Serbian (BCS): Svastika

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Thomas1, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Split from here.
    Doesn't it bear such connotations when you use it addressing your wife's sister? In Polish this word (swastyka) is almost automatically associated wth Nazis, we don't have any other meaning for this word, though.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    Well no. First of all, word "svastika" meaning wife's sister is much older then WWII. It exists for centuries and it is everyone's first connotation.
    Second of all, word "swastika" in Serbian language means "kukasti krst" and not vast number of people know its original name. S
    wastika is usually used only by Skinheads and other Neo-Nazi movements (which, I am sad to say, do exist in Serbia as well)!

    I hope this clears up the confusion!
  3. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    The first part of your replay seemed to clear things up but when I read the second part I again got a little bit confused. :)
    I don't quite know what "kukasti krst" means.I hypothesize you mean equilateral cross. If that's true I think that most people (from the western world) hearing the word swastika don't know about its other meanings and/or symbols since the times of WWII and the symbol of Nazis really convoluted them. The symbology of swastika is pretty abundant and I'm not sure which one of the meanings you say is used by "Skinheads and other Neo-Nazi movements". Do you mean left-facing swastika--a symbol of evil in some cultures? Well, this could be an explanation provided that Nazi swastika hadn't been right-facing. As far as I can remember swastika was supposed to mean the victory of Arians (according to Nazis). Apart from that swastika symbolizes many other things. If people knew them probably the cross wouldn't be so much despised and discarded.
    Could you please comment on that?

    If these posts strayed too much from the original topic of this discussion, please split them and start a new thread. :)

    All the best,
  4. Seana

    Seana Senior Member


    Would you have a look what I have found in Polish dictionary as an explaination word svastika in Polish "swastyka"
    'Svastika' for many ancient people: symbol, ornament in the shape of the isosceles cross with shoulders bent the right angle in the same rotational direction, called also "gammadion" ( after 4 large Greek letters gamma); or Hakenkreuz. Ethymology. - sanskryt - svastika 'as above' from svasti 'success'; su- 'good'; asti 'he is'; from happiness which it had to bring.

    'Hakenkreuz' emblem of the Nazism. (1933-45); svastika.
    Ethymology. - German 'as above'; Haken 'hook'; Kreuz 'cross' from latin crux - crusade.

    I also found it in Wikipedia wiki-source
  5. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    I will say it like this:
    The word "swastika" in Serbian is rarely used when referring to the Nazi WWII symbol because such a word already exist in our language with the entirely different meaning. Instead, we use the word "kukasti krst" (or loosely translated to English "cross with hooks").

    So if you open any English- Serbian dictionary (and vice-versa) it will read:
    swastika (eng.) -> (sj) kukasti krst
    svastika (sj.) -> (eng) I sister-in-law (wife's sister); II swastika

    Now, since "swastika" is, of course, an old symbol, it was known to Serbian historians and archeologist and they use the word "svastika" when they speak of it, but common folk probable never heard of its existence prior to WWII.
    So I presume the word svastika as a symbol did not take in precisely because it has a different PRIMARY meaning in our language and we probable just translated some other reference name which apparently already existed in German (according to Seana's post) and assigned it to the Nazi symbol to make the distinction between the two absolutely clear.

    Hope this helps!
  6. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Here are a few words on the issue:

    “Su” meaning good/well, “asti” is an equivalent of English: being; and “ka” is a diminutive suffix so when we put these meanings together we get a small well-being, and by broadening we get a small auspicious thing/affair. It has had many alternative names (mainly in heraldry), among them hooked cross*.

    In many cultures—including Europe—it is/was a symbol associated positively; in Hinduism, Buddhist and Jainism being a holy symbol. For instance in Hindu culture it is common to make swastika on persons as a sign of auspiciousness and good luck; Hindu temples are marked on maps by swastikas.

    Hitler personally chose the symbol for NSDAP, it was a flag with red background and a white disk of which inside contained black swastika. The colors chosen by Hitler were the ones on the flag of old German Empire (from the top, three black, white, and red strips placed horizontally). However, the symbol was unofficially used by the preceding party of NSDAP.) A German archeologist Shliemann (1822-1890) had discovered the site of Troy where among many artifacts he found scads bearing swastika. He believed swastika to have been a symbol of Aryans (nowadays they are known as Indo-Iranians or Proto-Indo Europeans) a people who were allegedly the fathers of Vedic culture in India. Nazis liked such interpretation and claimed that Aryans had invaded India and created Vedic culture of this country, they also described Aryans conquering India as white, blond Nordic warriors. They theorized that Aryans were the ancestors of Germans. Such history of “master race” seemed to go in parallel with Nazis’ aspirations about the history of their primordial ancestors. That’s probably the reason why they hijacked swastika as their symbol and identified with Aryans.

    Nowadays, swastika is unequivocally associated with Hitler, Nazis, fascism and everything that brings back up bad memories of the past. The symbol itself became a taboo in Western societies after WWII.

    *this seems to be confirmed by Maja who gave свастика in her mother tongue and by Seana’s contribution of German Hakenkreuz. So IMHO, Serbian adopted the word swastika with its meaning but because this word long before Nazis’ times existed in genealogical glossary and was used as well by people in common parlance. It didn’t make it to be used in this particular meaning and was replaced by kukasti krst as the first word to be used in the meaning of equilateral cross employed by Nazi Germany.

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