"Ilya Zeldes" <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes on Thu, 20 Aug 1998:
<<In regard to the RWeissJGS@aol.com mention, that I failed <to note that the
modern meaning of "skazka" is "fairy tale">. You may remember, that my post
was about translation of <OLD RUSSIAN> term into <MODERN ENGLISH>. For this
purpose, the modern meaning of the old Russian term is meaningless!
Here again, I shall point to the hazards of <translation>...>>
Ah...But the point of my comment completely escapes Dr. Zeldes.
Perhaps he or any other Russian scholar can tell us how and why the Russian
word "skazka" changed its meaning in the 279 years to have taken on the modern
meaning of "fairy tale". Knowing the process of transformation of a word is
far >from being "meaningless". I suspect that dismissing this as a "hazard of
translation" may result in discarding valuable insights on the society of our
ancestors and its record-keeping processes.
I challenge Dr. Zeldes to use his native knowledge of the Russian language,
his access to academic references (maybe some older Russian/Russian
dictionaries) and a little imagination to shed some light on the
transformation of the word "skazka", and to share the resulting knowledge with
And again, I recommend that interested persons read AJGS Minigraph #101 "Dead
Souls of Satanov" (see your local JGS librarian for a copy you may borrow) to
better understand my original comments. I am not so naive to believe that
errors and deceptions do not occur in all surveys and censuses. Language
changes to reflect a society, and when a language may change to reflect the
aspect of fabrication in a census I find that a fascinating study that could
be instructive to genealogical researchers.
Robert Weiss in Palo Alto