Wednesday, 9 September 2009

How would you say “drag” in Armenian? (փոխհագություն)

Queering Yerevan posted an Armenian-English ‘mini-dictionary’ re the word “drag”. We do not have a straightforward, and easy to remember/comprehend, equivalent of “drag” in Armenian. Shushan Avagyan suggests փոխհագվել (փոխհագություն).

Although it’s a bit long, it seems to me OK version of “drag”. However, փոխարքա (drag king) and փոխթագուհի (drag queen) don’t sound right, as փոխ- in this case sounds more like a “deputy” (or "vice", like փոխ-նախարար, փոխ-նախագահ) in Armenian and could be confusing.

Other suggestions? If you do have one, please, leave a comment here or on Queering Yerevan.

4 comments:

Shushan A. said...

i actually like փոխարքա, it flows nicely and of course subverts (and renews) its original meaning (viceroy), a term used in armenia during the russian empirial epoch. also, it indirectly parodies and flirts with more dominent terms used today in state discourse like փոխնախարար (deputy minister) , երեսփոխան (member of parliament), etc.

i'm not so sure about փոխթագուհի . . yeah -- any ideas about this term would be great. thanks for posting this, mika.

tzitzernak said...

What are the words for transexual and transvestite? While drag is slang, and it seems you are trying to maintain that to some extent, it might make sense for the word for drag to fit some kind of consistent logic with the words for transvestite, and transexual...

artmika said...

Tzitzernak, you are right, there probably has to be a consistent logic between terminologies. There are differences between transsexual, transvestite and drag. They are not the same, and transsexual is normally translated the way it sounds in English - տրանսսեքսուալ (I don’t not know if there are any pure Armenian equivalents). In case of transvestites, you may or may not be drag, as “drag” is most frequently referred to transvestites who do a performance act, although not always. Actually, now your comment made me think that Shushan’s suggestion փոխհագություն is perhaps a better reflection of “transvestite” than “drag”, although when it is not associated with a performance act, it should be the same, I guess… See, it’s pretty difficult to get one’s head around the terminology.

Shushan A. said...

the word "transsexual" is more of a medical term (definition), as it was first mentioned in harry benjamin's book "the transsexual phenomenon" and has been in use since 1966. people in armenia use the transliterated version of the word -- տրանսսեքսուալ -- as mika is suggesting above.

another word that also needs to be coined and put into use in armenian is "transgender" -- a term that was popularized in the 70s but which took on a new political dimension recently, in the 2000s, signifying any person whose gender identity does not match his/her physical or genetic ("assigned") sex -- տրանսգենդեր?