "men and women of power", unless context says otherwise, as in:
في هذا البلد الدكتاتوري، تقوم السلطة المستبدة بتجنيد رجال ونساء يتجسسون على جيرانهم ومعارفهم. وقد كان رجال ونساء السلطة (أو: رجال السلطة ونساؤها) السبب في سجن العديد من المواطنين الأبرياء لمجرّد خلافات شخصية.‏

By the way, the form رجال السلطة ونساؤها is generally considered more فصيح than رجال ونساء السلطة. Many try to avoid using the latter form while acknowledging that they both convey the same meaning.
 
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