O właśnie taki prezent mi się marzy...

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by LeTasmanien, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    The following comment was posted by a friend of mine on Facebook,
    ‘O właśnie taki prezent mi się marzy...’ (he was referring to a photo of an expensive car)

    I don’t understand this structure but would guess that maybe it could be translated as something like
    ‘It is exactly such a present that I dream of’?

    It is interesting to see that the verb being used reflexively here. Is that a common practice?

    For comparison I made up this little sentence that I hope makes sense! ‘Nigdy nie marzyłem, że będę w Vanuatu.’
    I’m trying to say ‘I never dreamed that I would be in Vanuatu’
    It’s an example of the way the verb is used in English.
  2. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    If you want to use the reflexive (impersonal) form of 'marzyć' in your last sentence it would be:
    Nigdy mi się nie marzyło, że będę w Vanuatu.
    I find yours however more palatable.
  3. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Hi, Letasmanian. This is exactly the kind of gift I've been dreaming of. It is impersonal passive. (it has been been appearing as a wish (a dream) to me (literally) -- sort of. It is a standard construction.
  4. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    This is just to say, you could use either one and there wouldn't be even the slightest difference in meaning. It's merely a matter of style -- that and "marzyć się komuś" being impersonal, as suggested by Liliana.
  5. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Polish grammarians consider 'O właśnie taki prezent mi się marzy' personal. The subject of the verb 'marzyć' is 'prezent'.

    However, 'Marzy mi się, że dostanę taki prezent.' or 'Marzy mi się, żeby to był taki prezent.' are considered impersonal.
  6. BezierCurve Senior Member

    Yes, you will often hear that. I don't think there is any meaningful difference between "X (nom.) marzy o Y (loc.)" and "X (dat.) marzy się Y (nom.)".

    Arguably, one might see the first option as a tad more active approach to dreaming.
  7. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks Thomas1, LilianaB, Dreamlike and BezierCurve for making this usage of the verb very clear for me and in particular for clarifying that 'prezent' is the subject of the verb.
    Obviously I was on the wrong track so I'm very glad I asked the question!
    I hadn't heard of the passive impersonal. I can't think of anything similar in English but it is reminiscent of the way the French would say something like
    'tu me manques' where 'tu' is the subject while in the English translation, 'I miss you', 'I' is the subject.

    Thomas thanks for this example, 'Marzy mi się, żeby to był taki prezent' but this raises a further question for me :)
    Grazyna has explained to me that this sentence has the meaning 'I dream that I will get such a present', but not being a grammarian she can't explain why the past tense,był, was used in this case where there is an event in the future being discussed.
  8. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hi Letasmanien,

    Yes, the Polish construction is syntactically almost the same. I say 'almost the same', because, in this particular situation, we most often use the subject at the end of the sentence. So the word order in this case is: V+COI+S (using French abbreviations), whereas the French uses the canonical S+COI+V. This is due to prosodic reasons. A more similar to the canonical word order, i.e. S+COI+V, is possible, but it would need a good context to use it like that.

    As to the passive impersonal, we already said the construction is personal. So it rather precludes the impersonal construction, because the the subject is ‘prezent’ in our case. An example of the impersonal (reflexive) passive with the verb ‘marzyć się’ can be: W Polsce marzy się dużo o nowych autostradach. (In Poland it is dreamt of new highways a lot.) and impersonal passive: Marzone jest o nowych autostradach. But I hardly believe anyone would use the latter one (the former being infrequent either, but conceivable).

    However, many, including yours truly, may interpret your sentence, O właśnie taki prezent mi się marzy., passively, because people can dream of things and things can’t ‘dream’ to people (I know it’s not correct in English, but this is just to illustrate what I mean). I’d say it could be considered ‘active-passive reflexivity’. It is something in between active voice and passive voice. The reason for it being that we have the subject of the verb, but the meaning is that the subject undergoes the action expressed by the verb. An example of it could be the following sentence:
    Nowe pieczywo dobrze się sprzedaje.
    Le pain nouveau se vend bien.
    The new bread sells well.

    Or the set phrase:
    Sprzedawać się jak ciepłe bułeczki.
    To sell like hot cakes.
    Se vendre comme des petits pains.
    As you can see English doesn’t use the reflexive particle in such cases, as the refelxivity is already present in the verb, which is intransitive, by the way.
    However, if you do insist on the reflexive particle, English allows it in such cases:
    She sells herself in the streets of X.
    Sprzedaje się na ulicach X.
    Elle se vend sur les rues de X.

    Here, I interpret it as reflexive, because the subject and the object of the verb are indeed the same.

    Going back to ‘marzyć się’. In fact, in French ‘se rêver’ can be understood passively:
    The meaning is a bit different, but I guess that the English sentence given by your friend might be the closest translation into English if you insist on using the verb ‘dream’.
    In the case of 'Marzy mi się, żeby to był taki prezent.' we have to do with the so called ‘tryb łączny’ (the subjunctive in English and le subjonctif in French), something most Polish native speakers haven't a clue about. It is equivalent in form to the Polish past tense, but not so in reference, i.e. it doesn’t refer to the past. In this sentence, the meaning of the verb ‘marzyć się’ is shifting towards ‘chcieć’. Have a look at the examples:
    Marzy mi się/Chcę, żeby to był taki prezent.
    Je veux/désire que ça soit un tel cadeau.
    I desire that it be such a present.
    The sentence:
    Marzy mi się, że będzie to taki prezent.
    is equivalent to
    I dream that it will be such a present.
    Je rêve que ça sera un tel cadeau.
    In this case this meaning shift doesn't occur.

    I hope it's clearer.
  9. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Why? Both are normal Polish.
  10. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    What is impersonal in this sentence? You have the personal subject "me" and a material object "present". Please, explain what is impersonal?
  11. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Obviously, I can't speak for Liliana, but I feel compelled to dispel some confusion, since I backed her in saying that it's an impersonal construction. It isn't one, of course, for the reasons pointed to above, but 'O właśnie taki prezent mi się marzył' indeed strikes me as less personal than 'O właśnie takim prezencie zawsze marzyłem.'
  12. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    I don't want to argue, especially in this thread -- it is really beyond the scope of this thread -- this is something historical linguists analyze, not as much for the purpose of regular language usage -- for language learners. I think it is still impersonal because it is the same kind of construction as jest zimno -- it is cold. Marzy mi się prezent.[It is dreaming to me that I get a present]. I have to think about it more, but this is what I think right now. I really have more experience and linguistic eduction in Germanic languages and Baltic languages, to some extent, but I think these are the same constructions, in their essence. If you want, we can discuss it more in the Etymology Forum.
  13. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks very much for this excellent detailed post and yes it is indeed clearer.

    Thomas, I take my hat off to you for finding these examples in English of passive reflexive expression, (especially since I was unable to come up with any myself!)

    For the record Grazyna is my wife, but also my closest friend! :)

    Ahhh, it's the subjunctive! Now I get it.
    In these situations the word 'might' crops up , (in proper English),
    I desire that it might be such a present.

    Again many thanks for these lucid explanations.

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