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"Róbta, co chceta" - Polish slogan meaning and usage


Polonius3 994 | 12,367
14 Jan 2016 #1
The classic example is the appeal to young people "Róbta co chceta!" (Do whatever you damn please). That undermined all the efforts of parents, schools and the Church to raise young people to be decent human beings, not "anything goes" idiots. He eventually apologised and stopped using it, but the harm had been done. Young people are exposed to enough bad influence from the popcultrue industry, so people attracting them to something essentially good such as charitable involvement should strive to be authorities rather than seeking cheap popularity.
mafketis 37 | 10,880
14 Jan 2016 #2
(Do whatever you damn please)

Not very competent as schools, parents and churches if three magic words can undo all their efforts.

In the meantime, here's what he said: "Róbta, co chceta" to była nazwa mojego programu telewizyjnego z lat 90., bo rzeczywiście mogłem w nim robić, co chciałem. (...) Pełny odlot. Dzisiaj wyglądałoby to poczciwie, ale w ówczesnej telewizji było czymś świeżym. I trafialiśmy w estetykę młodych ludzi. Tymczasem "Róbta, co chceta" ze zgrozą powtarzane jest przez krytyków Orkiestry, chociaż ja tego hasła nie używam.

Since you might not have time to find a translator, here's my version (a little free but faithful enough to the spirit) Róbta co chceta" was the name of the tv show I did back in the 90s because I really could do what I wanted on it () It was crazy. Today it would look pretty tame but for TV at that time it was a breath of fresh air. And we really hooked in to what young people's tastes. In the meantime, "Róbta co chceta" is repeated in horrified tones by critics of the Orchestra, but I don't use it as a slogan"

And "Do whatever you damn please" is a clunky, old fashioned translation, maybe "Do your own thing" would be closer to the original. And note that the program hasn't been on tv for about 20 years....
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
14 Jan 2016 #3
three magic words

Those 3 words simply exemplified the depravatory climate of Owsiak's youth-rearing approach. Young people are brainwashed 24/7 by violent commercial popculture -- films, rap crap, computer games and assorted imagery -- the promotion of sexual permsiveness and inter-genrational antagonism which driven a wedge between parents and children. If someone who finally getting youth involved in something beneficial, altruistic and respectable such as a charity campaign also promotes the above, is it any wonder so many young people today are so confused and go astray?
Ziemowit 14 | 4,278
14 Jan 2016 #4
And "Do whatever you damn please" is a clunky, old fashioned translation, maybe "Do your own thing" would be closer to the original.

You are wrong on that. The phrase "Róbta co chceta" has a particular connotation which Pol's translation renders nicely. Yours has a very neutral and common meaning which is not what the Polish phrase is.
mafketis 37 | 10,880
14 Jan 2016 #5
"Róbta co chceta" has a particular connotation which Pol's translation renders nicely.

Except that it sounds like a grouchy old man (with maybe some hillbilly ancestory) and not something aimed at young people....

Yours has a very neutral and common meaning which is not what the Polish phrase is.

It comes from the late 60's or so and was associated with the hippies, and caused the same sort of moral indignation in the US that 'róbta co chceta' does in Poland (and from similar people).
Ziemowit 14 | 4,278
14 Jan 2016 #6
Except that it sounds like a grouchy old man (with maybe some hillbilly ancestory) and not something aimed at young people....

It did sound like that in the 1960s since such forms of the verb were common in the rural populations still using the local rural dialects. Thirty years later such a phrase lost the connotation of being backward and rural and was adopted as a kind of lingustic joke aimed precisely at young people who caught up with this idea very well. Byt you don't live in Poland to know that, do you?

caused the same sort of moral indignation in the US that 'róbta co chceta' does in Poland (and from similar people).

I don't think the phrase has ever caused any moral indignation in Poland. If it does, it does only in the circles close to these circles in PiS who despise Owsiak and are ready to ridicule everything associated with his actions around WOŚP. For many young people such a language was the language of their grandparents which is no longer used by themselves or their parents, so the idea of "moral indignation" in them is just as funny as the idea of Owsiak "playing" his orchestra in the streets is for the ideologically-orientated members of PiS. But again, you don't live in Poland to get this sorted out in a proper way, do you? The cultural background in Poland is completely different in Poland than it is in the US or Western Europe.
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
14 Jan 2016 #7
maybe some hillbilly

In fact, róbta instead of standard Polish róbcie is in Polish peasant dialect so roughly the equivalent of hillbilly talk.
mafketis 37 | 10,880
14 Jan 2016 #8
such a phrase lost the connotation of being backward and rural and was adopted as a kind of lingustic joke aimed precisely at young people who caught up with this idea very well.

For translation you need to take into account the cultural background and the target audience and "Do whatever you damn please" is not going to appeal to young anglophones at all (at any time or place that I can think of). And I do remember students in the early 90s joking around with such forms (also first person plural forms like róbma...)

I don't think the phrase has ever caused any moral indignation in Poland.

That's just what I was referring to. People who got upset at "do your own thing" were the US rough equivalents of the PiS and/or Rydzyk base.

so roughly the equivalent of hillbilly talk.

Okay, "Y'all do what you want to now, hear?" might be a bit closer then (though again, probably not going to resonate with them young uns, dag nabbit)
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
14 Jan 2016 #9
Y'all do what you

How about "Do whatever you f*ck all want!"
mafketis 37 | 10,880
14 Jan 2016 #10
"Do whatever you f*ck all want!"

tch tch tch, do you kiss your busha with that mouth?
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
14 Jan 2016 #11
with that mouth

I was expecting your lingusitic approval or disapproval, not smart a*se renmarks!
Would today's young Anglo get the point?
mafketis 37 | 10,880
14 Jan 2016 #12
, not smart a*se renmarks!

Never change, Polonius3, you're a rare and very special presence here. (and I'm American so smart *ss is more appropriate)

And I don't like the translation with the swear, it seems way too strong for the (pretty mild) hint of rusticicity (is that a word) in the original. I still say "Do your own thing" is the closest (American) translation though something else might be better for other varieties. If you really want to add a touch of rurality the "Do your own darn thing" maybe.
NocyMrok
14 Jan 2016 #13
Just do what you wish to do :)
kpc21 1 | 763
15 Jan 2016 #14
Maybe "do y'all whatever you want". Normally it would look "róbcie co chcecie". The version of the 3rd person imperative with the suffix "-ta" is a kind of a slang form, expressing that you really don't care what they will do.
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
15 Jan 2016 #15
"Do your own thing"

Wrong. Róbcie swoje or róbmy swoje is Polish for do your own thing. It was popular in the early Solidarity era. The suggestion being -- let the regime be and do what it does but we will just ignore it and do our own thing.

Linguistic nuances often cannot be translated.
mafketis 37 | 10,880
15 Jan 2016 #16
Wrong. Róbcie swoje or róbmy swoje is Polish for do your own thing.

Culturally, "do your own thing" is from the hippies, the folks that did woodstock, and it generated moral indignation when it was new.

Owsiak, does a music festival called woodstock and the hasło from his old tv show generates moral indignation from a similar crowd (i.e. you)

In translation terms it's about as close as you can get in terms of "dynamic equivalence" or "functional equivalence" (look it up) even if it lacks a certain degree of exactness.

That is, it doesn't translate the specific nuances of róbta... but it gets the idea across of youth rebelling against a restrictive social order (and older people not liking that). Trying to capture the rustic flavor of the Polish will make it hard to understand why the show would become popular with young people.

Similarly, the dynamic or functional equivalent of kvrwa in Polish is not vvhore but fvck (an expletive with no real meaning*).

For exmaple "Zamknij się kvrwa!"** Shut up vvhore, or Shut the vvhore up don't work as translations because no English speaker would say that, whereas "Shut the fvck up!" works as an almost perfect equivalent in English.

*most european languages have one or two of these, Spanish has different ones in different countries

**not aimed at you, it's just an easy example

Róbcie swoje or róbmy swoje is Polish for do your own thing.

I disagree. The idea of not sticking out (cause you might get hammered down) is absent from "do your own thing" (quite the opposite).

I'd suggest something more like "just do your job" and/or "don't stick your neck out" or "keep your head down". I might even go with something like "just do your job and don't think about it" for the alienation and fatalism.
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
15 Jan 2016 #18
not sticking out

You display a lack of what Germans call Sprachgefühl for the Polish tongue by either misconstruing concepts or reading into them things that do not exist. Róbmy swoje absolutely does not imply or suggest sticking one's neck out. It means simply ignoring (in this case) the PRL regime with the possible subliminal hint of a hope that maybe it'll just go away.
mafketis 37 | 10,880
15 Jan 2016 #19
You display a lack of what Germans call Sprachgefühl

I'm sure my clients will be unhappy to hear of your judgement

does not imply or suggest sticking one's neck out

I didn't say it did, I said quite the opposite. Reread please.
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
15 Jan 2016 #20
"don't stick your neck out"

You most certainly did. Here is the full quote:

"I'd suggest something more like "just do your job" and/or "don't stick your neck out" or "keep your head down". I might even go with something like "just do your job and don't think about it" for the alienation and fatalism."

"Just do your job and don't think about it" is closer to the general gist. Except job does not suggest solely or even primarily one's livelihood. "Róbmy swoje" is roughly "let's just do our own thing", in the context of early Solidarność suggesting setting up enclaves of freedom, activities not overseen by the regime, expanding the limits of what's possible.

Just curious -- why should your clients be unhappy or concerned about what some random PF poster has to say?
Ziemowit 14 | 4,278
15 Jan 2016 #21
Sprachgefühl for the Polish tongue by either misconstruing concepts or reading into them things that do not exist.

"Róbmy swoje" is roughly "let's just do our own thing"

This famous "RÓBMY SWOJE" quote from one of Wojciech Młynarki's songs was strongly placed in the world of PRL's "real socialism". In PRL and in the time after, it was understood in the way that Polo describes. But I think its meaning is deeper and not necessarily such. The text is clear in suggesting that "róbmy swoje" can mean precisely "sticking one's neck out", but not intentionally and on purpose. Thus the author meant a much more universal thing than what people thought of it in PRL Here is the fragment that depicts Christopher Columbus whom the king urges to be careful about his health, quit smoking and sailing and go to see the doctor. In reply Columbus says nothing to the king, but thinks to himself: let's do our own thing as long as we care and in all modesty, let's go sailing again and perhaps we might discover one of the Americas one day.

Raz króla spotkał Kolumb Krzyś,
A król mu rzekł: Kolumbie,
Pruj do lekarza jeszcze dziś,
Nim legniesz w katakumbie!

Nieciekaw jestem, co kto truć
Na twoim chce pogrzebie,
Palenie rzuć, pływanie rzuć
I zacznij dbać o siebie!

A Kolumb skłonił się jak paź,
Po cichu tak pomyślał zaś:

Róbmy swoje!
Pewne jest to jedno, że
Róbmy swoje,
póki jeszcze ciut się chce!
I zamiast minę mieć ponurą,
Skromniutko, ot, z Ameryk którą - odkryjmy...
Róbmy swoje! Róbmy swoje!
Może to coś da - kto wie?


Likewise, other parts of the song convey the same idea
mafketis 37 | 10,880
15 Jan 2016 #22
"Just do your job and don't think about it" is closer to the general gist. Except job does not suggest solely or even primarily one's livelihood.

What about the old African American(?) "(just) keep on keepin' on" which used to suggest carrying on with the hope that things might get better.

why should your clients be unhappy or concerned about what some random PF poster has to say?

You're right! What a relief? I can hold my Sprachgefühl high and with Stolz!
OP Polonius3 994 | 12,367
15 Jan 2016 #23
keep on keepin' on

I recall that slogan (keep on keeping on) from a novel titled "The Good Bad Boy" which we read in Catholic school. There was no Negro context, as the novel was all about Caucasian Americans.
Roger5 1 | 1,448
15 Jan 2016 #24
It's also in Bob Dylan's 'Tangled up in blue' from (?) Blood on the Tracks.
mafketis 37 | 10,880
15 Jan 2016 #25
which we read in Catholic school

Of all the Polonius 3's in the world.... you're the Polonius 3est!

There was no Negro context

Dziki też człowiek!


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