Bosnian (BCS): Trebati and učiti; opposite meanings?

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musicalchef

Senior Member
English; USA
Hi all;


Sorry if this should be two separate threads, but I have basically the same question about both verbs.


I knew that “trebati” means “to need” but Alt & Browne also says it means “to be necessary.” Aren’t these opposites? How do you know which one a person means; do the objects take different cases, or do you just have to figure it out from the context? Is one more common than the other?


I have the same questions for “učiti;” I see that it means “to study” and “to teach.”


Are there any more verb pairs like this in Bosnian that I should be aware of?
 
  • slavic_one

    Senior Member
    Croatian (štokavski, jekavski)
    First, I wouldn't say that "to need" and "to be necessery" are that opposite!

    "trebati" means "to need something" or "ought/have to do sth" (is that what you mean by "to be necessery"?)

    1)
    Trebam tebe - I need you
    Trebam žlicu kako bih pojeo juhu - I need a spoon in order to eat the soup
    Treba mi knjiga - I am in need of a book
    ...
    (so after this "trebati" usually goes a noun as an object)

    2)
    Trebam pjevati - I need to sing
    Trebao bih plesati - I ought to dance
    Trebam raditi cijeli dan - I have to work for a whole day
    ...
    (after this "trebati" goes an infinitive of a verb)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    As for "učiti" you need to figure it out of context, but it isn't hard because when it's "to study" it goes with some actions (Učim crtati - I'm learning to draw; Učim kako pjevati - I'm learning how to sing) and when it's "to teach" it usually goes with some persons as objects in accousative (Učim djecu - I teach children; Učim muzičare kako svirati gitaru - I'm teaching musitians how to play a guitar)...
    but you need to be careful with sentences like:
    Učim matematiku/fiziku/biologiju/... - it can be "I'm studying math/physics/biology/...." but also can be "I'm teaching studying math/physics/biology/...." althou in meaning "to teach" it's most common "podučavati" or "predavati" (if it's some class in school/college...)!

    I hope I helped you somehow :p
     
    Last edited:

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    True, but aslo isn't hard to define weather it's "to land" or "to borrow" from context!
    Of course, otherwise the verbs would change. People will come up with some way of resolving the ambiguity if necessary, and for these verbs, context is enough for all practical purposes.

    The problem is that even after all these years, I sometimes still accidentally use borrow/learn instead of lend/teach when speaking English, even though I've been aware of the difference for many years.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    As for trebati, there's actually the difference in usage between Serbian and Bosnian on one, and Croatian on the other side. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differ...Serbia,_Croatia_and_Bosnia#Trebati_.28need.29

    [that section is written by myself so I'm sure it's accurate :p]

    However, I don't think that a confusion is possible even if one mixes both types in his own idiolect. Two forms take different cases around.

    As for učiti, the unambiguous verb for "teach" is podučavati. Here, also, no confusion can occur, because two meaning take inanimate or animate subject: učiti someone obviously means "to teach" vs. učiti something, obviously meaning "to learn".

    Another trully ugly verb is sumnjati, which means both "to suspect" and "to doubt". In the past, it meant only one thing, but gradually received also the other meaning. I'm confused too, because I don't know which is correct anymore also :confused::

    Sumnjam da je on ukrao pare

    Can mean both "I suspect (think) that he stole the money" and "I doubt (don't think) that he stole the money"...
     

    slavic_one

    Senior Member
    Croatian (štokavski, jekavski)
    Another trully ugly verb is sumnjati, which means both "to suspect" and "to doubt". In the past, it meant only one thing, but gradually received also the other meaning. I'm confused too, because I don't know which is correct anymore also :confused::

    Sumnjam da je on ukrao pare

    Can mean both "I suspect (think) that he stole the money" and "I doubt (don't think) that he stole the money"...
    In speach, when it means doubting, the verb "sumnjati" is stressed, and when it's "to suspect" stressed is the suspected person or the action he suspectively perform!

    Sumnjam da je on ukrao pare - I doubt that he stole the money
    Sumnjam da je on ukrao pare - I suspect that HE stole the money (we know that someone stole it but ain't sure who)
    Sumnjam da je on ukrao pare - I suspect that he STOLE the money (we know that it was he, but ain't sure if he stole it)
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    As for trebati, there's actually the difference in usage between Serbian and Bosnian on one, and Croatian on the other side. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differences_in_official_languages_in_Serbia%2C_Croatia_and_Bosnia#Trebati_.28need.29

    [that section is written by myself so I'm sure it's accurate :p]
    Um... I'm not sure about the situation in Serbia and Bosnia, but I would say that both personal forms are acceptable in Croatia. Insisting that only the transitive form is correct would certainly be an instance of heavy-handed (and, in my opinion, entirely unjustified) prescriptivism in Croatia nowadays. :) I know for sure that saying "Petru treba novac" wouldn't raise a single eyebrow in colloquial speech in Zagreb, and I also know that even native Kajkavians often use the dative form (just try googling for phrases such as "kaj njemu/tebi/meni treba"). Also, I've seen the dative form used many times even in very formal contexts. Did you actually find some Croatian prescriptivist source that insisted that only the accusative form is OK?

    In contrast, the impersonal form "treba da..." would indeed sound a bit Serbian/Bosnian-colored, and I definitely wouldn't use it in formal writing in Croatian.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    Um... it seems you're right. That's why Wikipedia has policy on sourcing which I didn't follow in this case :D.

    Serbian prescriptivism does reject the accusative form, I'm fairly sure of that (although I can't find a reference right now). On the other hand, the dative form is indeed used in Croatian, as you demonstrated. Actually, some forms would indeed sound strange with accusative. Compare

    "što njemu treba" vs.
    "što on treba"

    The latter is followed by an infinitive in 90% cases, i.e. it is part of a "what he needs to do" construct.
     

    dudasd

    Senior Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    As for trebati, there's actually the difference in usage between Serbian and Bosnian on one, and Croatian on the other side. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differ...Serbia,_Croatia_and_Bosnia#Trebati_.28need.29

    [that section is written by myself so I'm sure it's accurate :p]
    In Serbian, the verb "trebati" is defined (and regulated) as impersonal in the meaning of "to need (to do something)" and personal (and uterrly regular) in the meaning of "to be necesarry". Though you described the difference well enough and gave good examples, you failed to point out that distinction. (Now I sound as a criticist in charge, don't take it personally Duya. :) )
     
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