Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 69

Thread: Translating prepositions

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    1,673

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    So, in that one dative sentence it really means "to". The accusative usage certainly throws you, if you are a native-speaker of English.
    I can see the difficlties with that accusative using the a. I don't remember the rules that indicate which verbs use it but I know there is a rule; I think they need to be action verbs.

    Unrelated to prepositions, one verb I notice gives English speaking (and others too) trouble is the verb "to be", which in Spanish has two forms with different meaning: "ser" and "estar"

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Tell me about it! I've spent years learning them, and sometimes even now I make some mistakes, because it is not natural for me to think of the differences when I write or speak. Once you've learned "ser" and "estar" and when to use the indicative or the subjunctive you really know a lot!

    As far as prepositions are concerned, there are some tricky usages in Spanish. For instance, you don't "think about/of sth", you "think in sth" (pensar en algo), and you don't "dream about sth" but you "dream with sth" (soñar con algo)! These two used to drive me crazy, but they're so weird that now I've learned them.
    The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    7,775

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Ser and estar do have more logic to them than the "a" problem, but as Loki says, they are pretty tricky at first for us poor non-native-speakers.

    I'm glad that Loki pointed out thinking in and dreaming with, idioms you have to get used to. I didn't know them.

    As for the subjunctive, there are two problems: a) knowing when to use it and b) learning the different forms. As in French, that is a whole term's work. The only thing I know as tricky regarding verbs is the imperfective versus perfective distinction in Slav languages.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Also, lest we forget: "por" and "para", although as with "ser y estar" there's some kind of logic.
    I don't think the forms of the subjunctive are that difficult; however, I may be advantaged by (in?) the fact that I am Italian, and some forms coincide.

    As for the imperfective/perfective thing, it is tricky indeed! First of all the different forms: some adds just a prefix to the perfective form, others just change the tematic vowel, others still change completely... Then, there's the basic the basic distinction of complete/incomplete actions, but it's difficult (at least for me) to get used to it.
    The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    1,673

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Once you've learned ............. and when to use the indicative or the subjunctive you really know a lot!
    This is also very much true in Italian. One of the rules of Italian language that I had trouble with was the uses of subjunctive, indicative and conditional, which are different from Spanish. In Spanish, a conditional clause linked by the adverb "cuando" (when) is formed by the present subjunctive and the future indicative, whereas in Italian the equivalent clause requires the future indicative in both partes of the sentence.

    Cuando vaya a tu casa, me invitarás a almorzar................vaya is present subjunctive.
    Quando verrò a casa tua, m'inviterai a pranzo...................verrò is future indicative.
    (When I go to your place you'll invite me for lunch)

    Something similar occurs with the present conditional.

    Si estudio, aprenderé.......estudio is in the present indicative
    Se studierò, imparerò.......studierò is in the future indicative
    (If I study, I shall learn)

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    7,775

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    For those of us whose languages hardly have any subjunctives at all, the forms of the subjunctive require extra learning.

    In English, the subjunctive is very rare and in any case looks like the infinitive of the verb. So there is only one form. The present is used in most cases where you would use the subjunctive in Romance languages.

    One handy, and rather similar, thing in German is a tense which means you don't have to have to say "he is said to have been" or "he is supposed to have been" but use a kind of subjunctive, usually "sei" or "wäre" to indicate indirect speech. A Wikipedia example is:

    Mein Bekannter sagt, er habe geheiratet. (My friend says that he's supposed to have got married.)

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiffelio View Post
    This is also very much true in Italian. One of the rules of Italian language that I had trouble with was the uses of subjunctive, indicative and conditional, which are different from Spanish. In Spanish, a conditional clause linked by the adverb "cuando" (when) is formed by the present subjunctive and the future indicative, whereas in Italian the equivalent clause requires the future indicative in both partes of the sentence.
    You're right, since I had difficulties with Spanish rules, it's normal that you had problems with Italian ones (which, incidentally, I don't know!).
    The sentences you wrote in Italian suenan raras, because the future is not much used nowadays: "se studio, passerò (or even passo) l'esame". I, for one, would never say "se studierò...".
    The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    1,673

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    You're right, since I had difficulties with Spanish rules, it's normal that you had problems with Italian ones (which, incidentally, I don't know!).
    The sentences you wrote in Italian suenan raras, because the future is not much used nowadays: "se studio, passerò (or even passo) l'esame". I, for one, would never say "se studierò...".
    I know, in colloquial Italian you guys drop many rules, as we in Spanish also do. Younger people are more prone to simplify the rules. But in more formal situations, like a teacher addressing a class or a journalist speaking on TV, or in literature those rules are more respected. Young Italians don't even respect the use of subjunctive at all, substituting it with the imperfect indicative.

    Sometimes it's more difficult to learn a new Romance language than a completely different language. Because Italian and Spanish have similar roots they seem easy to learn but in reality they have many more subtle differences than they do similarities.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    5,211

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    Mein Bekannter sagt, er habe geheiratet. (My friend says that he's supposed to have got married.)
    no. that sentence says: My acquaintance says that he married.

    It's no more complicated than that. It's a direct stand-in for the direct speech. As you said, it indicates indirect speech, and in this case the speaker is directly in front of the phrase. The tense is called Kunjunktiv I.

    Here is a good English overview over the tense and its use http://www.dartmouth.edu/~german/Gra...njunktivI.html

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    7,775

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    I just followed what the Wikpedia said. Alright, it's simpler. However, I saw the longer article on the Konjunktiv, Mirabell, and when I read a German newspaper, you find a lot of "sei" and "wäre" implying people are supposed or said to have done something, or are said to have. Could you provide a few examples of "sei" and "wäre", with exact English translations, as it is your mother tongue and you can conjure them up more easily than the rest of us?

    Here's half a sentence from the Wikipedia. How would you translate it:

    Er sieht oft aus, als wenn er in der völligen Überzeugung lebe, er sei Herr, und wolle es uns nur aus Gefälligkeit nicht fühlen lassen.
    I find it quite tricky to choose between "was", "is" and the subjunctive "were".

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    5,211

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Er sieht oft aus, als wenn er in der völligen Überzeugung lebe, er sei Herr, und wolle es uns nur aus Gefälligkeit nicht fühlen lassen. .
    In this case it's not Konjunktiv I. It's Konjunktiv II. Cf. this page here http://www.dartmouth.edu/~german/Grammatik/Subjunctive/KonjunktivII.html

    Ok so I had a discussion about this now. Strictly speaking, "sei" is KI but the construction is actually KII. The use of "sei" in the German sentence is deemed by me and the Germans looking at it somewhat unusual. Usually, the sentence would be formed with "wäre". A reason for that difference (between us and Goethe) might be that the sentence does not portray common use of German, it's a sentence from a 19th century play, and what's more, the sentence is made more complicated by the fact that the line in the play is spoken in an elevated, 'royal' register.
    Last edited by Mirabell; 26-Apr-2011 at 11:28.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    5,211

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    with exact English translations
    as we both know, this is a mythical, non-existing beast. say, like God.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiffelio View Post
    I know, in colloquial Italian you guys drop many rules, as we in Spanish also do. Younger people are more prone to simplify the rules. But in more formal situations, like a teacher addressing a class or a journalist speaking on TV, or in literature those rules are more respected. Young Italians don't even respect the use of subjunctive at all, substituting it with the imperfect indicative.
    What's the imperfect indicative? You mean "Imperfetto"? "Voglio che tu faccia">"voglio che tu andavi"?! Or you mean this: "se tu fossi venuto">"se venivi"?
    The first one is impossible. The second is totally normal, albeit not standard Italian. You don't expect a wife telling her husband "se tu fossi venuto prima, avremmo visto il film", do you?

    I've never been taught the rules of the subjunctive, and therefore it may be tricky for us Italians to know when to use it. As for Spanish-Italian differences, one we should pay attention is this: "creo que es facil" = "credo che sia facile".
    The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    7,775

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Thank-you, Mirabell, for enlightening us about the age of German expressions. One would not wish to come to Germany speaking ancient words.

    So I have another question for you: is the genitive used as much in everyday speech as the word "von"? I mean are expressions such as "des Knaben Wunderhorn" the syntactical way you would express the relationship between instrument and player in modern, spoken German? Or would a "von" come in somewhere?

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    1,673

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    What's the imperfect indicative? You mean "Imperfetto"? "Voglio che tu faccia">"voglio che tu andavi"?! Or you mean this: "se tu fossi venuto">"se venivi"?
    The first one is impossible. The second is totally normal, albeit not standard Italian. You don't expect a wife telling her husband "se tu fossi venuto prima, avremmo visto il film", do you?

    I've never been taught the rules of the subjunctive, and therefore it may be tricky for us Italians to know when to use it. As for Spanish-Italian differences, one we should pay attention is this: "creo que es facil" = "credo che sia facile".
    What do you mean you were never taught the rules of the subjunctive? I thought they were part of the obligatory curriculum in Lingua Italiana. Or maybe you are too young and they don't teach that anymore. No wonder a young wife would go with "se tu venivi" instead of "se tu fossi venuto". I mean it's acceptable but only in very informal or friendly situations. As far as I was taught (of course, Italian as a second language), that's not correct grammar. I don't hear older (educated) people speak like that, nor journalists on TV nor politicians in, say, 'Porta a Porta'.

    With respecet with Creer/Credere, in Spanish verbs carrying que go with indicative in the affirmative form but they need the subjunctive for the negative; in Italian I think they need subjunctive always:

    Present:
    Creo que es fácil..................................Credo che sia facile
    No creo que sea fácil............................Non credo che sia facile
    Imperfect:
    Creía que era fácil................................Credevo che fosse facile..........................................In this case, do you also slip into the imperfetto in an informal situation?
    No creía que fuera fácil.........................Non credevo che fosse facile

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiffelio View Post
    What do you mean you were never taught the rules of the subjunctive? I thought they were part of the obligatory curriculum in Lingua Italiana. Or maybe you are too young and they don't teach that anymore. No wonder a young wife would go with "se tu venivi" instead of "se tu fossi venuto". I mean it's acceptable but only in very informal or friendly situations. As far as I was taught (of course, Italian as a second language), that's not correct grammar. I don't hear older (educated) people speak like that, nor journalists on TV nor politicians in, say, 'Porta a Porta'.
    You are taught some Italian grammar in elementary school, but not that much.
    And you were taught standard Italian, of course, which is not used in most informal conversation. It is way too formal. Journalists and politicians find themselves in formal situations, and therefore they must speak accordingly (not everyone can though!). The Italian linguistic situation is a bit complicated, and in these years a "new standard" is emerging, which is how we talk nowadays (once again, except in formal contexts).
    When you start to see how people actually speak, you realise that many of the things that were not "correct grammar" at school are on the contrary widely used and acceptable.

    And, as for the educated people: firstly, one doesn't have to be old to be educated; secondly, being educated doesn't mean to speak always in a formal perfect way, but it means adapting to the context. One has to know how to use the different variants of a language, ranging from, say, "ehi bello come butta?" to "Buongiorno signore, come sta?".

    Creía que era fácil................................Credevo che fosse facile..........................................In this case, do you also slip into the imperfetto in an informal situation?
    In this case it would sound weirder to me, and I wouldn't use the imperfetto. But I honestly don't know why!
    The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    7,775

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Stiffelio hints at something important: register. I feel it is safest for foreigners to learn an unobtrusive version of the spoken language. If you learn only colloquial expressions, or only very formal ones, you will be out of your depth if you need to speak the language at middle-of-the-road level of formality.

    So prepositions too have to be used in a low key manner. You can write "enamoured of" in some contexts, but would probably say "in love with". And you're in trouble if the only phrase in this sphere, where liking or loving are involved, is "got the hots for" as it can only be used for purely sexual matters, as you don't have the hots for a hobby or pursuit.

    So you have to develop a sensitivity, when learning a language, for the different levels used in various situations, both spoken and written. This clearly applies to the use of the subjunctive in some languages.

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    A usage of the preposition "on" that has took me a while to learn is the kind "I haven't money on me right now". In Italian it should be translated with "con" (with) or "dietro" (behind), although I think both can be used in English as well. Anyway, we would never say "non ho soldi su/sopra ("on") me", however logical it may be.
    The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    7,775

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    I think that the "on me" with money is a spatial question. Money is kept in a wallet, purse (British usage), or pocket. With larger items, such as a briefcase, you might say "I haven't got my briefcase with me", because "on me" would sound as if you had tucked it down the back of your trousers, that it was carried closer to your body than a briefcase normally is.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    7,775

    Default Re: Translating prepositions

    Where would most of you use "at" when referring to place? With time it's pretty clear, but "at the door" is not the same as "by the door". And "at Reading" is not the same as "in Reading".

Similar Threads

  1. Translating Rilke
    By Taleb in forum Literary Translation
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 22-Jan-2013, 14:43
  2. Translating atmosphere
    By Eric in forum Literary Translation
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 02-Sep-2011, 14:07
  3. Translating for children
    By Eric in forum Literary Translation
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 25-Aug-2011, 09:40
  4. Translating poetry
    By DWM in forum Literary Translation
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 31-Aug-2010, 13:49

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •