Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti

Drakonica

Senior Member
Polish
The word "robot" is currently an international term, but did that word exist in your language at the time of writing R.U.R.?
I know a general Slavic word "robota" (a work) with many derivates, but its plural sounds in Czech: "roboty".
robota – Wikislovník

What did exactly mean the word "roboti" at that time?
 
  • Drakonica

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thank you :)

    One more question about developing of this word.

    In Polish we can (but we rarely do it) create a gerund noun, leaving the verb root alone.
    It usually is a name for an activity itself, but sometimes for an inanimate performer of the action.

    spychać - to push out
    spych - a bulldozer

    dziwić - to wonder
    dziw - a wonder

    Do it works the same way in Chech language, and was used to create a "robot"?
     

    Mori.cze

    Senior Member
    Czech
    I'd say "robot" is not really formed alongside common ways of producing words.

    Yes, we can do what you mention, but as you say, it would normally denote the activity, not the doer. Actually I cannot think of an example of such a word denoting a performer of the action (as in your bulldoser case), but obviously that does not mean that there are none.
    There is a "běh" to běhat (to run) or "skok" to skákat (to jump), but the words denoting the doers are typically in need of a suffix: běžec, skokan. The doer of "robota" should be by the logic of Czech language robotník (I believe this word exists in Slovak), maybe robotovatel, robotovač or even robotec, but not just a robot.
    Yet, Čapek was not without an insight for language and indeed was quite successful with his approach, so I would not really criticise his choice:)

    We too have a "div", a wonder, btw, but I believe this one was borrowed from Polish or Russian.
     
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    Drakonica

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Děkuji mnohokrát :)

    And by the way, I just realized that it's not the the verb root only, it is:
    rob+ot

    And the fact that in Polish we have sam nouns with this verb root, for example:
    nierób - a person who doesn't work
     
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    werrr

    Senior Member
    The word "robot" is currently an international term, but did that word exist in your language at the time of writing R.U.R.?
    ...
    Origin of this word is well known. It was coined by Karel Čapek's brother Josef specifically for R.U.R. It's derived from a less used Czech verb robiti (= to do/work/make) in analogy to the word chobot, originally chopot, meaning (elephant) trunk which comes from the verb chopiti (= to take/grasp).

    The original Josef's form is animate masculine. Karel immediately added feminine form robotka. Inanimate masculine form emerged spontaneously with the introduction of actual robots.

    The way of forming nouns from verb using suffix -ot was common in old Slavic. Old Polish word sopot (modern Polish potok) was formed in the same way. In Czech it was abondoned long time ago but words formed in this way are preserved which makes Josef's invention to sound quite natural. Later on, the same way of forming nouns reemerged in Czech as a still-productive way to form nouns for sounds (e.g. dusot, tlukot, chichot...).

    ...

    In Polish we can (but we rarely do it) create a gerund noun, leaving the verb root alone.
    It usually is a name for an activity itself, but sometimes for an inanimate performer of the action.

    spychać - to push out
    spych - a bulldozer

    dziwić - to wonder
    dziw - a wonder
    I think it's the other way arround. Dziw is based on different verb meaning to watch and dziwić is a secondary verb derived from dziw. But I admit this is speculative as the verbs for to watch and to wonder were mixed up already in old Slavic.

    Do it works the same way in Czech language...
    Yes, for example Czech word zběh is perfect analog to Polish zbieg. This also demonstrates that deverbalization of this kind may refer to animate performer of the action which is relevant to the word of your interest as the original form of the word robot is the animate one.

    ...and was used to create a "robot"?
    Nope.

    We too have a "div", a wonder, btw, but I believe this one was borrowed from Polish or Russian.
    No, it's as Czech as you can get. It's attested practically for all documented history.
     

    Mori.cze

    Senior Member
    Czech
    No, it's as Czech as you can get. It's attested practically for all documented history.
    Thanks for the correction, nex time I won’t rely on my faulty memory and will check in the etymological dictionary...


    The "chobot" analogy is interesting, I was not aware. Yet, (at least according to Rejzek) chobot is not related to "chápat", is of old slavic origin and means "tail" in some other slavonic languages.
    Still, thanks for the details & corrections:)
     
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