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The Russian language has the past passive participle ("нарезанный") and the present passive participle ("нарезаемый"), but does not have the future passive participle, whilst the Latin language does. It is called gerundive. I am curious how I can elegantly and precisely translate gerundives to Russian.

Let's consider this well-known Latin phrase:

(1) mutatis mutandis

The phrase is in the ablative case, with both words being participles of the verb "mutare" ("to change"). The first word is a past participle ("having been changed"), whilst the second word - a gerundive ("to be changed"), so the meaning of the whole phrase is "having changed what is/has/needs to be changed," with the ablative case showing that the clause is a necessary condition for the rest of the sentence.

A typical Russian translation of Phrase (1) is "с заменой того, что подлежит замене," but this is really an ugly bulky construction that is more than two times longer than the original Latin phrase. I want something elegant.

Another example:

(2) agnus caedundus (a lamb to be slaughtered)

One more example:

(3) Carthago delenda est.

Sentence (3) literally means "Карфаген является подлежащим уничтожению," but is often expressed in Russian as "Карфаген должен быть разрушен," which is still almost two times longer than the original Latin phrase and apparently somewhat changes the connotation just as the phrase "the exercises for doing" has a connotation different from the phrase "the exercises must be done."

My question is this: Is there an elegant tool in the Russian language to translate gerundives in Phrases (1)-(3)?

I am looking for a Russian grammatical tool or trick that allows a short elegant translation that is not substantially longer than the original phrase and does not alter the connotation.

  • под замену, под нож, под снос – Quassnoi Jul 10 at 15:06
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    @Quassnoi : Карфаген под снос, у меня баран под нож, и с заменой всего под замену? – Mitsuko Jul 10 at 15:38
  • Yes, but it's not a generic answer, it just fits (more or less) nicely for these very three examples. – Quassnoi Jul 10 at 15:40
  • "elegantly" is a very vague term. – shabunc Jul 10 at 17:02
  • @shabunc : Is it why you just downvoted the question? :) – Mitsuko Jul 10 at 17:08
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Each case should be addressed separately, there's no single rule.

Let's start with wikipedia:

В русском языке похожее значение иногда могут иметь прилагательные на основе пассивных причастий настоящего времени с суффиксом -м-: например, непобедимый означает тот, которого невозможно победить (ср. с нормальными причастиями типа гонимый — тот, которого гонят, а не тот, которого следует гнать).

What politely called "иногда" in the article is to be honest almost never. There's no gerundive in Russian language and there's no one-to-one correspondence between language constructs.

For instance, "танцующая" is "та, що танцює" in Ukrainian - literally "та, что танцует" - in Ukrainian there's no participles at all. But asking a question like "what would be better to say, this sound clumsy to me" would be a strange thing to do.

That said, it seems strange to me that you've actually googled before asking - and, for instance, it's easily found that "mutatis mutandis" can be translated like:

  • с заменой того, что подлежит замене
  • с учётом соответствующих различий
  • с изменениями, вытекающими из обстоятельств
  • с необходимыми изменениями

But for some reason you've choose one of them, called it typical and than labeled it bulky and ugly.

As of the rest of phrases listed - following the excellent comment from Quassnoi, one can say something like "ягнёнок на убой" for "agnus caedundus" and indeed, "Карфаген на снос" (like you know, "судью на мыло") - but exactly this form will sound funny to a Russian speaker. When it come to languages, elegancy is not always about making something shorter.

  • Thanks for the answer. I chose that translation because it seemed to me to be the only one preserving the precise meaning, and also that translation is the first variant suggested on the legal website I referenced in my post. – Mitsuko Jul 10 at 17:07
  • @Mitsuko i translate mutatis mutandis as с соответствующими поправками (still longer than the original), Russian is neither Latin nor even English, sad but true, маємо те, що маємо – Баян Купи-ка Jul 10 at 17:55
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    @БаянКупи-ка I honestly see nothing sad about this, each language is expressive in it's own unique way. – shabunc Jul 10 at 17:57
  • i see it as an ironic sadness – Баян Купи-ка Jul 10 at 17:57

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