Нет, я ни с кем из них не знаком

mabimabi

Senior Member
italiano
Super tricky sentence for me here. Can you help me out? My attempt is: "No, I've not introduced myself to anybody out of them".
I'm doing my usual exercises: people sitting at a table, one standing asks to another: "Have you introduced yourself to my friends?", he answers what I've written in the title of this topic.

Here's the entire dialogue:

Man n.1 "Вы знакомы с моими друзьями?"
Man n.2 "Нет, я ни с кем из них не знаком"
Man n.1 "Это мои друзья Эмма, Светлана, Антон и
Мэтью"
 
  • Colora

    Senior Member
    Byelorussian
    Man n.1 "Вы знакомы с моими друзьями?" Have you ever met my friends?/ Are you acquainted with my friends?/ Do you know my friends?
    Man n.2 "Нет, я ни с кем из них не знаком"No, there is nobody I know.
    Man n.1 "Это мои друзья Эмма, Светлана, Антон и Мэтью" These are my friends Emma, Svetlana, Anton, and Matthew.
     

    mabimabi

    Senior Member
    italiano
    Thank you, I got the meaning; in a grammatical aim, could you please write to me the literal translation of the sentence (word by word)?
     

    willem81

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Word by word doesn't help as it makes no sense in English..
    "Ни с кем из них" should be learnt as an entire unit, it means "with neither of them". Taken word by word it is a total nonsense: "not with whom from them".
    The meaning of the whole phrase is thus "I am acquainted with neither of them"
     

    mabimabi

    Senior Member
    italiano
    To me is really important because it helps me to understand the grammar; moreover, I'm Italian and this construction translated word by word made me realize that it's similar to an Italian one.

    Thank you, willem81.
     

    Словеса

    Senior Member
    Русский
    "Ни с кем из них" should be learnt as an entire unit, it means "with neither of them". Taken word by word it is a total nonsense: "not with whom from them".
    I think that "neither" refers to two people; you meant, "with nobody of them", right? In that case, it's perfectly a literal translation. It would not be quite right to gloss "ни" as 'not', because "ни" cannot mean negation by itself * (it almost never does; the only exception, I think, is short answers to questions that already contain "не"). Rather, it is a kind of "any", that is packed into the box of the expectation that it will participate in negation. Then, what we have is: "никто" is "nobody", "никому" is "to nobody", "ни с кем" is "with nobody", and so on.
    * I would like to make a note: some people forget about this, and then, following their own logic, they confuse не and ни in their writing and even speech (this happens very often); other people forget about this, but write those words correctly, thus defying their own logic.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi mabimabi, Словеса makes a good point in the previous post about the confusion between ни and не. This is important, because there are two quite similar (to a foreign learner ;)) constructions in Russian with totally different meanings.

    Мне не с кем об этом говорить - I have no-one to talk to about this. I haven't got anyone to discuss this with.

    (Subject in the dative, only one negative не, stress on the не, verb in the infinitive.)

    Я ни с кем об этом не говорил - I haven't spoken to anyone about this. I didn't tell anyone about this.

    (Subject in the nominative, two negatives ни, не, stress on the кем, verb in the indicative)

    In the particular example you gave: Нет, я ни с кем из них не знаком.
    No, I don't know any of them, or No, I've never met any of them (before). (The most idiomatic in conversation or writing)
    No, I'm not acquainted with any of them. (More formal)
    No, I haven't made the acquaintance of any of them.
    (The most formal)

     
    Last edited:

    willem81

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think that "neither" refers to two people; you meant, "with nobody of them", right? In that case, it's perfectly a literal translation. It would not be quite right to gloss "ни" as 'not', because "ни" cannot mean negation by itself
    Yes, you are correct, "neither" applies to a couple of objects only, so I admit the mistake of translation here. As for "not", it was just an attempt to construct some kind of word-to-word rendering, which the original poster asked for. Now I see that it is not really possible, since "ни с кем" must be taken as an "atomic block", whose meaning is "with nobody".
     
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