Sunday’s Word Salad

18 08 2019

New York

We know it’s silliness.

First off, last season, the average player salary was $6.1 million while the median was $2.5 million.  Those of you with at least a rudimentary knowledge of statistics know what this means when the average is so disconnected from the median.  Either way, there aren’t $2.5 million slaves, anywhere.

Second, there must not be any real problems in this world, if this is a BFD.

But if there’s any there there to any of this foolishness, it’s for the fact that American English as a language uses “team” to refer to both the organization/business and the men.  Most people get it.  They know that the owners own the business, and the business employs the men, not that the owners own the men.  Yet and still, the homonymic nature of “team” in this context may contribute to this muh slavery mentality.

That’s a problem that the country I’m in does not have.

In German, “Verein” means team as a business and organization, while “Mannschaft” (literal translation of the parts is how it appears:  Man shaft), means the team as the men and players.  The owners own the Verein, so nobody ever thinks they own the Männer in the Mannschaft.  “LeBron James returns to the team after recovering from an injury” would use Mannschaft;  “Steve Ballmer is the sole owner of the team” would use “Verein.”

Note:  “Verein” could also mean “society,” but in the context of a tangible organization.  Gesellschaft (lit.: Fellow shaft) means society in the abstract.  “Cancer Victims Support Society” would use Verein, while “Society’s declining morals” would use Gesellschaft.  But to make matters more confusing, add “Aktie” in front of “Gesellschaft” and you’re back to a tangible organization, i.e. a publicly traded corporation, “Aktie” = Joint stock.  Aktiegesellschaft, abbreviated as AG, which is why you see AG behind the big German corporations.  BMW AG, Siemens AG, Bayer AG.

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this sort of thing.  “Free” in English could be free as in speech, or free as in beer.  In German, you use “Frei” to mean speech (to the extent that Germans actually have it — Ed.) and “Kostenlos” (lit.:  Cost-less) to mean beer.  Even though I’ve seen “Kostenfrei” on occasion in the wild.

I better stop before I go any deeper down this Kaninchenbau.

Point being, sometimes you wish English was as wordy as German. (???)  And that the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is A Thing.




One response

19 08 2019

“Corporate” means wildly different things from its orginial meaning in Anglo English (a group of people with a “corporate” identity). Why should similar words be any different?

The HRE may have been battling zero for three, but they were very big on defining the “corporate” natures of different groups.

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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