"My favorite character in this fairy tale is an Englishman."
Translation:Мой любимый герой в этой сказке — англичанин.
I have the Oxford Russian-Rnghlish Dictionary, 4th edition (2007). It gives the following translations for герой: " hero; (literary) (действующее лицо) charácter; главный г, protagonist" It then adds, separately, one of its in-text boxes on life and culture in Britain, the US and Russia, here explaining briefly the term Герой Российской Федерации as the highest honorary title in Russia, awarded for heroic deeds.
I wrote: "в этой сказке мой любимый герой - англичанин" and it was considered wrong by Duolingo. I am very frustrated because in the previous exercise they placed the prepositional at the beginning of the sentence. Would a native speaker, please confirm that the order of the words in Russian could be altered and the sentence still makes sense. I was taught this in another Russian course that I took.
No, it's a nice and natural translation. See the discussion below.
If геро́й were only used for main characters, we wouldn't need the phrase гла́вный геро́й 'main character'.
герой as character, really? This is a horrible translation. From ru.wikipedia.org: Геро́й (от др.-греч. ἥρως, «доблестный муж, предводитель») — человек исключительной смелости и доблести, либо главное действующее лицо литературного произведения. That is not just a "character."
You’re looking at the wrong Wikipedia article. :) This sentence uses the meaning described in the article «литературный герой», not in «герой». The latter got an unqualified article name because it used to be the original meaning of the word; however, here we're talking about the fairy-tale, which is a kind of literature, so we use the meaning of «геро́й» related to the literature. And 'character' is a good translation.
The most important sentence of the article you cite is the third sentence: Зачастую литературными героями называют лишь более важных действующих лиц (персонажей). Those others are "characters." The герой (or герои) would be "hero." A character is anyone in any story, whether major or minor, good or bad, whether Macbeth or "third man in bar." There is no way it can ever serve comfortably in a one-on-one translation for герой, even the relatively more generous (and I read that ru.wiki article as being far less generous than you seem to think it is in this regard) meaning that литературный герой might have.
Зачастую литературными героями называют лишь более важных действующих лиц (персонажей).
Please note that:
- it is the second meaning given (firts meaning is «образ человека в литературе», 'an image of a person in literature'; this includes anyone, "a third man in the bar"), and 'the more important characters' is the alternative meaning;
- «зачасту́ю» 'frequently' implies it's not used always.
If «геро́й» meant the only main characters, we wouldn’t need the phrase «гла́вный геро́й». But we do. Because «геро́и» are not implicitly «гла́вные».
one-on-one translation for герой
We're not talking about one-on-one translations, we're talking about a translation in the context of the sentence «Мой люби́мый геро́й в э́той ска́зке — англича́нин». I believe in this context 'character' works pretty well.
Okay, an interesting point: for future reference, the only place I found that explains this well for an English speaker is http://translate.academic.ru/%D0%B3%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B9/ru/en/. It's fascinating that it seems to be an artifact of the Soviet era, maybe with so many Герои советского труда, герои советской културы, герои советской нумисматики, that the word became devalued in a way I've seen in no other language. Note that the литературный герой article links to the de.wikipedia "literarischer Figur"; "Held" obviously has the English meaning. And the entry in Даль makes it clear that this was a twentieth-century development. Now, is the word used often enough in this sense, is the difference important enough, to put up with all the bitching that will follow on the heels of everyone getting it wrong the first two or three times?
Yes, the word is used extremely often in the sense of "character." It was used as such ad nauseum in my intro Russian classes, to the point where i think "character" before I think "hero" when I see "герой."
(Granted, an inordinate amount of time is spent in intro Russian classes talking about characters in stories. Then again, Russians are a very literary people ;) )
No, that's a correct translation. Well, "персонаж" might be a more accurate translation, but "герой" is OK. When children are taught about how books are structured, plot works etc. the term used is almost always "герой"
Submitting this as a report would ensure that the course authors saw it.