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  • uglajèn; uglajènost

    "behaving, acting in accord with social rules and not causing complications or tensions" – SSKJ

    This word describes a quality that is highly valued in Slovene society. It is actually the past participle of the verb ugladiti, which means "to smooth out (the rough spots)." Curiously, in English, words relating to "smooth" generally have negative connotations when applied to people: smooth-talking, slick, glib. The exception is "polished," but that suggests someone who stands out, whereas the Slovene uglajen suggests someone who fits in. So I am having trouble finding a simple translation. Here is what I have come up with: well-mannered, mannerly, polite. Any suggestions?

    May 7, 2008

  • This question, by the way, is in relation to an essay, by Renata Salecl, about the Austrian who kept his daughter in a dungeon and fathered seven children with her. Salecl is commenting on the fact that because Fritzl was "uglajen", his neighbors, and even the Austrian police, never wondered about what was going on in private. Her essay is titled, "Nasilje uglajenosti", which perhaps translates as "The Violence of Well-Manneredness" – but that is more than a little awkward.

    May 7, 2008

  • Conforming, innocuous, Mr Average. I agree rolig, there is no neat translation. The concept is actually quite subtle.

    May 7, 2008

  • Thanks very much for your suggestions, bilby!

    Conforming and innocuous are certainly part of the picture, but the tricky thing is to find a word that suggests this is a positive, desirable trait. I think mannerly or well-mannered may come the closest. A friend of mine today told me that a person who is uglajen is also well-groomed and neatly dressed, so presentable is also an option, which by the way works better for the title of Salecl's essay: "The Violence of Presentability."

    May 7, 2008

  • also perhaps "cultured, sophisticated"

    July 29, 2008

  • It can probably be translated as a modo (or ammodo) in Italian. It describes a well-mannered, respectable person (lit. something like "the right way").

    Ammodino (diminutive) is sometimes used in a slightly pejorative sense (someone who shows off/feigns his/her being ammodo).

    July 29, 2008

  • "respectable; respectability" is perhaps a good choice.

    September 21, 2009