Finnish abbreviations

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Mikko H.
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Post by Mikko H. » 02 Jun 2006 14:28

Is "tribe" or "tribal" necessarily something referring to savage "natives" or "aborigines"? Are there any good examples elsewhere of the usage of "kindred"?


Cambridge International Dictionary of English defines 'tribe' as follows:

a group of people, often of related families, who live together, sharing the same language, culture and history, esp. those who do not live towns or cities and do not have industry or writing


This makes it obvious that in the English language the word 'tribe' refers to relatively primitive indigenous peoples, 'natives'. It's true the Finnish usage of word 'heimo' usually means just that (like in alkuasukasheimo), but it is IMO obvious that in heimopataljoona the meaning is different. Here it means a people that is closely related to someting (in this case, of course, to Finns). Thus, IMO, 'tribe' is misleading translation of 'heimo' in this case.

I would still suggest Kindred Battalion (or Kindred People Battalion) as a translation for heimopataljoona, unless someone comes up with a better translation of 'heimo-'.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 02 Jun 2006 17:58

Hanski wrote:
Harri wrote:"Ilmasuojelu" [= Air Protection] does not mean the same as "Ilmavalvonta" [= Air Surveillance].
Thank you for correcting me on this one. So, it sounds like "Ilmasuojelu" as a whole would come close to the term "Väestönsuojelu", which generally translates into English as civil defence, but in this context covers military objects as well.


Exactly. It was a militarily led organization which had also civilian personnel.

Hanski wrote:Thus, I guess it could be best translated as Air Raid Protection.


Yes, air protection without "raid" really sounds a bit like nature conservation but it is a direct translation. I agree sometimes unit names and such can't be translated quite literally. I have self used the non literal part in parenthesis: "Air [Raid] Protection [Organization/Corps]". I think "Civil Defence" would also be fine in this case. (Neither "Civil Guard" is a direct translation of "Suojeluskunta".)

Hanski wrote:I object to using Olonets rather than Aunus when translating names of Finnish Continuation War time units, even though Olonets would be the Russian (and accordingly English) original name of the location. The whole point to be made in WWII was the togetherness and joining of peoples of fenno-ugric descent, so calling it Aunus would emphasize the Finnish viewpoint and suit better to the spirit of the venture!


To me everything which can be translated should be translated. While Aunus is Olonets in English it is better to use that name. Any case we talk about the same place.

Hanski wrote:Is "tribe" or "tribal" necessarily something referring to savage "natives" or "aborigines"? Are there any good examples elsewhere of the usage of "kindred"?


I have discussed about this with several people (also English teachers) and they all have preferred to "kindred" in this context.

Aren't "tribe" and "tribal" basically the same words but tribal is used like an adjective (it explains what kind of "battalion" is in question)?

Hanski wrote:"Soturi" literally means warrior (who has learned this trade in practice rather than in formal training), rather than "sotilas", a militarily trained soldier; as the Aunus or Viena militiamen had not gone through Finnish conscript training, I think calling them warriors would sound correct both symbolically and practically, and I think it would be appropriate to maintain the word in the translation.


To me "warrior" refers too much to a primitive ancient soldier. I think nowaday's warriors are called "soldiers".

These battalions were to be manned by "heimosoturit" [kindred folks soldier] who were the veterans of the so called "heimosodat" [tribal wars 1918 - 1921] and refugees from Aunus [Olonets] and Viena Karelia as well their sons.

Hanski wrote:The best candidate for AHSP would then be Aunus Tribe Warrior Battalion, unless someone comes up with a better name for a subunit of nation than tribe.


I think AHSP should be "Olonets Kindred [Folks] Soldier Battalion". While "soldier battalion" is basically the same as a mere battalion then we get "Olonets Kindred Folks Battalion".

Hanski wrote:What about "folks" then, isn't it a bit colloquial in tone? At the end of Warner Brothers cartoon movies, as the final text appears "That's all, folks!" :lol:


That annoyed me too initially. But I have seen the translation "Olonets Kindred Folks Battalion" used in many occasions in Finland. For some reason it "sounds" also rather good for example compared to "Aunus Tribe Warrior Battalion" or what do you think? :?

Mikko H. wrote:...IMO, 'tribe' is misleading translation of 'heimo' in this case.
I would still suggest Kindred Battalion (or Kindred People Battalion) as a translation for heimopataljoona, unless someone comes up with a better translation of 'heimo-'.


That is a tricky one but I agree with Mikko. We would also need opinions of native English speakers. Zygmunt?

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Hanski
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Post by Hanski » 02 Jun 2006 18:22

Fair enough -- after having read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribal_wars , I agree to abandon the "tribe".

One thesaurus on the Web listed "Blood" as an alternative -- somehow that sounds appealing to me if not taken too literally, because the idea was to emphasize the "blood relationship" of Finnic peoples. But maybe it is too hard to combine it in this battalion name without creating an association to blood transfusions!

Even though "soturi= warrior" refers to a primitive ancient soldier, that's just what it did at the time when this battalion was named -- it was precisely meant to evoke glorious symbolism dating back to ancient history, to justify "re-joining" the Aunus (sic! Not Olonets, for the same reason as why Petrozavodsk was renamed to Äänislinna) people back into the family of Finns. I cannot remember any other contexts when the word "soturi" would have been officially used in the Finnish Army, except perhaps in "vapaussoturi", or Liberation Warrior (= Freedom Fighter) of 1918. So it can be regarded as an honorary title, despite of having a connotation towards primitiveness.

I know in English "next of kin" means the closest relative, but are there any known "kindred/kinship" units formed on ethnic basis anywhere else in military history? After checking some results of Google searches, I get the impression of "kindred" coming close to the Finnish expression "hengenheimolaisuus", or more spiritual than ethnic kinship.


Aunus Kindred Warrior Battalion?
Aunus Kinship Warrior Battalion?

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 03 Jun 2006 18:20

What about "Olonets Kindred Campaigner Battalion"? It is a bit clumsy to me but actually a very accurate translation.

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Hanski
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Post by Hanski » 03 Jun 2006 22:05

Harri wrote:What about "Olonets Kindred Campaigner Battalion"?

Are you sure "campaigner" necessarily means a fighter? Couldn't it also mean someone active in a political election campaign, or a commercial sales promotion campaign? I think warrior has all the pride in it that soturi does; warships are named with solemn enough names, and there is a museum ship H.M.S. Warrior docked at Portsmouth harbour, which speaks for the emotions that that word evokes.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 03 Jun 2006 22:29

Hanski wrote:
Harri wrote:What about "Olonets Kindred Campaigner Battalion"?

Are you sure "campaigner" necessarily means a fighter?


According to my dictionary it means the same as warrior.

Hanski wrote:Couldn't it also mean someone active in a political election campaign, or a commercial sales promotion campaign?


There are also military campaigns.

Like I said earlier we should define the Finnish word "heimosoturi" [kindred fighter/soldier?] first. It is really close to "vapaussoturi" [freedom fighter] but to me "kindred fighter" don't sound good in this context. I think we are now back in my original proposal "Olonets Kindred Folks Battalion" which is the best translation so far (despite of the additional "folks" :lol: ).

There was also "Heimopataljoona 3" (HeimoP 3) which should be easier to translate, or? :|

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Post by Tero » 18 Jul 2006 09:05

By Harri

Hanski wrote:
Harri wrote:What about "Olonets Kindred Campaigner Battalion"?

Are you sure "campaigner" necessarily means a fighter?


According to my dictionary it means the same as warrior.


Good one that. :D

Hanski wrote:Couldn't it also mean someone active in a political election campaign, or a commercial sales promotion campaign?


There are also military campaigns.

Like I said earlier we should define the Finnish word "heimosoturi" [kindred fighter/soldier?] first. It is really close to "vapaussoturi" [freedom fighter] but to me "kindred fighter" don't sound good in this context. I think we are now back in my original proposal "Olonets Kindred Folks Battalion" which is the best translation so far (despite of the additional "folks" :lol: ).


IMO the best sounding term would be Olonets Ethnic Battalion. The reason for this is the term warrior (or whatever you choose to prefer) is redundant since battalion refers to military anyway. The term ethnic is more to my liking because kindered refers in my mind close blood (and family) relations while ethnic refers to both (perceived) cultural and, well, ethnic relationship. (I would also prefer to use Aunus instead of Olonets but for the obvious chance for misinterpretation in case of spelling errors. ;))

There was also "Heimopataljoona 3" (HeimoP 3) which should be easier to translate, or? :|


IMO it should be translated Ethnic Battalion 3. :)

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Post by janner » 02 Sep 2006 11:21

If I might offer an opinion based on English/English military language use as there are military cultural nuances a civilian English teacher would be unaware of but which I have picked up from coming from a military family and my own career as an Infantry Officer. (I do not feel I could comment on American/English)

On the word "tribal": The British Infantry is inherently tribal by nature and uses this term to describe our Regimental System of regionally recruited units. See British Army at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regiment but it does not appear in regular unit titles.

But if we look further we can see extensive historical use by the British Army of locally raised formations - often identified by diverse terms such as xxx Frontier Force, xxx Scouts, xxx Legion etc. See http://www.the-south-asian.com/April200 ... hans-1.htm

All could actually describe trained and equipped troops in well motivated and socially coherent units and still existing in the form of the Brigade of Ghurkhas and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, as well as English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish units. However “Tribal” or “Levy” within a unit title would indicate a poorly trained and equipped indigenous force – using local techniques and best described as “Warriors”. “Soldier” implies a professional bearer of arms – be they a volunteer or conscript – in the service of the State.

Campaigner doesn’t mean fighter as the verb to campaign is not the same as to fight – it does have an aspect of durability and possibly being a veteran and the two have some linkage but neither would normally appear in a unit title. Warrior is similarly emotive and whilst used for our current Infantry Fighting Vehicle (indeed I was once held the job title of Warrior Captain!) it would indicate a primitive unit.

Okay, on to the nitty gritty – Aunuksen heimosoturipataljoona

On Olonets v Aunus – neither is English so in this case Aunus should be used as it features in the original unit title – one would not translate Royal Ghurkha Rifles as Royal Nepalese Rifles as it would lose the historical/cultural context. Additionally the Ceylon Regiment would not now be re-titled the Sri Lanka Regiment because the world has moved on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lankan_Army

Pataljoona is easy as it has already been identified as Battalion.

So that leaves the tough bit heimo is clearly tribe or family and soturi is warrior but what is the intention in the original Finnish and can such a culturally embedded concept be translated? The use of ethnic in the title would be more American/English based on its use in the American Civil War to describe Black Regiments.

The training and ethos may make an investigation of the term militia pertinent. Militia, Fencibles and Yeomanry in England and Southern Scotland goes back to the Anglo-Saxon Fyrd and has a strong community based aspect. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/fami ... ilitia.htm
But again these were for local defence rather than normal deployment as a Regular Battalion.

In WW1 the British coined the term “Pals” – see http://www.pals.org.uk/ - and this might go some way to convey the sentiment behind the unit title but still leaves something missing as it was a nickname rather than official title which was normally xxth Service Battalion, the xxth Foot and Mouth Regiment. So, in my opinion, an English/English Military translation would probably be Aususian Volunteer Battalion – “Aususian” would indicate the people (or folk) of Ausus, whereas Ausus would only indicate location, so you have the tribal part, and “Volunteer” shows a desire rather than an obligation to fight and thus a true warrior.

I hope that my opinion is of some use here.

On a separate point:

Ke.V = kengitysvarikko = Shoeing Depot

kengitysseppä = farrier.

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Post by Mikko H. » 02 Sep 2006 15:57

Janner, thank you for this uniquely insightful information! And welcome to the list!

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Post by Tero » 03 Sep 2006 06:58

By janner

On Olonets v Aunus – neither is English so in this case Aunus should be used as it features in the original unit title – one would not translate Royal Ghurkha Rifles as Royal Nepalese Rifles as it would lose the historical/cultural context.

Additionally the Ceylon Regiment would not now be re-titled the Sri Lanka Regiment because the world has moved on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lankan_Army


A closer to the Finns is as an example is Gönigsberg/Kaliningrad. Nobody in their right mind would substitute Königsberg with Kaliningrad prior to 1945 in any repsectable historical study. Yet, the more recent Finnish historians have opted to use in their English captions (like in the history of the Finnish AFV's) the Soviet names for locations in the ceded areas whereas in the Finnish captions they used the proper Finnish names when talking about the pre-1945 era. That is propably due to the fact the Finnish parliament past a law some time ago which forbad the use of the old Finnish names when talking about the locations in the ceded areas as much because of the fact the authors think the Soviet names are somehow more familiar to the foreign clientel. The problem with that is all other translated Finnish works all use the Finnish nomenclature so IMO the use of Soviet names in pre-1945 setting is politically correct BS.

(For a time the old names disappeared from the Finnish maps but they have started to appear again recently.)

Granted, Aunus has never been an established part of the Finnish republic and Olontest is the proper indiginous name. The British kings named George are called Yrjö over here and Vyborg is still Viipuri to us so using Yrjö in the translated text would be improper but the use of Aunus (properly spelled mind you :)) should IMO be as OK as the use of Viipuri instead of Vyborg . Ceterum censeo Finnish names for places in the ceded areas should always be used when talking about the ear prior to 1945.

The use of ethnic in the title would be more American/English based on its use in the American Civil War to describe Black Regiments.


Another discussion would be if the Black Regiments were called Negro Regiments at the time of their inception. :)

The training and ethos may make an investigation of the term militia pertinent. Militia, Fencibles and Yeomanry in England and Southern Scotland goes back to the Anglo-Saxon Fyrd and has a strong community based aspect. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/fami ... ilitia.htm
But again these were for local defence rather than normal deployment as a Regular Battalion.


The Finnish army already sported Suojeluskunta as the basis and in some cases backbone of its units and since Suojeluskunta was the Finnish militia the term militia is not viable in this case.

In WW1 the British coined the term “Pals” – see http://www.pals.org.uk/ - and this might go some way to convey the sentiment behind the unit title but still leaves something missing as it was a nickname rather than official title which was normally xxth Service Battalion, the xxth Foot and Mouth Regiment.


All Finnish regular reservist units were "Pals" because of the fact the units were formed up regionally so all the men from a village would be in the same platoon/company and the whole district would make up the platoon/company.

So, in my opinion, an English/English Military translation would probably be Aususian Volunteer Battalion – “Aususian” would indicate the people (or folk) of Ausus, whereas Ausus would only indicate location, so you have the tribal part, and “Volunteer” shows a desire rather than an obligation to fight and thus a true warrior.


The case of the Estonian formations is much clearer. The problem with this term in the Aunus case is the fact not all Aunusians (Soviet Karelians really) were of ethnically Finnish origin. Thus a very large part of them were not elligible for the formation. Nor was there (AFAIK) a formal HIWI-style arrangement in use in the Finnish sector so any and all ethnically Russians in the Finnish service were Finnish nationals naturalised in the 1920's after they had fled Soviet Russia after the revolution. Ethnically non-Finnish POW's and people in the occupied areas were not allowed to work within the Finnish military system in any position which would have allowed them access to sensitive data.

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Post by janner » 03 Sep 2006 09:57

Tero,

Thank you for your informative response. It is not for me to criticise the choice Finnish historians make when translating place names indeed I have encountered similar confusions in other works covering Finland: In his Northern Crusades, Eric Christiansen gets in a real bugger’s muddle as he bounces between Swedish, Finnish, Hanseatic and even English place names. My personal opinion is that it is better to use the original name in its historical context – especially when an English reader is as unlikely to have heard of Olontest as Aunus – but understand the pressures Finland and hence her academics were under after 1944.

The Finnish army already sported Suojeluskunta as the basis and in some cases backbone of its units and since Suojeluskunta was the Finnish militia the term militia is not viable in this case.


Agreed, my intention here was to run through various British military historical titles and discuss there usage in order find the best fit. But also provide detail as to why – from my perspective – certain ones could be discounted.

All Finnish regular reservist units were "Pals" because of the fact the units were formed up regionally so all the men from a village would be in the same platoon/company and the whole district would make up the platoon/company.


I’m sorry that I failed to be clearer on this – the whole of the British Infantry (less the modern day Parachute Regiment) has traditionally been based on regional units. At this time the average British Regiment had two Regular (full-time) Battalions, one of which would be UK based and the other overseas, two or more Territorial (part-time) Battalions, and two or more Reserve Battalions made up of officers and men who had completed Regular Service (3 years but often much more). So a Territorial Unit would have platoons and company drill halls in most large villages and towns and is a possible State sponsored equivalent to Suojeluskunta. The Pals were something slightly different – but either way not suitable for use here! :wink:

I think that using Aunusian over Olonetsian may be of use in trying to show a Finnic emphasis to the unit.

It can often be difficult to translate terms which have a strong cultural/historical grounding – especially as the receiving language also has its particular stand point. I’m not saying my suggestion is perfect but merely trying to bring another perspective to bear.

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Post by Tero » 03 Sep 2006 19:31

By janner

My personal opinion is that it is better to use the original name in its historical context – especially when an English reader is as unlikely to have heard of Olontest as Aunus


Agreed. Assuming they have not cleared the hurdle of having actually heard of the existence of a place called Olonets in the first place I would not think the use of Aunus would confuse the English language reader any more than the use of Olonets would. :)

– but understand the pressures Finland and hence her academics were under after 1944.


Funnily enough the law on the usage of pre-1944 names was passed in the late 80's/early 90's.

And just today there was a piece of news on a riot in the ceded areas and they used both the Russian and Finnish name.

Agreed, my intention here was to run through various British military historical titles and discuss there usage in order find the best fit. But also provide detail as to why – from my perspective – certain ones could be discounted.


Agreed.

I’m sorry that I failed to be clearer on this


You were perfectly clear. :)

The Pals were something slightly different – but either way not suitable for use here! :wink:


In a way the British Pals were not very far from the Finnish system because of the fact that the people in the unit knew each other intimately (after all we were only 3,5 million at the time). The Finnish system was built so that the members of the unit from the company (even regimental) CO to the lowest orderly were on the first name basis. The fact that they joined up together and were "promised" they would serve in the same unit was selfevident and not a special morale booster like it was in the British Pals system.

I think that using Aunusian over Olonetsian may be of use in trying to show a Finnic emphasis to the unit.


Agreed.

It can often be difficult to translate terms which have a strong cultural/historical grounding – especially as the receiving language also has its particular stand point. I’m not saying my suggestion is perfect but merely trying to bring another perspective to bear.


Fully agree. If the translation gets complicated the KISS approach is IMO the best.

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Post by janner » 03 Sep 2006 19:56

Tero,

And just today there was a piece of news on a riot in the ceded areas and they used both the Russian and Finnish name.


Nothing in the English Press - surprise - what's it all about?

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Post by Tero » 03 Sep 2006 20:06

janner wrote:Tero,

And just today there was a piece of news on a riot in the ceded areas and they used both the Russian and Finnish name.


Nothing in the English Press - surprise - what's it all about?


In Kondopoga/Kontupohja there was some ethnic hubbub, rioting ensued and the town council has asked the Karelian parliament to deport all the people from Caucaisia.

http://www.iltalehti.fi/uutiset/2006090 ... 2_uu.shtml

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Post by Janne » 04 Sep 2006 09:06

I'd very much like to learn more about this alleged law about the use of Finnish place-names in the ceded areas...

(But, please, not another rehash of some urban myth; a simple reference to the relevant law shouldn't be too much to ask for.)


Kontupohja is not located in the ceded area. Its Russian name is quite simply a translitteration of the Finnish name.

(The riots in the news was sparked by a gang fight between Russian locals and recent arrivals of Caucasian origin in which two Russians were killed. The Russians also accuse the Caucasians of overtaking the local market trade and of belonging to the various ethnic mafias. Among other things a restaurant owned by Chechens was torched down before OMON troops moved in.)


The authors of the history of Finnish armoured vehicles are not historians, but amateur hobbyists. FWIW I don't think their reasons to use Soviet names in the English text has anything to do with any kind of political correctness - I'd assume that the intention was to hep the foreign reader to find the places on maps that are more likely to be readily
available to him.


To janner: I find "Aunusian Volunteer Battalion" an excellent translation. One could equally talk about the Finnish people as "the Finnish tribe" as about the various Karelian tribes, and the word "tribe" carried a strong national and Fenno-Ugric romantic connotation and a meaning of inclusion.. Even the Hungarians who aren't that closely related were called "tribal brothers".

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