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Miriam
Are you a Pollyanna?
I stumbled upon this word in the TV series Designated Survivor and wondered how to translate it into other languages.

Pollyanna 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?

Btw, if you want to know if people are happy in general at the moment, check out the Hedonometer: https://hedonometer.org/timeseries/en_all/.
May 15, 2020 6:56 PM
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Seems that there is a formula, even though happiness is of course subjective.

Micro-econometric happiness equations have the standard form: .
Read the explanation here:
May 15, 2020
Good stuff, Miriam.

I think that the Lake-Wobegon Effect explains why people are not going to refer to themselves as a Pollyanna. It's always someone else, isn't it? I can't think of anything similar in Czech. We'd say "naivka" or "důvěřivá" ("trusting" but only in the negative sense). We could say "každý tě opije rohlíkem" (everyone gets you drunk with a bread roll) but I've never heard of Pollyanna.

Just wondering... what's the unit of happiness?
May 15, 2020
@Tetiana
At least Eeyore has a lot of friends. I just realised that there's some conection between Eeyore and Marvin the Paranoid Android and when I googled their names I saw that I wasn't the only one thinking it.

@Ricardo
"Why you wouldn't like a whole group of people ?"
Oh, there are several groups of people I don't like because I don't like their attitutes. I don't see eye to eye with flat-Earthers and right wing extremists to name two groups. While I highly doubt that I could be friends with a right wing extremist, there is the theoretical possibility that I'd think that he's a nice person despite his absurd political views and he might think that I'm a nice person despite being a person of colour. So, we could like us on a personal basis but still not change our negative views regarding our respective groups.

@Nikola
I think a lot of people are happy withoutn knowing it. They're chasing a dream of happiness and don't see all the goods things they already have.
I tried again to find a fitting term. We could say "Naivchen" but that is more like a patsy. The best I guess is "unverbesserlicher Optimist". But it just doesn't have the same ring as Pollyanna.
May 19, 2020
Actually, there is a similar expression in Czech. We say "nebuď labuť" (don't be a swan). It only works as a sentence, probably because those two words rhyme. On its own, the word for "swan" doesn't mean someone is naive. There are various theories about why we say this. According to one of them, it's a reference to Swan Lake.
May 16, 2020
@Miriam
I had a look at the Wikipedia link you posted in your comment. I found this quite interesting:

Some scientists claim that happiness can be measured both subjectively and objectively by observing the joy center of the brain lit up with advanced imaging, although this raises philosophical issues, for example about whether this can be treated as more reliable than reported subjective happiness.

To me, that sounds like we can be happy and not know about it.
May 16, 2020
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Miriam
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)