Are you a Pollyanna?
I stumbled upon this word in the TV series Designated Survivor and wondered how to translate it into other languages.
is the main character of a book by Eleanor H. Porter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollyanna
. Pollyanna is a very optimistic girl and so the term Pollyanna is used to address or talk about overly optimistic people.
In the series one person called another "Pollyanna!" and wanted to express that the other person was very naive, in the Turkish, Russian and Italian translation they just kept the word Pollyanna, whereas in the German version, they didn't even mention it (not even by translation) in the subtitles but said in the dubbed version "Du bist so naiv!" (You are so naive). In French they wrote "miss naive" in the subtitles but I couldn't catch at all the word that they used in the dubbed version. Something like "bisolorouse". I know this word doesn't exist. I just wasn't able to hear it any better. Anyway, in Germany, Pollyanna isn't a known term, so there was no other way, than to translate it somehow. As they didn't translate in a couple of other languages, I'd like to know, if the term is known and used in other languages apart from English as well or if you would have translated it differently.
On another note, it's very interesting to learn about the Pollyanna Principle
that says, that we tend to focus rather on the bright side of things. That's why we tend to remember past events more favorably than we experienced them at the time: https://positivepsychology.com/pollyanna-principle/
Doctor Clay Jones puts it this way: “Anyone who isn’t clinically depressed is on some level more like Pollyanna than Eeyore” (2014). We may not think we’re very positive, but it is written in our very DNA to look on the bright side—we all have a built-in capacity for positivity, but whether we actually embrace the Pollyanna Principle and set our sights on the positive or succumb to negativity is almost entirely up to us.
The article also explains the person-positivity bias:
It is based on the observation that people tend to like individuals more than the groups that the very same individuals compose (Sears, 1983). You might recognize this in some of your daily conversations—have you ever heard someone say something like, “I generally don’t like Red Sox fans, but you’re alright!” or “I hate lawyers, but this one’s not so bad.”
This tendency to see the positive in individual people causes us to make “exceptions” and—generally—to continue with our established view of the group or groups to which they belong. For example, this phenomenon helps explain why racist people can have a friend who is a member of a racial minority but still see that race as inferior or undesirable overall.
I think this is something you can also see here in this forum. You might not like a certain group of people, but would still have a positive attitude towards a language partner from the group you dislike for whatever reason.
The article then continues explaining the Lake Wobegon Effect:
It also describes the tendency to filter out the negative and focus on the positive, but in one specific area: when it comes to yourself! Many of us tend to overestimate our strengths, talents, and capabilities and see ourselves as better than others in one way or another (White, 2012).
In psychology, this is known by a more precise name: the self-enhancement bias. It exists in all domains and facets of life, causing us to think we’re more hard-working, funnier, more attractive, better drivers, more skilled, and more honest than the people around us.
I guess a lot of self-assessments of language skills here are influenced by the Lake Wobegon Effect... ;)
So, what are you? A Pollyanna or an Eeyore? Do you perceive individual people more favorably than the groups they belong to? Are you affected by the Lake Wobegon Effect?