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When I was reading the novel "Дикая охота Короля Стаха" by belarusian writer Uladzimir Karatkievich , I stumbled upon this phrase:

А они детей из Ярков шкодовали?

I searched for this verb, "шкодовать," in many dictionaries, but didn't find it in any one.

Intrigued, I got the original text, written in the Belarusian language, and noted down the original phrase:

А яны дзяцей з Яркоў шкадавалі?

In Belarusian, according to wiktionary, the Belarusian verb шкадаваць can mean щадить.

https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%88%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%B0%D1%86%D1%8C

So, is there a verb "шкодовать" in Russian?

My bet is that "шкадаваць = шкодовать" is a sloppy translation, a blunder, and there's no such verb as "шкодовать" in Russian.

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  • Yes, it's not a Russian word. I've glanced through the Belarusian original, it means жалели here. I'd translate this sentence as "Were they feeling sorry for Yarkov kids?" Jan 24 at 18:18
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    Honestly I find Belarusian classics too depressing. Jan 24 at 18:23

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Without any context, I was unable to grasp what this word means here because my first assumption was that it's a cognate to the Russian word шкодить (to be mischievous). Only given the context and the fact that I know a bit of Ukrainian (Ukrainian шкода means "жалко", "it's a pity"), was I able to work out what this word means here.

So there's:

  • Ukrainian шкода which means "вред" or "жалко", and шкодувати which means "жалеть", "щадить".
  • Belarussian шкада which means "жалко", "жаль" and шкадаваць which means "жалеть", "щадить".
  • Belarussian шкода which means "вред".
  • Russian (dialectal or dated?) шкода which generally speaking means "вред" or "шалость", and Russian шкодить which means "озорничать".

It's indeed very strange to translate a regular Belarussian word into Russian using some surzhyk Ukrainian word, which evokes confusing connotations in Russian. I agree that this is a bad translation.

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https://vuzdoc.ru/63421/literatura/slovar_dialektnyh_trudnyh_ponimaniya_slov

I don't think it's a bad translation — it's a dialectal word used in Полесье, a region where all four countries meet: Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. So as a dialectal word, it isn't very common in Russian. But the translator could have at least mentioned that in his comments.

https://ru.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Полесье

There are a lot of words like this in any language, used by locals, here are some dictionaries as examples:

http://gramota.ru/slovari/types/17_4

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    Dialectal word? Yes indeed, but the dialect in question isn't a dialect of Russian, it's a dialect of Belarusian or Ukranian according to the Wikipedia article
    – MrDudulex
    Jan 21 at 20:50
  • MrDudulex ... you don't understand the situation between Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian language, which are most closest to each other. And even more so in "border" areas. It's not about rare single words. There are different points of view that in general the Belorussian language and the Ukrainian language are dialects of Russian :> By this reason your words here don't have a distinct meaning. Jan 23 at 0:47
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I have never heard that particular verb in my life. But you need to understand that, in principle, in the inflectional-synthetic language, you can create a verb from any existing noun (for example, from "шкода" - prank, rowdiness, something like this: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Шкода_(значения) ) - and its meaning will be clear. Well, when it is clear and when not, and to whom exactly....

There is quite such an dialect form or ukrainianism "шкодить"; And this "шкодовать" is obviously a continuous form from this...


As for the Belorussian word шкадаваць, it is clearly a different word, and it's just a mistaken translation in the book.

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