Tej pary nie muszą przedstawiać

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by LeTasmanien, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Hi all.
    During the Broadcast of the Wimbledon men's final the camera momentarily fixed on David and Victoria Beckham seated in the stands.
    The Polish commentator said what sounded to me like,
    'Tej pary nie muszą przedstawiać' and this was confirmed by a native speaker who checked my spelling.
    My questions are:
    Why would he say 'Tej pary' and not Ta para?
    should the verb not be in the third person singular as it would be if the comment were made in English?
    ('This couple needs no introduction' is my translation)
  2. Polilotte Senior Member

    Polish - Warsaw, Poland
    The genitive case is used in this sentence (whom). The exact translation is: "(I) don't have to introduce this couple" - the speaker ("I") is the subject.
    who? - "ta para" (nominative)
    whom? -"tej pary" (genitive)
    We can rephrase the sentence using nominative: "Ta para nie musi być przedstawiana" ("this couple" is the subject)
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
  3. sonorous Banned

    it would be better, you are right. I also hear commentators say: Tej pary nie musimy przedstawiać. which means We don't have to introduce this couple (a​nd maybe that was what you actually heard.)
  4. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks Polilotte and Sonorous.
    Very much clearer now though I do need to revise my lesson on the genitive in polish!
  5. jasio Senior Member

    One side note though... "muszą" is "to have to" in third person plural, so the subject would have to be "they" - whoever that "they" might be (definitely not the couple though, as the phrase means literally 'they don't have to introduce this couple'). I would rather expect that the commentator said 'Tej pary nie muszę przedstawiać' (please note different terminating vowel). "Muszę" is first person singular, matching the subject 'I' (ie. the speaker himself, so literally 'I don't have to introduce this couple', but your translation probably sounds more natural to the English ear).
  6. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    I had wondered if this might be the case, i.e. 'Tej pary nie muszę przedstawiać'. Would you say that the use of the genitive would still make sense though in that case?
    I'm pretty sure that 'Tej pary' was what was said as this was confirmed by the native speaker who was also listening at the time.

    My translation is more the way the same thing might be said in English rather than a literal translation.
    A more literal translation of 'Tej pary nie muszę przedstawiać' I think might be 'This couple I must not introduce'.
    Sounds odd to the English speaking ear (but of course makes sense in the Polish context).
  7. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    The original sentence was not in first person (nie muszę) but in "impersonal third person plural" (nie muszą). It can be understood that there was somebody, at the same place as the pair, who should introduce them. From leTasmanien's description, however, we can conclude that it was the commentator himself who was expected to introduce the said persons. In this cas he should have said either "Tej pary nie nie muszę przedstawiać" or "Tej pary nie nie musimy przedstawiać" , or "Tej pary nie trzeba przedstawiać."
    Concluding, I would say that the comentator's sentence was grammatically correct, but inapproriate to the situation.

    That said, i would add that the version "Ta para nie musi być przedstawiana" does not sound well in my ears. It is unnecessary to use the passive voice in such cases in Polish.
  8. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    I may well have misheard the commentator; My ear is not yet attuned to to reliably pick the difference between muszę and muszą in spoken Polish.

    I have reread a grammar guide to the use of the 'genitive' in Polish (thanks for pointing me in that direction Polilotte)
    I think that now I understand the use of the genitive (dopełniacz) here.

    Genitive should be used in the direct object after a negated verb.

    So my understanding is that, while having different meanings, both of the following are grammatically correct?

    Tej pary nie muszę przedstawiać
    Muszę przedstawiać tę parę
  9. Polilotte Senior Member

    Polish - Warsaw, Poland
    Both are correct - you are on the right track.
    "tej pary" - Genitive
    "tę parę" - Accusative
    "Genitive should be used in the direct object after a negated verb", but it's not the only case. It can be used in the imperative mood: "Szukaj tej pary!
  10. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    It is not the imperative that decides the case, but the verb itself. The case of the direct object depends on the verb, and is the same for affirmative and imperative mood.
    For example: szukam tej pary/ szukaj tej pary!
    Znalalazłem tę parę/ znajdź tę parę!
    Following verbs require object in accusative: widzieć, znać, brać, dostać, przyjąć, pomalować, kupić, nauczyć (a pupil)
    And these need the genitive: szukać, bać się,
  11. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks for this, but is this further example, "Szukaj tej pary!", particularly significant?
    The reason I ask is that my understanding, from what I have read elsewhere, is that direct object of the verb 'szukać' will be genitive case regardless of voice-tense?

    Also there appear to be several other situations where the genitive should be used.
  12. jasio Senior Member

    Absolutely. This sounds pretty natural and this kind of wording is in fact quite regularly used in similar situations. Another common variant would be an impersonal form 'Tej pary nie trzeba (nikomu) przedstawiać'.

    I prefer myself a proper phrase in the target language then word-by-word translation. ;) Personally, I use the latter primarily when I do not know the most natural phrase in the foreign language, or if I want to explain the structure or some aof the original sentence.

    BTW, doesn't 'must not' sound like a prohibition in English?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  13. Polilotte Senior Member

    Polish - Warsaw, Poland
    That's right. It was just my lame attempt to provide an example to show that negate verbs are not the only ones to take direct object in Genitive. Sometimes it's easier to explain foreign language grammar than one's own.:)
  14. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thanks very much for your contributions Polilotte. I really appreciate them. I agree that teaching one's own grammar can be surprisingly difficult and worse still, on occasion, even the 'experts' cannot find agreement on the most simple grammatical questions.
  15. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Good point Jasio.
    I find it useful to have all three where possible:
    1. The Polish expression
    2. the literal translation of the Polish expression and
    3. the nearest equivalent English expression for comparison purposes though often there is no direct equivalent.

    The literal translation is important because it
    a) assists me to dismantle the phrase and understand the exact meanings of individual words and
    b) helps me to 'think in Polish'

    Yes it does in some contexts.
    E.G. You must not come to school without the proper uniform (you are prohibited)

    however in the 1st person singular it is quite common to hear things like...

    I mustn't (= must not) be late for work or
    I must remember to go to mass on Sunday. (these are more like expressions of what the person believes they should, or ought to, do)
  16. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    The sentence 'Muszę przedstawiać tę parę.' is grammatically correct but it means 'I always have to introduce this pair.' The verb 'przedstawiać" has an iterative meaning. The sentence can sound like a complaint.

    If the commentator wanted to say that he had to introduce a specific pair, he would most probably say: 'Muszę przedstawić tę parę.'
  17. wolfbm1 Senior Member

    The sentence 'This couple I must not introduce' sounds like a prohibition and it means 'Nie wolno mi przedstawić tej pary.'

    The sentence 'Tej pary nie muszę przedstawiać' means 'I don't need to introduce this pair.'

    In Polish, a verb's object can occur at the beginning of a sentence.
    In English, I guess, you need to use a passive construction.
  18. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    Thank you for these valuable insights Wolfbm1.
  19. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Do you mean grammatically or logically?

    It is significant grammatically as an example of a verb that rules the accusative in the affirmative mood. In the negative all verbs rule the genitive.

    Logically, you can imagine a police investigator that gives a constable a photo of a pair of people and says: "Szukaj tej pary!"

    This is correct, and there are several verbs that need the object in the genitive, but there are not so many of them.
  20. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    And here we come to the most difficult issue in the use of perfective and imperfective verbs in Polish and actually all Slavic languages: the irregular use of the imperfective.
    Why " Muszę przedstawić tę parę." but "Tej pary nie muszę przedstawiać". I, myself, don't know the answer, maybe it is just the usage.
    Does anybody know?
  21. LeTasmanien

    LeTasmanien Senior Member

    Gmina Karczew, Poland
    English British
    I was simply curious why that particular example was chosen, given there would seem to be a range of situations that would call for the use of the genitive.
    Sorry, I thought that was fairly clear from the way I framed the question.
  22. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    It was simply one the verbs that requires the use of genitive both in affirmative and negative. As I said before, there are not many of them. Besides, it was already mentioned in post #9, so I did not have to search for another example. It could as well be another verb.
    Do you find the choice strange?
  23. jasio Senior Member

    In the affirmative mode "przedstawiać" ('introduce') would be slightly illogical to use imperfective aspect. You introduce someone so that the audience knows it, and it somewhat implies using perfective aspect, doesn't it? :)

    Anyway, you are right that the actual usage of some verbs (especially in fixed or common phrases) does not necessarily very strictly match a theoretical meaning of perfective/imperfective aspect. Especially, when it comes to nuances. For example, when I said to myself "tej pary nie muszę przedstawić" it sounded to me as if the accent was more on necessity than in "tej pary nie muszę przedstawiać".
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  24. vpprof Member

    I would hazard a guess it might be because imperfective verbs have this idea of doing something more than once. Therefore negating them creates something akin to 'not even once' must I do xxx, which sounds stronger than 'I don't have to do xxx' (perhaps only this time you don't have to do it?).

    Not at all. Consider something like: "Zawsze muszę przedstawiać tę parę, kiedy gdzieś idziemy — tu nikt ich nie zna" etc.

Share This Page