To solve/... problems

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ThomasK

Senior Member
Belgium, Dutch
I enquired about the word before, but I would like to know what you try to do with them in your language.

English and Dutch, French, German, seem to wish to solve problem (oplossen, résoudre, lösen), which implies loosening, I suppose - but I had always thought of the dissolving effect of aspirine in water, but I guess I have been wrong until now... I suppose there are some more like that in other languages...
I suppose to deal with a problem is quite OK too.

In Dutch we can also
- een probleem aanpakken (something like grab), reminding me of to deal with but I am not sure of how active dealing with something is...
- een probleem benaderen (to approach) - but that sounds old, too soft (as compared with the macho style of 'aanpakken')
- voor zich uitschuiven (shove it lit. away, but in front of oneself > procrastinate, but of course that is not so typical of problems...)

I wonder what kind of verbs (and metaphors) when referring to [solutions of] you use to deal with problems.
 
  • ger4

    Senior Member
    German
    The closest German equivalents to the expressions you mentioned would probably be
    - ein Problem anpacken (anpacken ~ "to grab")
    - ein Problem angehen (angehen could be translated as "to approach", "to move towards", sounding slightly softer than anpacken)
    - ein Problem vor sich herschieben (vor sich herschieben ~ "to shove it in front of oneself" resulting in the problem always being "in front of" oneself...)
     
    Hi TK,

    Happy New Year!

    In Greek problems are literally confronted, v. «αντιμετωπίζω» [andimetoˈpizo] < Byz. v. «ἀντιμετωπῶ» antimetōpõ (same meaning) < Classical adj. «ἀντιμέτωπος, -πος, -πον» ăntĭmétōpŏs (masc. & fem.), ăntĭmétōpŏn (neut.) --> front to front, face to face.
    When we're confronted with a problem, then we try to solve it, v. «λύνω» [ˈlino] --> to loose, untie, (re)solve < Classical v. «λύω» lúō --> to loose, untie, release, (re)solve, destroy, pay (PIE *lh₁u-, to cut off, release cf Lat. luere, to expiate, pay).

    PS: The Eng. v. solve ultimately comes from the Latin solvere< compound; prefix sē-, away, separately + luere
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Good Lord, best wishes to you too, Apmoy !

    I had not mentioned 'to confront', which we can use in a passive form (we worden geconfronteerd met problemen), as it is not an active form, no more than 'worstelen met' (wrestle with, literally). Yours probably does not mean just 'to face', but try to deal with them head-on, I guess. Am I right? [Does metop- refer to 'face', btw?]

    No other German expressions, Holger?
     

    ger4

    Senior Member
    German
    You could also say
    - ein Problem in Angriff nehmen (in Angriff nehmen ~ to get to grips with; frequently used, similar meaning to ein Problem anpacken; beginning to solve a problem)
    - ein Problem bearbeiten (bearbeiten ~ to handle, to deal with; puts emphasis on the process of dealing with the problem)
    - ein Problem bewältigen (bewältigen ~ to gain control of, to master, to overcome - ideally in that order...puts more emphasis on process and result)
    ... running out of ideas already...

    By the way, Happy New Year! (I keep forgetting to say that)
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Genau - und gleichfalls (if that is OK in this context)! ;-)

    That reminds me of 'te lijf gaan' (attack the body, literally), but that is way too macho here, I'd say. Bewâltigen is really German to me and not that easy to translate; we do have the word 'geweld' (Gewalt) and overweldigend (überwältigend ?), but no words like your be-walt-words. 'Overwinnen' would be too strong.
     
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    ger4

    Senior Member
    German
    - 'te lijf gaan' (attack the body, literally) sounds a bit similar to (einem Problem) zu Leibe rücken (~ to begin dealing with a problem) [1]
    - 'Overwinnen' sounds similar to überwinden (~ to overcome) but is quite a strong expression and tends to be used with words like Krise (crisis): eine Krise überwinden ~ to overcome a crisis [2]

    [1] German-English: http://www.dict.cc/zu Leibe rücken - German-German definitions www.redensarten-index.de/zu Leibe rücken
    [2] German-English: http://www.dict.cc/überwinden - German-Dutch: http://denl.dict.cc/überwinden
     
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    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I had always thought of the dissolving effect of aspirine in water, but I guess I have been wrong until now...
    You were right about the general nature of the root word, just not the effects of prefixes on it.

    The root is related to English "solid", to which the closest Latin form of it was "solidus", although in most other situations there's a "u" after the "sol". It meant "solid, whole, intact, durable, healthy, strong". Latin "u", which was also treated as our "w" when another vowel followed it, has a tendency to end up as "v".

    As a verb, it would mean making something or someone solid, strong, healthy, or durable, roughly like our "solidify". Adding the prefix "dis" (related to the name of a god, the enforcer of curses) means making the object not solid/strong/healthy. The Romans used it the way we would use "melt", which gave us the verb "dissolve" (a different physical event from melting, but not one that I'm sure Romans would distinguish from melting when they saw it). By the Middle Ages, it also was used as a metaphor for non-physical things, as in a couple of lines from O Fortuna: "...egestatem, potestatem... dissolvit ut glaciem": "...poverty, power... you melt them like ice". Another prefix to change the meaning is "re", meaning "back", so it means not just making something solid/strong/healthy, but restoring it to that state after it had been temporarily dis-solid. For example, the medical term for healing of injuries such as bruises is "resolved" because the site of the injury is back to the way it was before getting injured (and the process is gradual, like a solid melting or a liquid solidifying).

    lösen... which implies loosening, I suppose
    English "loose" is related to "lax", "relax", "release", and even "lease", which came from the meaning "let go", as in letting your property go to someone else's use, and it was once used as a verb for letting things loose (like an arrow on a bow-string or an animal on a chain). I don't see how a relative of that word can be "solve" unless there was a metaphor I've never heard of in which a problem was like shackles or a prison, from which the solution would set you free.

    "Lösen" looks like the participle of the verb you'd get if you treated "los" as a verb. "Los" is not a verb but is generally associated with action. For example, the question "Was ist los" means "what is happening", and a carnival ride operator will often shout "Los!" right when he's throwing the riders upside-down or up to the top of the ride's height or such. So if it were verbed with the meaning of "take action", then "ist gelösen" or "hat gelösen" would indicate having already taken action in the past, which would imply a present state resulting from that action. So it's easy to see the participle becoming a separate verb on its own for creating the present state by having taken action on a previous state, and the original verb it came from degenerating into today's "los". Unfortunately for that theory, "losen" is already another verb with an unrelated meaning.
     
    Good Lord, best wishes to you too, Apmoy !

    I had not mentioned 'to confront', which we can use in a passive form (we worden geconfronteerd met problemen), as it is not an active form, no more than 'worstelen met' (wrestle with, literally). Yours probably does not mean just 'to face', but try to deal with them head-on, I guess. Am I right?
    Yes, exactly.
    [Does metop- refer to 'face', btw?]
    «Μέτωπο» [ˈmetopo] (neut.) -->lit. the space between the eyes, forehead, metaph. front side of head, front of an army < Classical neut. noun «μέτωπον» métōpŏn --> the space between the eyes, front side of head, front of an army < compound; Classical adverb, preposition, and prefix «μετά» mĕtá or «μέτα» métă --> in the midst, afterwards, between, with, after (PIE *meth₂-, in the midst, between cf Skt. स्मत (smat), together; Proto-Germanic *midi > Ger. mit, Eng. mid, Dt. met, Isl. með, D./Nor./Swe. med) + Classical 3rd declension fem. noun «ὤψ» ο̄́ps --> eye, face, countenance (PIE *h₃ekʷ-, eye cf Skt. अक्षि (ákṣi), front side; Arm. ակն (akn), eye; Proto-Germanic *augô > Ger. Auge, Eng. eye, Dt. oog, Isl./Nor. Nynorsk auga, D. øje, Nor. Bokmål øye, Swe. öga).
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    You were right about the general nature of the root word, just not the effects of prefixes on it.

    The root is related to English "solid", to which the closest Latin form of it was "solidus", although in most other situations there's a "u" after the "sol". It meant "solid, whole, intact, durable, healthy, strong". Latin "u", which was also treated as our "w" when another vowel followed it, has a tendency to end up as "v".

    (...) English "loose" is related to "lax", "relax", "release", and even "lease", which came from the meaning "let go", as in letting your property go to someone else's use, and it was once used as a verb for letting things loose (like an arrow on a bow-string or an animal on a chain). I don't see how a relative of that word can be "solve" unless there was a metaphor I've never heard of in which a problem was like shackles or a prison, from which the solution would set you free.

    "Lösen" looks like the infinitive of the verb you'd get if you treated "los" as a verb. "Los" is not a verb but is generally associated with action. For example, the question "Was ist los" means "what is happening", and a carnival ride operator will often shout "Los!" right when he's throwing the riders upside-down or up to the top of the ride's height or such. So if it were verbed with the meaning of "take action", then "ist gelösen" or "hat gelösen" would indicate having already taken action in the past, which would imply a present state resulting from that action. So it's easy to see the participle becoming a separate verb on its own for creating the present state by having taken action on a previous state, and the original verb it came from degenerating into today's "los". Unfortunately for that theory, "losen" is already another verb with an unrelated meaning.
    I beg to disagree, but on the basis of etymonline.com:
    Latin solvere "to loosen, dissolve; untie, release, detach; depart; unlock; scatter; dismiss; accomplish, fulfill; explain; remove,"
    from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart" (see lose).
    As for the 'los'. You're quite right about the expression 'Los !', but I think that is an implication of letting go (loslassen), and that 'los' is a state as such, like in Dutch. But in combination with a verb, it refers to action indeed, or at least quite often.

    But do tell me if I am mistaken...
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Some options in Spanish, depending on context.

    Resolver un problema (to solve it)
    Afrontar un problema (to face/front face a problem)
    Descifrar un problema (to decipher it)
    Aparcar un problema (to park it)
    Ignorar un problema (to ignore it)
    Lidiar con un problema (to fight with it)
    Acostumbrarse a un problema (to get used to it)
    Convivir con un problema (to live together with it)
    Formular un problema (to formulate a problem)
    Crear un problema (to create a problem)
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I'll use the Spanish template for Portuguese:

    Resolver um problema (to solve it)
    Enfrentar um problema (to face/front face a problem)
    Decifrar um problema (to decipher it)
    Ignorar um problema (to ignore it)
    Lidar com um problema (to fight with it)
    Acostumar-se a/com um problema (to get used to it)
    Conviver com um problema (to live together with it)
    Formular um problema (to formulate a problem)
    Criar um problema (to create a problem)
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Great, thanks!

    Just by the way: what I am mainly interested in, are the metaphorical ones, espcially the ones aiming at a solution, like
    - lid(i)ar, worstelen/ wrestling with (not fighting in Dutch) )- I suppose you mean: you have to deal with the problem
    - afrontar/ enfrontar: as far as I can see we might say: het hoofd bieden [putting forward the head], which I would consider stopping the problem, but I suppose you mean facing a problem, like having a problem. Or...?
    The others seem too defeatist or so. ;-) No, I have just realized that my focus is fighting a problem, but I shoul have specified that...
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Now I need to ask one more question : I suppose lid(i)ar means fighting the problem, whereas our wrestling (worstelen met) just means facing the problem, try to survive, but looking for a solution is not implied by the expression. We can also say: we are "geconfronteerd met" ("confronted" with) a problem, which means about the same thing as worstelen, but I guess your afrontar/enfrentar means fighting the problem.
     
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