Sunday, August 07, 2005

Por-rooyi, Ta'aarof, Gheyrat, and Aaberoo

The Mocking Bird has a post about a funny piece published in Iranian.com. In a comment to her post I asked her if there is any word in English for Por-rooyi. She couldn't find any, like many others I have asked.

I wonder if having the word indicates that something annoying exists in the culture that needs to be described. Something that probably a Norwegian or French or American does not experience that often. Maybe it is for the same reason we have the word ta'aarof in our language. There is no exact word in English to describe ta'aarof. The same is true about gheyrat and aaberoo. Unlike por-rooyi these words are not invented to describe something annoying (even though they are annoying to me!) but they still represent ideas that do not exist in many other cultures, at least in the same way we have them in the Iranian culture.

10 comments:

  1. You made me really curious about what all these words mean. I have no knowledge of farsi whatsoever, but besides being interested in what phenomena they describe, I'd also like to try and find out if we have equivalents in the Finnish language (which is my mother tongue).

    Speaking of 'Por-rooyi' - is that a noun or an adjective? In English there's 'impudent', is that anywhere near the meaning?

    I read the story and got a good laugh! Mind you, the phenomenon is not completely unseen here either! I'm a translator and you can imagine the piles of user's manuals that hopeful relatives / acquaintances bring to me...gosh, I hate those situations!

    t-t

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  2. Hi it's me again! I just remembered something I read somewhere some time ago (I was stupid enough not to keep it so this will sound a bit vague). Anyway,it was an article about concepts that are difficult to convey to another language. Here's one example I found very interesting, and I'll tell it even though I've forgotten which language it was about: in some (African?) language there's a word for a person who can forgive an insult twice but not for the third time. I've been wondering why such a word has emerged, what might be the reason or the need for it. Is there some kind of linguistic law of demand and supply? I'd say there is to a certain extent - when we need to express something, we will soon have tools for it.

    t-t

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  3. I think "having a lot of nerve", "having the nerve", "having the gall", "having the audacity" come close to "por-roo", though obviously they doesn't quite capture it.

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  4. I agree that "Having a lot of nerve" is the closest thing in the English language to convey the feeling of what it means to be "por-roo". The difference is "Having a lot of nerve" to me refers to a single, isolated event, while being "por-roo" is a way of life.

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  5. What about "cocky" for "por-roo". It means boldly or brashly self-confident.

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  6. Also, audacious, insolent, or impudent may work for "por-roo".

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  7. those may come close to tryiing to explain the word porroo in a certain or one circumstance, but the fact is that its not an explanatory word, its a fact not some word that helps explain a way a person is acting, the word itself is the way the person is,, just as if you were to say,you are happy, you are getting angry, you are mad, and so on, in our culture we have you are porroo, not a circumstantial word in the same way these words are... its a lacking in culture, that's what it comes down to, morals and values and so on

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  8. I really want to know how you describe to a non-Persian what "Gheyrat" means... in the positive way! Of that a man has to have "gayrat"!?

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  9. RE: Por roo - what about obnoxious or being "up yourself" ( used in Australian English a lot), brazen, audacious, arrogant

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