Ambiguity and comma in Russian

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by CitizenEmpty, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. CitizenEmpty Senior Member

    English & Korean
    I love this song, Не надо слов by Лариса Долина. However, I'm kinda confused about the meaning of "Я прошепчу, там ты услышишь". Maybe my lack of knowledge in Russian makes me think that it's an ambiguous sentence. I'm not sure. It seems that the comma has a bigger function than I expected. But I think the translation goes "I whisper that you listen over there". How can I translate a sentence like this? Correct me if I'm wrong and thank you.
  2. Sobakus Senior Member

    The translation goes like "Whenever I wisper, you hear it there far away". In Russian you can't omit an implied conjunction, therefore there's no "that" in this sentence, which makes it unambiguous.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  3. CitizenEmpty Senior Member

    English & Korean
    Sorry for bringing an old thread back. From that song, there is the sentence "Я прикоснусь - так ты запомнишь". I translated as "I lean, so you will remember". Does my translation make sense? Anyways the - in Russian sentences can be confusing.
  4. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Hello CitizenEmpty. Прикоснуться means, as shown in our WR dictionary here, "to touch lightly", or "to give a little touch". You need to be careful with "so you will remember" because in English it sounds like "I will touch you lightly in order that/so (that) you will remember", which is not the sense of the Russian here. That sense would normally be expressed using "чтобы ...".

    Literal translation: I will touch you lightly, in this way (= так) you will remember ...
    Idiomatic translation: "I will touch you softly/gently/lightly, then you will remember ...".

    The word "then" is not being used as an adverb of time here, it means "in this way", "consequently", or "as a result". The "you" doesn't need to be stated in the first clause in Russian.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  5. Ёж! Senior Member


    Yes, «так» means the result of the action. Another literal translation: "This is why you will remember". It does not mean the goal or intent of the person who touched him, and it does not mean the mode of the action.
  6. CitizenEmpty Senior Member

    English & Korean
    Thank you very much.
  7. CitizenEmpty Senior Member

    English & Korean
    Sorry for bringing an old thread back again. I'm translating this "Кто-то решил, мне оставаться". I translated as "Whoever decides, it is to stay for me." You know, I might be strange to say that commas are trickier than the nominal declensions in Russian.
  8. gvozd Senior Member

    No. Somebody decided that I have to stay.
  9. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    Кто-то решил - мне оставаться is probably more correct punctuation. About мне оставаться: this pattern of pronoun in the dative case + verb in the infinitive is usually used in affirmative sentences to refer to the destiny or the superior will. It is an example of high-flown style and you will mostly encounter it in poetic speech, or at least in speech trying to be poetic. Compare these lines from the musical Nord-Ost:

    И двенадцать месяцев в году
    Нам грести сквозь радость и беду,
    Нам греметь, словно звонкая медь,
    И искать, и бороться.
    (And for twelve months a year,
    We are destined to make our way through joy and sorrow,
    To resound like the sonorous brass,
    And to seek and to strive.)
  10. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    The words прошепчу, and прикоснусь are actually in future tense (perfective).
  11. CitizenEmpty Senior Member

    English & Korean
    So based on how I understand the "-", I guess "Вместе нельзя - время расстаться" means "never be together as it is time to separate".
  12. Maroseika Moderator

    No, vice versa: "We can't be together (anymore), therefore it's time to separate". Dash here substitutes presumed word значит .
    By the way, it is precisely dash (–), not hyphen (-).

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