Neologism - volunteeriat

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Neologism - volunteeriat

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:04 pm

I was at a political meeting last night. One of the speakers gave us a word, which he said was Catalan, to describe the army of volunteers that is required to do almost anything these days. A group of volunteers - The VOLUNTEERIAT. I think it is brilliant.
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: Neologism

Post by tony h » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:38 pm

Excellent. Can I coin, in the same vein, The Protestoriat - for the army of people who turn up to whatever protest happens to be on.

Mid you it sounds more soviet than Catalan - but I know nothing.
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: Neologism

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:04 pm

This Catalan page says:

"Què és el voluntariat?

El voluntariat és el conjunt d’accions que porten a terme les persones que dediquen una part del seu temps lliure a realitzar un servei als altres o a la comunitat, d’una manera solidària, per voluntat pròpia i sense esperar res a canvi."

This translates as follows:

"What is volunteering?

Volunteering is the set of actions carried out by people who dedicate part of their free time to serve others or the community, in a solidary manner, of their own volition and without expecting anything in return."

The only English translation for the Catalan word voluntariat given by Google Translate is 'volunteering'. I found this corroborated when I looked up the same term here and here. Volunteeriat (thus spelled) is not a Catalan word.

So I think the speaker you heard, Bob, was stretching the truth rather beyond breaking point.

Nevertheless, I do like 'voluntariat' or 'volunteeriat' as a potentially useful English-language term for referring collectively to those people who devote their time to voluntary causes without payment.

I consulted to see what other terms there are ending in -ariat for denoting a collective of individuals. It produced the following list (edited to remove non-relevant hits):

1. commentariat ("Members of the news media considered as a class")
2. commissariat
1) A department for the supply of food and equipment.
2) A government department of the Soviet Union before 1946.")
3. lumpenproletariat ("(especially in Marxist terminology) the unorganized and unpolitical lower orders of society who are not interested in revolutionary advancement.")
4. proletariat(e)
("1) [treated as singular or plural] Workers or working-class people, regarded collectively (often used with reference to Marxism)
1.1) The lowest class of citizens in ancient Rome.")
5. salariat ("Salaried white-collar workers.")
6. secretariat
("1) A permanent administrative office or department, especially a governmental one.
1.1) treated as singular or plural The staff working in a secretariat.")

To this can be added precariat, which has not yet made it into Onelook's database, but which defines as "people whose lives are precarious because they have little or no job security."

This suffix reminded me of another one that is used to designate particular collectives of individuals, namely -ati. Onelook (edited) again:

1. culturati ("Well-educated people who appreciate the arts.")
2. digerati ("People with expertise or professional involvement in information technology.")
3. glitterati ("The fashionable set of people engaged in show business or some other glamorous activity.")
4. illuminati ("1) People claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge of something.
1.1) A sect of 16th-century Spanish heretics who claimed special religious enlightenment.
1.2) A Bavarian secret society founded in 1776, organized like the Freemasons.")
5. literati ("Well-educated people who are interested in literature.")

(All definitions above except for 'precariat' are from

So as a generalization, -ati denotes some sort of elite group, while -ariat denotes a non-elite group.

Re: Neologism - volunteeriat

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:18 pm

Thank you Erik. I think my colleague has done me a favour. :D
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

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