Buonismo

Gattafee

Member
Italian, Italy
Does anyone know the English for buonismo (if there is any)?

Buonismo: word employed especially in the politic and journalistic language that shows an excessively moral and benevolent behaviour in the social relations; constant mediation between divergent views.

Thank you
 
  • TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I've looked around and found no examples of a direct translation for "buonismo" (other than the pejorative "goody-goody"). But I have seen many explanations in Italian, so I think I know what it means.

    The are a variety of phrases that might be applied, but they are very context sensitive:

    Overly sympathetic
    Bleeding heart
    Sentimental
    Indulgent
    Do gooder
    Good Scout
    Sympathizer
    Soft / Softy
    Social relativism
    Triangulation
    Centrism
    Secular progressive

    ProZ has actually given an example where it should not be translated and just left as "buonismo" and then explained as "bleeding heart".
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I thought about adding PC, and maybe it should be part of the list.
    Again, very context sensitive.

    No bowing please...unwarranted, unnecessary, and we are not buonisti here! :)
     

    mateintwo

    Senior Member
    Sweden, Former resident USA
    I would be grateful for some phrases with “buonismo” that illustrate well the meaning of the word so we can try to pinpoint an English equivalent. Reading TimLa’s list it seems to almost mean all and nothing.

    Also would you say “buonismo” is similar to “perbenismo” that was recently discussed on another thread?
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    If you google with the single word "buonismo", the hits are all italian with excellent sentences. If you do "buonismo" and "ProZ" you can see their example.

    "Perbenismo" and "buonismo" can be seen in the same sentence, but apparently with subtley different meanings.

    "All and nothing" sounds like a good interpretation...:)
     

    mateintwo

    Senior Member
    Sweden, Former resident USA
    Having read some Google search results, my try to define “buonismo” would be:

    A naive and simplistic and/or idealistic view/belief in being able to change/solve political, social or humanitarian situations/problems.
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    If you google with the single word "buonismo", the hits are all italian with excellent sentences. If you do "buonismo" and "ProZ" you can see their example.

    "Perbenismo" and "buonismo" can be seen in the same sentence, but apparently with subtley different meanings.

    "All and nothing" sounds like a good interpretation...:)
    Perbenismo e buonismo have a very different meaning actually.
    Buonismo is that particular behaviour which implies being always supportive, forgiving everyone for everything they have done, trying always to find a peaceful solution to any problem, turning the other cheek, being always too indulgent and understanding towards people's bad behaviours.
    It often has a negative meaning, so that a buonista is can be seen as naive, softy and a sucker.
     

    mateintwo

    Senior Member
    Sweden, Former resident USA
    Reading the Google hits it seems most common nowadays to use the negative meaning of “buonismo”. Like politicians/judges being soft on crime by cuddling criminals instead of taking a hard line to curtail crime.

    But from your answer I guess the originally meaning of the word was what we were taught in religion to be compassionate and I also guess 50/100 years ago the negative connotation of the word did not exist
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Reading the Google hits it seems most common nowadays to use the negative meaning of “buonismo”. Like politicians/judges being soft on crime by cuddling criminals instead of taking a hard line to curtail crime.

    But from your answer I guess the originally meaning of the word was what we were taught in religion to be compassionate and I also guess 50/100 years ago the negative connotation of the word did not exist
    Well..that's true..buonismo can be used in many different contexts with different meanings of course, yet always negative.
     

    Ranocchietta

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Reading the Google hits it seems most common nowadays to use the negative meaning of “buonismo”. Like politicians/judges being soft on crime by cuddling criminals instead of taking a hard line to curtail crime.

    But from your answer I guess the originally meaning of the word was what we were taught in religion to be compassionate and I also guess 50/100 years ago the negative connotation of the word did not exist
    I might be wrong, but it sounds to me like a neologism, a word appeared in the last years on the political scene with only a negative connotation.
    I can't think of it used in classical literature, nor in a positive connotation.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Paul has found the right words to explain this phenomenon.
    Mateinto,
    the word did not exist 50/100 years ago. Not even 10 for that matter.
    The word has no positive connotations.
    Best.
    GS
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    I have a range of translations that I tend to use for this. It's not always political, but is often used in political contexts. An example? Prodi was often criticized (by his critics, no less) for his buonismo. The same people used to allege that he was inspired by excessively Catholic values and principles, and that he always seemed to be seeking common ground with all sides, political and otherwise. Basically, the implicit criticism here is that he was ultimately unconvincing as a politician, since he allegedly sought to be all things to all people, and to please everybody all the time, which many people believe to be impossible.
    I think Prodi is a useful specific example to illustrate this word.
    I say "a Mr Nice Guy" (buonista), from which I derive the adjectival (premodifier) form "Mr Nice Guy stance/approach/attitude/politics".
    I said I had a range of translations. I can't remember the others (I had found 2 or 3 in all). Sorry. But "bleeding heart (liberalism etc)" is both too strong and too specific. Shame, I know.
    ;-)
     

    cumano

    Member
    USA
    Spanish - Cuba
    I will have to translate "naive doing-good-ism" in my context:
    Per noi cristiani, comunque, i poveri ben prima di essere un problema, sono nostri fratelli, nostri amici. E non si tratta di “buonismo”, come talora in tono dispregiativo si sente dire, ma dello sguardo stesso di Dio che gli uomini fanno fatica ad imitare.
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    I will have to translate "naive doing-good-ism" in my context:
    Per noi cristiani, comunque, i poveri ben prima di essere un problema, sono nostri fratelli, nostri amici. E non si tratta di “buonismo”, come talora in tono dispregiativo si sente dire, ma dello sguardo stesso di Dio che gli uomini fanno fatica ad imitare.
    In your (religious/moral) context, a nice translation is this:

    "And it is not a case of being 'do-gooders', to use that negative term that you sometimes hear used, but...".
    However, given the specific connotation of the term "do-gooder" in English, it becomes rather tautologous (ie superfluous) to specify the precise "accettazione" which is defined in the Italian sentence you quote.

    EDIT: We can also say "simple/simplistic do-gooders", to make it a bit clearer.
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    I will have to translate "naive doing-good-ism" in my context:
    Per noi cristiani, comunque, i poveri ben prima di essere un problema, sono nostri fratelli, nostri amici. E non si tratta di “buonismo”, come talora in tono dispregiativo si sente dire, ma dello sguardo stesso di Dio che gli uomini fanno fatica ad imitare.
    In this context , which is very specific, in that it refers to the attitudes towards the poor, one of the traditional divides between left and right, I think I must stick to my guns.

    Here, I think, "bleeding heart liberalism" is appropriate. At least the way I understand the term from hearing it used here, that is a somewhat emasculated attitude based on excessive and whiny empathy , seen as erosive of personal responsibility and the Second Amendment and whatnot.


    Edit after seeing Gavin's last - "do-gooders" is pretty good too.
     

    cumano

    Member
    USA
    Spanish - Cuba
    This is what I have put:
    And it is not a matter of a naive “doing-good-ism,” as at times one hears said in a disdainful tone, but rather of God’s own gaze which human beings are at pains to imitate.
    I have wanted to keep close to the original. "Bleeding heart liberal" is an old expression which I don't want to use for this. I have permitted myself to coin a term to reflect the sound of the original, and added "naive" after seeing all the discussion on the original thread re "buonismo." Thank you all.
     

    NewYorktoLA

    Senior Member
    English-the variety known as AE
    Hi cumano,
    Sorry but: "doing good-ism" doesn't make sense in English.
    "And it is not a case of being 'do-gooders'/
    It's not a matter of being a do-gooder/bleeding heart liberal" works well.
    This express isn't "outdated," especially in the context which you have quoted.
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi cumano,
    Sorry but: "doing good-ism" doesn't make sense in English.
    "And it is not a case of being 'do-gooders'/
    It's not a matter of being a do-gooder/bleeding heart liberal" works well.
    This expression isn't "outdated," especially in the context which you have quoted.
    Just making spelling clearer so everyone is sure to understand. And I agree with the above, too. (Except maybe "bleeding heart liberal", which I'm now totally unsure of!)
    ;-)
     

    cumano

    Member
    USA
    Spanish - Cuba
    Well, I think that if it can be understood it makes sense. As much sense as what was also at one time the neologism buonismo. Again, I tried to reproduce into English what was done with the Italian. Do you think "do-good-ism" makes less sense than "buonismo," or is a more improper neologism? If so, please explain. I don't think one should be restricted in translating to what is in the dictionary (at this time).
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well, I think that if it can be understood it makes sense. As much sense as what was also at one time the neologism buonismo. Again, I tried to reproduce into English what was done with the Italian. Do you think "do-good-ism" makes less sense than "buonismo," or is a more improper neologism? If so, please explain. I don't think one should be restricted in translating to what is in the dictionary (at this time).
    Well, it's your call, but I also think it's a bad call! The term "buonismo" is fixed in the language, whereas the term you wish to coin is not. This is a crucial difference. The notion of the "fixedness" of a given term in a given language is pretty well understood, well explained elsewhere, and clear on first principles. Forgive me if I don't expand on it here. I mean that, by the way: I'd like to, but it's late, I'm tired and I'm busy with other things, otherwise I would probably do more to try to explain, to help you understand better.
    By the way, this is in no way a criticism of you, or of your decision-making processes. It's simply a constructive (and possibly partly informative) objection. ;-)
     

    Akumasama

    New Member
    Italian
    Perbenismo e buonismo have a very different meaning actually.
    Well, like it has already been said, it all depends on the context. I'd rather say that while there is a difference, it's subtle.

    "Perbenismo" has more to do with morals and so people with very conservative ideas, good manners and it has a bad connotation.

    "Buonismo" usually (not always, but almost if I can dare?) is more about what other people already said in this thread. It usually ends up in hypocrisy, since it can be used as a form of euphemism to hide intolerance behind a mask of politically correct sentences and behaviours.
     
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