Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by clomu, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. clomu Junior Member

    ... много кутил и сравнительно прожил довольно денег.

    ... caroused a lot and spent comparatively quite of money.

    I figure 'quite of money' means 'quite a lot of money', but where does 'a lot' show up in this phrase? It seems like a word is missing in the Russian phrase.
  2. learnerr Senior Member

    I think that much context is missing. These words could mean a lot of things, and this "сравнительно" confuses me a lot more than anything else.
  3. igusarov

    igusarov Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    This line is from "Братья Карамазовы" by Dostoevsky.
    This is an old text, with not-quite-modern choice of clauses and words. For some reason this phrase doesn't sound wrong. It merely sounds moderately ancient. But if this text was written today, then you would be right: we would say "потратил довольно много денег".

    The words here are used in the following senses:
    "сравнительно" ~= relatively, as compared to other people.
    "прожил" ~= had spent on his life. Consider "жить на доллар в день" = "to live on one dollar a day".
    "довольно" ~= to the noticeable degree. Consider "довольно пустынная местность" = "pretty desolate area"
    "денег" = "money".
    Combining this all we get: "He, compared to other people, spent noticeable amount of money on his life."

    I wonder if the English phrase "spent quite some money" would imply that the amount of money was actually large.

    Another way to translate the word "довольно" is "sufficient" in the sense "ample, vast".
    Yet another way to interpret that word is to replace it with the adverb "вдоволь", which means "to the full".
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  4. willem81 Senior Member

    But isn't довольно a synonyme of достаточно in this particular context? Он прожил довольно денег = He wasted enough money.
  5. igusarov

    igusarov Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    It is! But "waste" does not mean quite the same as "прожить"... It's just one possible interpretation: he spent a lot of money because he wasted some.
  6. willem81 Senior Member

    Yes, I am aware that прожить here should be rather interpreted as 'to spend'. I used the verb 'to waste' because the whole context was about carousing.
    If Dostoevsky wrote 'он промотал довольно денег', then it would be precisely 'he wasted enough money'.
  7. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Unfortunately "enough" doesn't work here, folks. 'Довольно' (though 'много' is missing, that's the sense) means "rather a lot", "quite a lot", "a fair amount". In a formal literary context, you might say "a goodly sum of money".

    The translator (Constance Garnett) in the version here (gutenberg.org, pg 007) says: " ... led a wild life, and spent a good deal of money." That's perfectly acceptable in the context, though the translator doesn't render 'сравнительно' which, arguably, doesn't add much because everything in life is "relative" or "comparative". If you wanted to include it, you could use Igusarov's suggestion in #3, or say something like "in comparative terms", "in relative terms", "comparatively speaking", "relatively speaking", but why break the flow to include something of little consequence to the meaning? A literary translation has to read well in the target language, not necessarily account for every word in the source language, but, as always in translation, сколько голов, столько умов ... (= "it's a matter of opinion", or "each to their own").

    Another option for 'прожить' in this context is "to go through", and even in a literary translation, I would probably say here "... and went through rather a lot of money".
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  8. learnerr Senior Member

    Now I see why the word "сравнительно" sounded so wrong. It did not belong to the clause (I thought it did), and so must have been enclosed in the commas. The inference: use commas if you want to be understood.
    As far as I know (from the Wikipedia article about her), Constance Garnett is blamed for levelling the authors she translated, so that Dostoyevkiy looked much the same as Tolstoy. If they really did, then it must be for her lack of attention to details "of little consequence to the meaning". I'm not criticising the decision of hers that concerns the being discussed phrase, though, since I haven't read her translations.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  9. Colora

    Colora Junior Member

    USA, Denver, CO
    In the context of this sentence довольно means много, прилично, изрядно

    My understanding of it is as follows: He enjoyed a drinking sprees and squandered, comparatively, a great deal (a handsome sum) of money.
    Прожил деньги. Фактически, он промотал деньги, он их ухлопал.

    and spent, comparatively, a great deal of money on the life he wanted to live
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  10. clomu Junior Member

    Thanks to everyone for the clarification. For some reason I didn't get an email when my message was replied to.

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