all Slavic: noun or adverb for a language?

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Gavril, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Some Slavic languages use different constructions to refer to a language, depending on the context.

    For example, a noun or noun phrase is used in some contexts:

    Slovene: Angleščina je uradni jezik v Veliki Britaniji. "English is an official language in Great Britain"

    In other contexts, an adverb or a prepositional phrase is used:

    Ali govorite angleško? "Do you speak English?"
    Kako se to reče po angleško? "How do you say it in English?"

    How does each Slavic language translate sentences like the above?

    Thanks for any info

    (PS. -- I realize that Google Translate could be used to investigate this question, but it doesn't seem equally reliable for all languages yet.)
  2. itreius Senior Member

    BCS would use the adjective/adverb construction in all three cases.

    Engleski je službeni jezik u Velikoj Britaniji.

    Govorite li engleski?

    Kako se to kaže na engleskom?

    Languages used to be referred to as nouns in the past (Portugalština, Talijanština, etc.), but that's not too common anymore. Noun names for the local dialects are however still a common occurence (Štokavština, Kajkavština, etc.).
  3. bibax Senior Member


    Angličtina je úředním jazykem ve Velké Británii.

    Mluvíte anglicky?
    Jak se to řekne anglicky?

    There is also "po anglicku" = in an English way.

    Udělej to po anglicku! = Do it in an English way (whatever that is)!
  4. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    In Slovak: Angličtina je úradným jazykom vo Veľkej Británii. (noun) / Anglický jazyk je úradným jazykom vo Veľkej Británii. (adjective + noun)
    Hovoríte po anglicky? (adverb; "po" is a particle) / Hovoríte anglicky? (adverb)
    Ako sa to povie (po) anglicky? (adverb)
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  5. oveka Senior Member

    Ukrania, ukraniano
    Ukrainian: Англійська - офіційна мова у Великій Британії. "English is an official language in Great Britain"
    Ви балакаєте aнглійською/по-англійськи/по-англійському? "Do you speak English?"
    Як сказати aнглійською/по-англійськи/по-англійському? "How do you say it in English?"
    Але ще по-англійськи/по-англійському - так роблять англійці.
  6. marco_2 Senior Member

    Polish: Angielski jest językiem urzędowym w Wielkiej Brytanii. (English is an official language in Great Britain)
    Czy mówisz / mówi pan(i) po angielsku? (Do you speak English?)
    Jak powiedzieć po angielsku...? / Jak się mówi po angielsku...? (How do you say it in English?)

    But we also use the word polszczyzna (e.g. poprawna polszczyzna - correct Polish language), for other languages (angielszczyzna, francuszczyzna) it is not very common, though possible (not for all languages).

    And for Latin we use the word łacina, though język łaciński is also possible, but only "mówić po łacinie" (to speak Latin). Also greka (Greek language), especially classical, ancient Greek (contemporary Greek is rather język grecki), but only "mówić po grecku" (to speak Greek).
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  7. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Is there any difference between anglicky & po anglicky in style, frequency etc?
  8. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    "English is an official language in Great Britain" — «Английский — официальный язык в Великобритании» (adjective).
    "Do you speak English?" — «Вы говорите по-английски?» (adverb from "по + former Instrumental Plural of the short adjective") or less often «Вы говорите на английском?» ("на + adjective").
    "How do you say it in English?" — «Как сказать это по-английски» or less often «как сказать это на английском?» (the same constructions as in the previous case).

    For Latin there is a noun «латынь», which is often preferred to the adjective «латинский (язык)»:
    «Латынь (латинский) — официальный язык Румынии».
    «Вы говорите на латыни (на латинском, по латыни, по-латински)?».
    «Как сказать это на латыни (на латинском, по латыни, по-латински)?».

    In the rare cases, the names of other languages are nouns — «санскрит», «иврит», «идиш», «брадж», «фарси», «суржик», «трасянка»:
    «Санскрит — официальный язык Украины».
    «Вы говорите на санскрите?» (note «на» instead of «по»).
    «Как сказать это на санскрите?» (also «на», not «по»).
  9. jakowo Senior Member

    I can understand -(к)и from the former Instr. Pl. of the short adjective (-ы), but по- with Instr. Pl. ??
  10. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I think it may be a contamination of two constructions: «мастерски» and «по-новому», the latter one using various cases across the Slavic languages (Dative in Russian, other cases elsewhere).
  11. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    By the way, Russian also has this "по + the former Instr. Pl." in the adverbs formed from j-possessives: «по-лисьи», «по-волчьи». Occasionally, all the three forms exist: «по-человечески», «по-человечьи» and «по человечьему».
  12. bibax Senior Member

    In Czech (IMO also in Polish) the preposition po needs the locative. In Russian po uses dative (in most cases): po teátram = po divadlech, po magazínam = po obchodech (magazínech), ...

    So we say po anglicku, po řecku, ... where anglicku/řecku is locative sing. of short adjectives anglicko/řecko (neuter gender).

    However some people say po anglicky, po řecky, ... where anglicky/řecky is indeed instr. plur. Maybe it is an influence of Slovak (po anglicky, po grécky). On the web, you can find "ryba po řecku" as well as "ryba po řecky" (it sounds ugly to me).

    In correct Czech the adverbs anglicky, řecky, ... are used without any preposition.

    Mluvíme anglicky. :tick:
    Mluvíme po anglicky. :cross:
    Ryba po anglicku. :tick:
    Ryba po anglicky. :cross:
  13. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    As far as understand, the Slovene "po angleško" (is it a feminine form?) must be in Accusative, so we have here a third variant of government. Also, Ukrainian «по-англійському», despite being formally identical to the Russian expression, is in fact in Locative if I am not mistaken («по першому поверсі»).
  14. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    I think using "po" is more common, at least in written language. Otherwise, there's no difference in meaning.
  15. jakowo Senior Member

    As far as I understand, the Slovene "po angleško" (is it a feminine form?) must be in Accusative...

    Jože Toporišič in his «Zakaj ne po slovensko» declares p. 186:
    "Iz pridevnikov delamo prislove tako, da osnovi dodamo obrazilo –o
    (...) Iz nekaterih pridevnikov delamo prislov s po: govorim
    (...) po angleško..." .
  16. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Does this mean that nouns and adjectives use another case (e. g. Locative) after "po" in Slovene?
  17. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Slovene po can be followed by either the accusative or the locative. I would guess that a form like angleško in po angleško was originally an accusative (neuter singular?), since one of the meanings of po + accusative is "in the manner of".
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  18. jasio Senior Member

    I'd even say that they are used almost exclusively in very specific contexts, with a small subset of language names, and sound very colloquial, like "jego angielszczyzna jest do bani" ('his English just sucks'). Besides, these nouns - perhaps except for "polszczyzna" - do not univocally mean the language, sometimes they refer to influences, aping something etc. A special case is "włoszczyzna", which does not refer to the Italian language at all, but rather to a common, specific set of vegetables. ;)

    I've never thought of it this way, but indeed you are right.
    "Znam łacinę" - "I speak (literally: I know) Latin"
    "Znam grekę" - "I speak/understand Greek (classical/ancient/koine)"
    "Znam grecki" - "I speak Greek (modern)"

    Where "greka" and "łacina" are both nouns, and "grecki" is an adjective.
  19. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    "włoszczyzna" can also refer to the Italian language, culture, etc. From the dictionary by W. Doroszewski:
    Ustała przewaga włoszczyzny, miejsce jej zajęła francuszczyzna. Brück. Lit. 122.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  20. jakowo Senior Member

    @ ahvalj
    Yes, but I believe now it's rather an acc. neuter sg. (see Gavril).
    My doubts turned out to be unfounded. Excuse me.
  21. jasio Senior Member

    Formally, perhaps you are right. But have you ever heard it in this meaning in a real life situation?
  22. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    There are lots of words I've only come across in written texts (which are real, by the way), but that's not the point. Saying that «A special case is "włoszczyzna", which does not refer to the Italian language at all» is misleading. Besides, 1) you hardly ever hear these forms in common parlance except for a handful of them, 2) I can easily imagine it being used in a conversation in a specific context.
  23. jarabina Senior Member

    English - Scotland
    I was told that 'Hovorite anglicky?' was a Czechism and should not be used in Slovak. I'd be interested in what others think about this. I always use 'po anglicky' in these kind of sentences because I thought it was wrong to miss out the 'po'.
  24. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    That was my observation, too.
  25. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    Both "hovoriť anglicky" and "hovoriť po anglicky" are correct:

    Using "po" seems to be more common, though. Some search results from the Slovak National Corpus:

    hovoriť po anglicky - 161 results vs. hovoriť anglicky - 37 results
    hovoríte po anglicky - 28 results vs. hovoríte anglicky - 1 result
    hovoriť po nemecky - 61 results vs. hovoriť nemecky - 8 results
    hovoriť po česky - 44 results vs. hovoriť česky - 11 results
  26. jarabina Senior Member

    English - Scotland
    Good to know - thanks very much Azori.
  27. iezik Senior Member

    Toporišič uses term "multipart words" what others usually name "phrase". In his grammar, it lists in the chapter on morphology as examples of "multipart word" to be "misliti na", "delal sem". In similar way, he also lists examples of prepositional phrases in the morphology chapter "po slovensko", "po naše". I prefer to use term "prepositional phrase", like the starter of this thread. Ahvalj's quote is another manifestation of proclaiming "po angleško" to be a single word. Dictionaries often do the same, one of my favorite lists phrases as words: fifth column, fifty pence, fig leaf, figure head. These phrases are claimed to be nouns.

    The form "po naše" supports the usage of adjective in neutrum singular accusative (as already others noticed) without a noun.
  28. jakowo Senior Member

    Thank you very much for your statement, jezik.

    Greetings, jakowo.
  29. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The Russian grammatical tradition uses a very simple principle: if the basic component doesn't exist separately, the entire construction is considered a single word, thus po-angliyski is one word, since *angliyski doesn't exist anymore. There are also several "broken" words (not an official term), in which the prefix may be separated from the root by a preposition, e. g. nikogó vs. ni ot kogó or nékomu vs. né po komu.

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