All Slavic languages: A Coke, please.

Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello, how would you say "A Coke, please." (ordering in a bar) in different Slavic languages. The colloquial words,please. Thanks.

Czech & Slovak: Jednu kolu, prosím.
 
  • pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    I want to see how Russian native speakers choose between:
    можно мне колу?
    я буду кока-колу, пожалуйста.
    дайте мне колу, пожалуйста.

    [In my experience, the "please" thing is entirely marginal in Russian culture. Maybe native speakers will say it's not, but I think Russian politeness is shown by addressing the waiter or waitress with the вы form, and saying дайте, and not by saying пожалуйста (which is really used for "here you are"). Even if it exists as a way of saying "please", I would like statistics on the percentage of Russian people who use it.] Also, why say jednu? Of course, you can say in Russian можно мне ОДНУ колу, but the number "one" doesn't need to be emphasised????
     

    polskajason

    Member
    English - American
    "Poproszę o colę" or "colę proszę" would be quite enough. Without the amount it's clear that it's one basic unit - a glass or a small bottle.
    That's right. I was just following the same pattern as with Czech/Slovak above, and I'm sure the `jednu` is superfluous there, too.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    That's right. I was just following the same pattern as with Czech/Slovak above, and I'm sure the `jednu` is superfluous there, too.
    This approach strikes me as incorrect for two distinct reasons:

    1) Generally in this type of translation, where the most natural and colloquial expression is required, the translation should be guided by these two criteria, while the influence of the form of the original should be actively excluded. Essentially one looks at the words, understands their meaning, completely flushes the original words from one's short-term (active) memory, and then generates the message afresh in the target language.​
    2) It's unwarranted to assume that in two related languages, the same syntactic elements are superfluous. Even speakers of what's ostensibly the same variety will often disagree in this regard. Among Slavic languages, Czech and Slovene, being geographically/culturally the closest to German and having had the most extensive situations of German-Slavic bilingualism historically, show the most German-like determiner syntax that crosses firmly into grammaticalised article territory. Put more simply, (varieties of) Czech and Slovene use words for “one” and “this/that” in the function of articles, just like German uses ein and der. In these varieties, these words are grammatically required, and omitting them is felt to be elliptic, unnatural, literary. You can search this forum to find several discussions on this, such as this one.​
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    This approach strikes me as incorrect for two distinct reasons:

    1) Generally in this type of translation, where the most natural and colloquial expression is required, the translation should be guided by these two criteria, while the influence of the form of the original should be actively excluded. Essentially one looks at the words, understands their meaning, completely flushes the original words from one's short-term (active) memory, and then generates the message afresh in the target language.​
    2) It's unwarranted to assume that in two related languages, the same syntactic elements are superfluous. Even speakers of what's ostensibly the same variety will often disagree in this regard. Among Slavic languages, Czech and Slovene, being geographically/culturally the closest to German and having had the most extensive situations of German-Slavic bilingualism historically, show the most German-like determiner syntax that crosses firmly into grammaticalised article territory. Put more simply, (varieties of) Czech and Slovene use words for “one” and “this/that” in the function of articles, just like German uses ein and der. In these varieties, these words are grammatically required, and omitting them is felt to be elliptic, unnatural, literary. You can search this forum to find several discussions on this, such as this one.​

    Sobakus, what is the most natural way of saying it in Russian? See my post, #2.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I want to see how Russian native speakers choose between:
    можно мне колу?
    я буду кока-колу, пожалуйста.
    дайте мне колу, пожалуйста.

    [In my experience, the "please" thing is entirely marginal in Russian culture. Maybe native speakers will say it's not, but I think Russian politeness is shown by addressing the waiter or waitress with the вы form, and saying дайте, and not by saying пожалуйста (which is really used for "here you are"). Even if it exists as a way of saying "please", I would like statistics on the percentage of Russian people who use it.] Also, why say jednu? Of course, you can say in Russian можно мне ОДНУ колу, but the number "one" doesn't need to be emphasised????
    мо́жно мне ко́лу? with the pronoun, implies something like a personal concession, and is the typical child-to-parents form of request. Talking to a salesman, you would just say мо́жно ко́лу? or even ко́лу мо́жно? with the more salient constituent fronted and receiving the low-falling intonation (H L*) instead of the usual yes-no rise-fall (H* L) which is phrase-final. The fronted option sounds less hesitant.

    я бу́ду ко́ка-ко́лу – this one's a reply to (an implicit) question что́ вы бу́дете? “what will you have?”

    да́йте мне ко́лу “give me a coke” is a straightforward request when at a shopping counter, such as at a kiosk.

    Your observations on the use of пожа́луйста generally sound right to me, though maybe a little overstated. How necessary its use is depends on the linguistic and situational context. For example я бу́ду doesn't really call for it since this is a communicative move whose initiator isn't you, but the other party – you're expected to say this in the presence of a waiter. The imperative да́йте, on the other hand, is more welcome when laced with a пожа́луйста, and a lone ко́лу calls for a бу́дьте добры́ “be (so) kind” not just to avoid abruptness, but even as padding to make the communicative move more salient. with мо́жно, a following пожа́луйста is preferred, e.g. мо́жно, пожа́луйста, ко́лу? Apart from being a politeness marker, it's a request marker as well, removing the aforementioned hesitancy.

    As for the use of the numeral, it occurs to me that its use even in Slavic languages can have two advantages: firstly, it disambiguates the mass-noun meaning from the unit-bottle meaning, and secondly it wards off a pesky «одну́?» from the seller who naturally wants to sell you more than one.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I notice molim there - in Russian молить molit' means to implore, entreat.
    And in Slovenian moliti is to pray :)

    We say: Eno kolo, prosim.
    In truth, that's also what the word fundamentally means in Russian. It's more often used in reference to people nowadays because it's “more active” and requires a direct object, while the reflexive моли́ться, though it optionally takes a dative, means “to pray to, to entreat the supernatural, to make prayers” even without one.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Poproszę o colę" or "colę proszę" would be quite enough. Without the amount it's clear that it's one basic unit - a glass or a small bottle.
    It’s spelled “cola” and not “kola”?
     
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