cień własnych możliwości

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by Oletta, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Oletta

    Oletta Senior Member

    Hi, how would you translate into English this collocation? (That is: "Cień własnych możliwości"). Thank you.
  2. mcibor Senior Member

    Hi, you can try
    fraction of your (true) potential
    e.g. You are living at a fraction of your true potential

    though a bit more context would be nice to have.
  3. Oletta

    Oletta Senior Member

    I like your version, mcibor. Thank you very much...
  4. Rusak963

    Rusak963 Senior Member

    Yes, some context would be nice. We don't know whether the person is yet to show his\hers true potential or that he\she has fallen to disgrace and is a shadow of his\her former self because that's what 'cień' implies. The text in italics is my version.
  5. Oletta

    Oletta Senior Member

    The context is not important for me, I just wanted to know how to express in English this collocation generally (so that I can use it every day;). It can be any context, such as: "to, czym Marek się teraz zajmuje, to tylko cień jego własnych możliwości". I like the idea of mcibor's the most, though. A shadow of his former self is more personal, implies that before he could have done even more, whereas "a fraction of his (true) potential" is more neutral and may imply that what he does is only a small percent of what he can still do, of his potential. For me, it's not important what he was like before, it's important that he doesn't use the full of his abilities.

    Anyway, I am really thankful for your answer Rusak963, as it gives a different light to the interpretation of this collocation.
  6. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    It's not so much a collocation. Rather, it's an expression, one which has its well-established equivalent in English, namely 'be a shadow of your former self'.

    Some people would probably object to calling it an equivalent, but to me 'cień własnych możliwości' and 'cień samego siebie' are strikingly similar in meaning.
  7. Oletta

    Oletta Senior Member

    Wow, you have surprised me, dreamlike. It's OK then. I must accept it as it is.

    Anyway, a collocation is a partly or fully fixed expression that becomes established through repeated context-depended use, for me "cień własnych możliwości" a very good example of it. "You are living at a fraction of your true potential" can also enter the meaning this collocation/expression.
  8. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    These are collocations to me: bitterly dissapointed, readily available, vary wildly, to name just three right off the bat. The last four words in the last sentence form an English expression, just like 'być cieniem własnych możliwości' is a Polish one. I hope you now see the difference more clearly, but if not you can always read up on it. :)
  9. msukur New Member

    The shadow of their abilities :p

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