The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Language  % width posts: 42

Rzeczpospolita Polska - translation?


skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
6 Feb 2011 #1
I wonder why the term Rzeczpospolita Polska becomes the Republic of Poland in English?

Wouldn't the term Commonwealth of Poland make more sense? Both as a literal translation but also in the historical context? For example the Polish-Lithuanian Union was called the Commonwealth of Poland & Lithuania in the English speaking world.

So why is it Republic today?
alexw68
6 Feb 2011 #2
Both as a literal translation

Not really - it's a direct calque of the Latin Res Publica. Hear you about the history, though - but these terms aren't always bandied about with much honesty. The late Roman republic was an autocracy in all but name.
OP skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
6 Feb 2011 #3
Not really - it's a direct calque of the Latin Res Publica.

Well, yes Res Publica is for the word Republic, Republika but as for as Rzeczpospolita couldn't "pospolita" be translated as "common" and "rzecz" as an item, object, article? Thus an object of the common people, the Commonwealth?
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
6 Feb 2011 #4
Res = thing, object
Publica = public, common

Still, no one talks of the Roman Commonwealth. Why?
alexw68
6 Feb 2011 #5
Still, no one talks of the Roman Commonwealth. Why?

Because it wasn't one. Other nations in the Roman Republic/Empire (call it what you will) were subject peoples. British Empire might be an appropriate analogy here, but the British Commonwealth (full title, Commonwealth of Independent Nations) for sure isn't.

The 'Polish Commonwealth' term is a British gloss, rather than a straight translation. It's not attributable to the original term it's attempting to 'translate', but to the English reader the connotations of a community of nationalities - which the Polish Commonwealth indeed was - obviously strikes a chord. It's quite possible to be a Commonwealth and a Republic at the same time (though the structure of the British commonwealth, with the Monarch at its head, is of course anything but)
OP skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
6 Feb 2011 #6
Res = thing, object
Publica = public, common

Again, you're explaining the origine of the word republic or republika. The word rzeczpospolita doesn's seem to come even close to the Latin res publica.
alexw68
6 Feb 2011 #7
The word rzeczpospolita doesn's seem to come even close to the Latin res publica.

Erm, it's an exact(ish) word-for-word substitution, no?
OP skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
6 Feb 2011 #8
My point is that the word rzeczpospolita and commonwealth seem to be a much better, more accurate match. After all there's the term republika in Polish too, correct?
alexw68
6 Feb 2011 #9
Quite possibly. But with translation of these kind of terms, convention is nine tenths of the law. Anyway, what is inaccurate about the English word 'Republic' in this context? It is an accurate representation of the political set-up, and it's fair to say that ethnic diversity in the Rzeczpospolita is NOT the agenda point it was under the Commonwealth, so the latter term would in fact be misleading.
Lenka 3 | 2,068
6 Feb 2011 #10
Erm, it's an exact(ish) word-for-word substitution, no?

Yes it is.And the word commonwealth was typically English invention.In Polish it was also Rzeczpospolita.
Torq 32 | 2,897
6 Feb 2011 #11
There is a word "republika" in Polish, but it's only used for foreign countries
(Republika Czeska, Chińska Republika Ludowa etc.) or, as a general term,
for a form of government. "Rzeczpospolita" is used almost exclusively for
Poland (occasionally you may see the word used in historical context i.e.
"Rzeczpospolita Rzymska" or "Rzeczpospolita Wenecka".)

So, in other words, there are many republikas in the world, but there
is only one Rzeczpospolita. Such is the contemporary usage anyway.
It would sound quite unusual if someone spoke of "Rzeczpospolita Czeska"
or "Chińska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa".
Varsovian 92 | 634
6 Feb 2011 #12
Oh my goodness! At last someone has discovered that Polish too has idiosyncratic expressions that don't fit snugly into English.

"Old" Rzeczpospolita = Commonwealth
"New" Rzeczpospolita = specifically modern Polish republic harking back to former glories.

Sad, but true.

They also choose other weird expressions like voivod and marshal, as if they all have exuberant handlebar moustaches and rides around on horseback wielding sabres and lances.
Bzibzioh
6 Feb 2011 #13
Should we apologize for our rich history and traditions, too? Or at least be little bit ashamed of it?

Its you who is weird.
alexw68
6 Feb 2011 #14
Bzi, you've completely missed the point. Varsovian is having a bit of a laugh at the expense of almost, but not quite well informed foreigners' views of Poland - not the actual history as it was.

Come on, you must know the lines from Oliver Goldsmith's "The village schoolmaster"

And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That that small head could carry all he knew.


Read between the lines. Was this man really a fount of knowledge, or merely happy to give that impression? Anyway, same sense of humour applies.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,101
6 Feb 2011 #15
The term 'Rzeczpospolita' had been conceived by our ancestors as the Polish word-for-word translation of the Latin term 'res publica'. At the time of its first appearance in Polish, that other term, the term 'republika', might well have not existed in the language at all. As it had been conceived later on, both of them have started to be used paralelly, the former term "Rzeczpospolita" taking preference over the latter in home political contexts and as the official name for the polital entity consisting of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The term was adopted by force of tradition for the name of independent Poland which re-appeared on the map of Europe after 1918.

Before the word 'republika' had come into usage, it was natural for 'rzeczpospolita' to be used as a common noun (which is very unusual these days), as in this old literary cliche: 'takie będą przyszłe rzeczpospolite, jakie ich młodzieży chowanie".
OP skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
7 Feb 2011 #16
So, in other words, there are many republikas in the world, but there
is only one Rzeczpospolita. Such is the contemporary usage anyway.

I see your point, so basically republika and rzeczpospolita have the same Latin origin and commonwealth is derived from the same Latin words in English. Well, to me the Commonwealth of Poland sounds so infinitely better than the Republic of Poland but it is what it is. I think they should've used Rzeczpospolita for the Polish speaking population and Commonwealth for the English speaking world, why do they have to use the same term everyone else is using? I think PRL spoiled it for me, even though it was Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa many people said it was Polska Republika Ludowa because after all it was the effect of Soviet Army's rape of the prewar Rzeczpospolita.

Bzi, you've completely missed the point. Varsovian is having a bit of a laugh at the expense of almost, but not quite well informed foreigners' views of Poland - not the actual history as it was.

Well, I haven't been in Poland for decades but I'm in touch with many family members who travel to Poland several times a year, so I'm not as ignorant of Rzeczpospolita III as you'd think.
Ironside 49 | 10,452
7 Feb 2011 #17
My point is that the word rzeczpospolita and commonwealth seem to be a much better, more accurate match.

Your instinct is good, much better than Poles on PF:)
pospolita - means in this context - common
OP skysoulmate 14 | 1,297
7 Feb 2011 #18
Thank you and using the term Commonwealth would be such a great way to differentiate Poland from the Russian controlled "respublika" plague even more.
plk123 8 | 4,150
7 Feb 2011 #19
Poland is definitely NOT a commonwealth

a republic is a state or nation where the supreme power lies with its citizens;
a commonwealth is an allied group of republics

For example the Polish-Lithuanian Union was called the Commonwealth of Poland & Lithuania in the English speaking world.

not really as the official name was actually "Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania" but in reality it was more of a commonwealth then a true union (except between 1791-95)

Rzeczpospolita Polska = Res Publica Poloniae = Rebublic of Poland
alexw68
7 Feb 2011 #20
Well, I haven't been in Poland for decades but I'm in touch with many family members who travel to Poland several times a year, so I'm not as ignorant of Rzeczpospolita III as you'd think.

Chill, my friend. I would include myself in the category of almost, but not quite well informed foreigners long before looking at anyone else :)

* But I still think Plk123 has the right take on this :) *
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
7 Feb 2011 #21
Russian controlled "respublika" plague even more

Russian controlled?

You do realise that it's the Russian Federation in official language, don't you? Russia has never been a republic - and the republics that make up the Russian Federation are autonomous only in name. If anything, you want to blame France, not Russia.

I think they should've used Rzeczpospolita for the Polish speaking population and Commonwealth for the English speaking world, why do they have to use the same term everyone else is using?

Commonwealth is hardly unique either (Virginia, Kentucky, Dominica, Australia, et al) - and really, in English, is used more when a State doesn't have full independence. It would also be incorrect - Poland is Poland, it's not made up of autonomous constituent parts, nor is it part of something bigger.

Don't forget - "common wealth" also has undesirable socialist tones.
Ironside 49 | 10,452
7 Feb 2011 #22
Poland is definitely NOT a commonwealth

Well, Poland is not a republic either !

a commonwealth is an allied group of republics

Yeah, but it is definition in English language, for English speaking people.
The term of commonwealth is right as a way of convening the meaning of term Rzeczpospolita.
Torq 32 | 2,897
7 Feb 2011 #23
Well, Poland is not a republic either !

Yes, it is - according to Polish constitution.

Ustrój polityczny Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Trzeciej Rzeczypospolitej[1]) określony jest
Konstytucją Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej uchwaloną przez Zgromadzenie Narodowe 2 kwietnia
1997 roku. Zgodnie z jej treścią Rzeczpospolita Polska jest republiką parlamentarną.

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ustr%C3%B3j_polityczny_Polski
Ironside 49 | 10,452
7 Feb 2011 #24
Yes, it is - according to Polish constitution.

However Rzeczpospolita is not republic, we have a name for republic. Rzeczpospolita is only there because in 1918 they were trying to connect Poland from before 1795 to the new one, hence term Rzeczpospolita.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
7 Feb 2011 #25
However Rzeczpospolita is not republic, we have a name for republic.

You just don't give up, do you? Rzeczpospolita = Res Publica = republic. End of.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rzeczpospolita
Ironside 49 | 10,452
7 Feb 2011 #26
End of.

It is really simple - concentrate !
Long time ago, nobles in one country were looking for a name which would express the best political reality and their aspirations. Where, being a noble started to mean something akin to being a Roman Citizen in the ancient Rome. Using the Latin language daily was only natural to them to look for inspiration to ancient Rome, and more contemporary Republic of Venice.

Yes, the name Rzeczpospolita derives from respublica but conveys quite different meaning of the content - Rzeczpospolita was so unique at the time that the name deserves respect- just check history books.

That in short, I have no time to spend all day and lecture people.
:)
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
7 Feb 2011 #27
The term of commonwealth is right as a way of convening the meaning of term Rzeczpospolita.

Yes, the name Rzeczpospolita derives from respublica

Well, Poland is not a republic either !

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poland

Wiki Poland officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska; Kashubian: Pòlskô Repùblika; Silesian: Polsko Republika)
Torq 32 | 2,897
7 Feb 2011 #28
Yes, the name Rzeczpospolita derives from respublica but conveys quite different meaning
of the content - Rzeczpospolita was so unique at the time

Jaysus, Iron. Rzeczpospolita is essentially just another word for Republika.

It is traditionally used for Poland in most cases, but it was also used for other republics
(i.e. Rzeczpospolita Rzymska, Rzeczpospolita Wenecka.)

Now, get over it, will ya? ;)
Ironside 49 | 10,452
7 Feb 2011 #29
aysus, Iron. Rzeczpospolita is essentially just another word for Republika - accept it.

Essentially and historically Rzeczposolita is the name for RPI! The only reason for using this term in 1918 was history.
I know that the term nowadays in Poland is explained as republic and I have no problem with that. However I think that essentially this term should be used to describe historical RP, we have term republika in the language for a reason.

Now, get over it ;)

OK! OK!
Just saying that the name looses in translation - something else than republic would be in order !
over and out
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
8 Feb 2011 #30
However I think that essentially this term should be used to describe historical RP, we have term republika in the language for a reason.

It's not a bad idea. But Rzeczpospolita Polska just sounds so much better than Republika Polska!

Isn't the whole idea of Rzeczpospolita designed to show that the II and III RP should be considered to be successor states of the I RP, rather than for any practical reason? Likewise with the French Republics. The English name naturally follows practicality rather than convention.

(always thought it was odd that the PRL used Rzeczpospolita rather than Republika - you'd think they would have wanted to have a "clean break" with the past)


Home / Language / Rzeczpospolita Polska - translation?
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.