BCS - Predicate nouns and the instrumental case

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Tassos, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    Predicate nouns normally appear in the nominative.
    But as R.Alexander says they can "on occasion appear in the instrumental".

    Radi kako ti se čini ispravnim.
    Ne želim da ispadnem sm(ij)ešnim.
    To ja zovem dobrim obrokom!
    Opet me je žensko napravilo volom
    (lyric from the song Dva dinara, druže)

    My question is the following:
    Are there occasions when someone should prefer the instrumental over the nominative?
    Or are they more or less equivalent? (I mean, can all the previous examples be written in the nominative without changing the meaning?)

    Thanks again!
  2. Vanja Senior Member

    Radi kako ti se čini ispravnim. - Radi kako ti se čini da je ispravno.
    Ne želim da ispadnem sm(ij)ešnim. -Ne želim da ispadnem smešan.
    To ja zovem dobrim obrokom!
    - Dobar obrok, kažem ja.
    Opet me je žensko napravilo volom - Opet me je žensko napravilo na vola

    The instrumental is ...hm, "nicer", one sounds polite and .....like you are a man of vast reading :) Yes, they are equivalent, more or less or 100% of the same meaning, just of different styles.
  3. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    We're talking about copulas (verbs whose object is in nominative, expressing an equality or subset relation) here. Of your examples, napraviti is not a copula, just a regular trivalent verb:

    ŽenskoNOM pravi meneACC volomINS.

    However, in other cases, it's a tough question when it is preferred, when just more stylish, and when impossible. It depends on the verb. For example, with činiti se, it sounds better to me than the nominative. With biti or postati, instrumental sounds like high-brow or archaic Croatian:

    Postali smo dijelom Europe.

    With ispasti or zvati, both are OK, with instrumental slightly more stylish.
  4. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    Ok, so how would you translate that?
    Once more a woman* made me ....
    Is volom an instrumental of means or an adverbial expression or .... (it can't be an indirect object)
    I put this phrase in my examples because I think volom comes from vol - glup i nedokaziv čovjek trome pameti...

    *I know this literally translates as the neutral of the adjective female (in Greek we use it in the exact same way) but I don't think this can work in English.
  5. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    I'm not certain about subtleties of English syntax here, but Google shows similar frequencies for expressions:

    You make me a fool


    You make a fool out of me

    However, English is not the topic here. My point was just that, in BCS, instrumental is not optional, but mandatory here (for the indirect object of verbs napraviti or načiniti). You cannot replace it with a nominative, i.e. it is not in the same league as your other examples.

    I'm not sure how is this instrumental classified in books. Apart from its primary meanings of means and company, it has a number of additional uses, discussed in more detailed grammar books. (E.g. recently we had an example Idem ulicom.)

    You do have a point, however. Napraviti has two different rections, with similar meanings, which correspond to two English constructs above:

    Praviš meACC budalomINS. : You make me a fool.
    Praviš budaluACC od meneGEN. : You make a fool out of me.

    However, they are not generally interchangeable... Do you want me delve further into details? Note that it's often tough for us native speakers to analyse those constructs: when we use them, we do it naturally and subconsciously, but when we want to explain it, it turns out to be helluva complicated.
  6. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    I'll give you a quick rundown of its uses listed in R.Alexander's book (I was studying them this morning :D)

    1. The instrumental of means (tool, manner, transport, body part) - concrete and abstract
    2. The instrumental in time expressions (intervals - e.g nedeljom..., duration - e.g. već godinama...)
    3. The instrumental of space (trajectory, putem)
    4. Verbs who take instrumental objects (baviti se, trgovati, ponositi se, služiti, smatrati)

    In a later section of the book in which she summarises the case uses she adds

    5. Instrumental as predicate
    6. Adjectives which require to be followed by the instrumental (e.g. zadovoljan, iznenađen, oduševljen)
    plus she adds verbs like vladati, hvaliti se and upravljati in (4).
    In that section she treats (2) and (3) as one case in which she adds the instrumental of measure as she calls it (e.g. Dolazim početkom avgusta/Krajem godine putuju u Poljsku).
    Then the prepositions (među, nad, pod, pred, s(a), za1, za2) and then the "instrumental adverbs" (mahom, rodom, srećom itd)

    No, it's OK, I understand what you mean in Greek we have many similar situations...

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