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"making" money vs. "getting" money

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JJJJ
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Hi. Im fluent in finnish, swedish and fairly fluent in english, and have been thinking about this topic for a while. I've always liked the english phrase of "making" money, when discussing your salary/income, as it implies clearly that the money(the value) you make when working is actually "made" or created by you, and that you are not just some passive recipient of some already existing cake. In finnish, "making money" is not used, and usually when someone is talking casually about his salary, they use the term "i get x amount of euros in salary". It is an absolutely horrible term, and there is really no distinction between it and the terms used when discussing welfare benefits etc. A person on welfare will use the same term "i get....." as a person who actually produces.....

In swedish, the term "earned" is used, and it's obviously better than the term "get", but still doesn't really convey the whole message.

Im interested in if there are any other languages where the term "making money" is used? Im also interested in whether the term "making money" is used in the UK&Ireland, Australia etc. Im interested in seeing if there is any correlation between the economic systems and phrases used for income in different countries. I know there are people from around the world here, so a quick introduction of the situation in your language would be appreciated

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From the "Money Speech" in Atlas Shrugged:

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose--because it contains all the others--the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money.' No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity--to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.
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Im interested in if there are any other languages where the term "making money" is used?
"Make" might be idiomatic to English. Is there a word for "earn" in Finnish? In contemporary Hindi, there is a word for "earn" [कमाना], and that is the most used when talking about salary.
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In Finnish there is the term "tienata", "tienata rahaa" - "earn money".

Ps. I sometimes use the words "make money"("göra pengar") in swedish. The meaning gets a little distorted because this is what you would say if you were going to actually print the money, so puting it that way might raise a few eyebrows. Howver, I have found that a lot of people get it. Swedes are generally pretty good at english so it's easy to make that connection.

Edited by Alfa
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"Earning money" is very different than "making money". "To earn money" simply means that you worked for it, and deserve it. "To make money" implies that there was less wealth before the work took place, and you are "creating wealth". If there was a static supply of wealth, you could still "earn money", because you gathered it through your work.

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In Finnish there is the term "tienata", "tienata rahaa" - "earn money".
Interesting: North Saami has "diinet ruđa", same construction.

I don't think one can draw valid conclusions about the sociopolitics of a culture from the conventional translation of a word in one language into English, since for example I think Norwegian "gjøre" as Portuguese "fazer" could be legitimately translated as "make" or "do" thus affecting the conclusions about how to translate "gjøre penger" and "fazer dinheiro". And "tjene" as in "tjene penger" could be translated as "earn" (pretty good as a world view), "profit" (okay) or "benefit" (wait, what? That sounds socialist).

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In Hungarian, we use the verb "to search." E.g., "I search for Ft 500,000 a month"--this means "I have a monthly salary of Ft 500,000." The same term is used when you're talking about an entrepreneurial profit rather than a fixed salary. It has a distinct meaning of earning, so it would never be used for receiving dole. I am not sure about its etymology, but I like how it emphasizes the fact that you always need to seek out your wealth--that there is no automatic way of securing it. And, needless to say, I also like the endless stream of puns that this term has given rise to! :lol:

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Id personally consider the phrase 'make money' to be odd if used by someone who wasnt running their own business, self-employed, or a partner/director in a large firm. If youre being employed by someone else then 'earn' or 'get' seems more appropriate - the money a salaryman 'makes' belongs to the company hes working for, and he'll only receive a fraction of it back (the amount that his boss has decided he's earnt).

Edited by eriatarka
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Id personally consider the phrase 'make money' to be odd if used by someone who wasnt running their own business, self-employed, or a partner/director in a large firm. If youre being employed by someone else then 'earn' or 'get' seems more appropriate - the money a salaryman 'makes' belongs to the company hes working for, and he'll only receive a fraction of it back (the amount that his boss has decided he's earnt).

Doesn't his productive effort make money for the company of which he gets to keep a portion?

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...the money a salaryman 'makes' belongs to the company hes working for, and he'll only receive a fraction of it back (the amount that his boss has decided he's earnt).
It is not that he makes money and the company owns it. The company makes money. When economists speak of the rising "productivity of labor", what they often mean (routinely in the case of low-skilled labor) is that something other than the laborer is making more money: typically, the machine or the "organizer". Edited by softwareNerd
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If youre being employed by someone else then 'earn' or 'get' seems more appropriate - the money a salaryman 'makes' belongs to the company hes working for, and he'll only receive a fraction of it back (the amount that his boss has decided he's earnt).

It's not only the boss's decision (if that were the case, all salaries would be $0.00). It's the result of the supply of and demand for the particular service performed by the employee, just like an entrepreneur's profit is determined by the supply of and demand for the product he is selling. There is no essential difference between making money by selling your services and making money by selling your products.

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Lithuanians use only 'get'. For them, 'to make money' means only printing money for us. And the main paradox of our society is that if person hasa lot of money, it means he has stolen it - one way or another. Probably communism is to be blamed here, then all people were made equal by poverty...

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There is no essential difference between making money by selling your services and making money by selling your products.
Indeed. Thus we don't also say that the entrepreneur who creates, makes and sells a wonderful new product that he "gets" his money -- from the customers who decide how much he "gets" for his product.
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Lithuanians use only 'get'. For them, 'to make money' means only printing money for us.

Interesting. That's how it's seen in Mexico, too. The phrase "to make money" would mean printing it or manufacturing it.

In Spanish there's no real equivalent to the verb "to earn." The closest one is "ganar," but that also means "to win." If someone says "Me he ganado mi salario," he does mean "I've earned my salary." But a person who won at lotto would say "Me he ganado la loteria."

I've this notion that all languages are more or less equivalent. That is to say, anything expressed in one language can be expressed with exactly the same meaning in any other language. However languages are not equal, that is some languages are better at expressing certain thigns than other languages.

If you think of words as tools for expression, then some languages are large collections of tools and others are smaller collections (and some tools do double or triple duty). The kinds of words a language contains reflect the culture that produced them. Therefore it is useful to see the kinds of expressions that are more easily made in various languages.

For example, and I use this one a lot, the Russian word "nichevo" means something along the lines of "it can't be helped," "there's nothing to be done about it." You see a simple word in Russian takes an entire sentence to translate to English. Translating it to Mexican Spanish is easier, requireing only two words: "Ni modo." What does that mean? That both Russian and Mexican Spanish can more easily express fatalism than American English. And that's an accurate reflection of these cultures.

(BTW I use the term "Mexican Spanish" because Spanish varies widely in the various countries using it. A Mexican national can understand a Nicaraguan or a Spaniard just fine, but there will be some missunderstandings in word usage even if none use any slang. Likewise English as used in America is not quite the same as that used in Britain or Canada.)

Conversely, the American phrase "Can-do spirit" is harder to render into Mexican Spanish. I really can't think of a good translation beyond expressing some sort of general optimism. It would require an explanation rahter than a simple translation. So it can be expressed in Mexican usage Spanish, but it looses the flavor of the original expression sompletely.

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In Lithuanian, "to earn money" is a difficult phrase to say. "To earn" might be translated to "Nusipelnyti", that might also mean to put a lot of effort in something, like for earning public trust, peoples' love, etc. or much more convenient "Uždirbti" [uzhdiribti], what means to work in order to get money("dirbti" means "to work"). Lithuanian researchers claim that Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages in the world and they count about 2000 years of it's existence without major changes. That makes it very difficult even for ourselves. One word often has more than ten different forms: "to be getting money" - "uždarbiauti", "to be manufacturing money illegally" - "padirbinėti pinigus". "ė" is a gem of Lithuanian - not many languages has this letter.

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For example, and I use this one a lot, the Russian word "nichevo" means something along the lines of "it can't be helped," "there's nothing to be done about it." You see a simple word in Russian takes an entire sentence to translate to English. Translating it to Mexican Spanish is easier, requireing only two words: "Ni modo." What does that mean? That both Russian and Mexican Spanish can more easily express fatalism than American English. And that's an accurate reflection of these cultures.

Nichevo literally means simply "nothing", but is also idiomatically used as D'kian notes.

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Nichevo literally means simply "nothing", but is also idiomatically used as D'kian notes.

Thanks. I dind't know that. I've seen it used idiomatically, I now realize, in novels with Russian characters. My boss, who leaarned Russian from his parents, did confirm that meaning.

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I've this notion that all languages are more or less equivalent. That is to say, anything expressed in one language can be expressed with exactly the same meaning in any other language.
You've probably crossed the line from philosophical reflection to scientific hypothesizing. Whatever, I am willing to stake my reputation on the claim that this is a true fact, for good reason.
However languages are not equal, that is some languages are better at expressing certain thigns than other languages.
Here, however, we need a metric of evaluation (implied by "better"). You should of course say what you had in mind in saying "better". There is one sense in which I agree: that the number of words[FN] required to convey exactly proposition X (as opposed to Y) is inversely proportional to the goodness of a language. In other words, if you need more words to unambiguously say X as opposed to Y using Spanish as opposed to Finnish, then Finnish is a better language that Spanish.

[FN: Specifically, I mean word distinctions with a non-compositional relation, so that "cook" and "cooker" are non-compositionally related because you don't know what a "cooker" is from knowing the semantics of -er plus the meaning of "cook", but you do know what "cows" are from knowing what "cow" is and what "-s" is (idem "poika" and "poja-n" in Finnish)]

The kinds of words a language contains reflect the culture that produced them.
Ergo we have the North Saami vast efficiency of expressing varying concepts of reindeer color, age, sex, and reproductive concepts in two-syllable roots which demand half-dozen to full-dozen word expressions in English, I find it totally non-odd that in English we've just got "reindeer". 'Cuz I've never seen a gabba, rotnu, áldu, heargi or varit in my neighborhood in Ohio.

BTW, we have an expression in English that beats the pants off of the idiomatic Russian "nichego" for shortness in a word, namely "Meh".

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In Portuguese the usual phrase for making money, be it a salary or business profit, is "ganhar dinheiro", which is "win money" (like in a lottery). It says a lot about how much brazillians understand the causes of wealth. I sometimes use "fazer dinheiro" (make money) which most people get, and sometimes "criar dinheiro" (create money) if I'm trying to make a point of it.

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Thanks for the answers....

Another thing about the english language I like, is that you have no word of your own for schadenfreude, being happy of someone elses misfortunes. In finnish the term "vahingonilo" and in swedish the term "skadeglädje" are used, and they mean the same thing as schadenfreude.

Envy, hating the good for being the good, and the resulting schadenfreude when voting to steal their money, are the three major cornerstones of the finnish politics and culture, so it's not surprising that finnish is one of the languages that has a word for schadenfreude.

Edited by JJJJ
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I've this notion that all languages are more or less equivalent. That is to say, anything expressed in one language can be expressed with exactly the same meaning in any other language.

You've probably crossed the line from philosophical reflection to scientific hypothesizing. Whatever, I am willing to stake my reputation on the claim that this is a true fact, for good reason.

So how do you say "I rode my motorbike to the shopping mall to buy a USB modem for my laptop" in Ancient Greek? :)

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So how do you say "I rode my motorbike to the shopping mall to buy a USB modem for my laptop" in Ancient Greek? :)
Well, I didn't say that I could say anything in any language. My Ancient Greek is a bit rusty but there are two ways to do it. Recalling that "motorbike" is a compound of "motor" and "bike" which is itself short for "bicycle" using the Greek word κυκλος, we know that languages can take words from other languages (and thus the Greco-Roman yet English word "motorbike"). One could create the words μοτορβικον and μωδεμον that way; or if one had a Greek dictionary, one could do it with more traditional Greek roots. I don't why we're using a modem in this day and age, but in the worst case you'd express that as "box that changes discrete representations of sound into continuous ones and back again". Adrian Hester probably could do it with classical roots in 5 minutes.
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