Les Intraduisibles: English-Spanish


As a noun the Spanish "compromiso" corresponds to the English "compromise" (even if it carries the additional meaning of commitment). Yet, the verb "compromise" does not exist in Spanish language. The reflexive form, comprometerse, means to commit oneself. But no Spanish verb does the job of the English "to compromise"? None describes the process of negotiations that leads to a compromise. Only derogatory variants come to mind, such as "transar." As in other cases, one may suspect that linguistic loopholes reflect differences in social and political practices. But possibly such simple suspicions are closer to social prejudice than to the empirical logic of ordinary language.

Schedler Andreas 4/13/2002