Croatian (BCS): pustite nas da zivimo

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alexilion

Senior Member
greece greek
pustite nas da zivimo (there's a letter similar to z)
ljudi, nemojte nas jesti


Can anyone tell me what do these sentenses mean? I think it's Croatian.
 
  • arwyn

    Member
    Croatian - German
    pustite nas da zivimo (there's a letter similar to z)
    ljudi, nemojte nas jesti


    Can anyone tell me what do these sentenses mean? I think it's Croatian.
    yes, it is Croatian.

    little bit difficult without the context, but "ljudi, nemojte nas jesti" means let us live and the last sentence means don't eat us alive.

    hope I could help you.
     

    Mac_Linguist

    Senior Member
    English and Macedonian
    Pustite nas da živimo. = Let us live.
    Ljudi, nemojte nas jesti. = People, don't eat us.

    Based on the first one, I'd say it's Serbian (because it uses the construction of da + present tense - which isn't used in standard Croatian, which prefers to use only the infinitive).

    It could still be Croatian! I'm not sure if Croatians use that construction in everyday speech. I guess you'll have to wait until a native speaker can give more insight.
     

    arwyn

    Member
    Croatian - German
    It's a very short sentence, so it is hard to tell.
    But you're right, constructions with "da" are used more frequent in Serbia.
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Pustite nas da živimo. = Let us live.
    Ljudi, nemojte nas jesti. = People, don't eat us.

    Based on the first one, I'd say it's Serbian (because it uses the construction of da + present tense - which isn't used in standard Croatian, which prefers to use only the infinitive).

    It could still be Croatian! I'm not sure if Croatians use that construction in everyday speech. I guess you'll have to wait until a native speaker can give more insight.
    It could well be Croatian. Constructs with da + present in place of infinitive are used very frequently in Croatia, despite the fact that they give peptic ulcer to purists and prescriptivists. :D On the other hand, their use is more restricted than in Serbia; in some cases, nobody would ever use them except to make a parody of Serbian. Where exactly they sound intuitively acceptable, that's a hard question, because it depends on sheer native speaker intuition. You can see the contrast in the above example:

    Pustite nas da živimo! --> Makes prescriptivists cringe, but sounds OK intuitively.

    BUT:

    Nemojte da nas jedete. --> Sounds like a parody of Serbian and nobody would ever use it seriously.
     

    tkekte

    Senior Member
    Russian/Israel
    I can't grasp the semantic difference. :p
    Is it because in the first sentence the "nas" refers to the verb in the imperative, andin the second, it refers to the request?
    So could it be:
    da + verb is okay
    da + pronoun + verb is bad
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    I can't grasp the semantic difference. :p
    Is it because in the first sentence the "nas" refers to the verb in the imperative, andin the second, it refers to the request?
    I'd say that in this example, the significant difference is that the second sentence expresses a negative command. I can easily think of many positive commands where the da + present construction sounds OK, sometimes even better than the infinitive. On the other hand, as soon as I hear a negative command nemoj/nemojte da + verb in 2nd person, I perceive it as heavily Serbian. There are also many other subtle criteria; it would be very hard to give a precise set of rules. Our language authorities just issue blanket prescriptivist condemnations of da + verb constructs.

    So could it be:
    da + verb is okay
    da + pronoun + verb is bad
    Not really. Anything that's within the clause starting with da doesn't influence things much. On the other hand, if a direct object of the verb in imperative precedes the clause, it tends to make it sound better. But as I said, this is a very complicated issue.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    I'd say that in this example, the significant difference is that the second sentence expresses a negative command. I can easily think of many positive commands where the da + present construction sounds OK, sometimes even better than the infinitive. On the other hand, as soon as I hear a negative command nemoj/nemojte da + verb in 2nd person, I perceive it as heavily Serbian. There are also many other subtle criteria; it would be very hard to give a precise set of rules. Our language authorities just issue blanket prescriptivist condemnations of da + verb constructs.

    Not really. Anything that's within the clause starting with da doesn't influence things much. On the other hand, if a direct object of the verb in imperative precedes the clause, it tends to make it sound better. But as I said, this is a very complicated issue.
    In this case, different agents of two verbs make the difference:

    [You] let that [we] live.

    Pustite nas živjeti is (in my opinion) ungrammatical at worst, and awkward at best, in any form of Croatian. The second (nemojte nas jesti) works with infinitive, because the agent is the same (you). Compare:

    [Vi] Želite raditi. (Croatian) / [Vi] Želite da [vi] radite (Serbian).
    [Vi] Želite da [mi] radimo. (Croatian and Serbian)
    [Vi] Želite da [oni] rade. (Croatian and Serbian)
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    In this case, different agents of two verbs make the difference:

    [You] let that [we] live.

    Pustite nas živjeti is (in my opinion) ungrammatical at worst, and awkward at best, in any form of Croatian.
    In Croatia, it's very popular to hyper-correct such sentences to infinitive. They sure sound awkward, but the language policy in Croatia in the last 15 years has been such that many people nowadays use the principle "the more awkward, the better" in writing and formal speech.

    The second (nemojte nas jesti) works with infinitive, because the agent is the same (you). Compare:

    [Vi] Želite raditi. (Croatian) / [Vi] Želite da [vi] radite (Serbian).
    [Vi] Želite da [mi] radimo. (Croatian and Serbian)
    [Vi] Želite da [oni] rade. (Croatian and Serbian)
    On the other hand, there are also many cases where the "da + present" constructions sound OK even if the agent of the verbs is the same. It's often the case (but not always) if the clause starts with a relative pronoun, e.g. ne znam kako da to nazovem. It also heavily depends on the local dialect.
     

    Mac_Linguist

    Senior Member
    English and Macedonian
    Maybe it was just a hasty translation of an English poster.
    Considering it's from a poster about veganism — an issue with obviously links to youth culture — vernacular and non-prescriptivist language would therefor be preferred.
     

    MrBunRab

    New Member
    English - British
    Yes we have just come back from holiday and seen this on a poster on a forest walk - not sure if it was about veganism, or possibly just anti-hunting? We were near Rijeka in Croatia, in the mountains.

    I have a photo ... was trying to attach it ... but can't get it small enough to attach. Anyone who is interested in seeing sign, email me!

    It has a picture of a sheep, a deer, a pig, a chicken, a fish and so on, with guns pointing at them, then underneath it says "Molimo, molimo, nemojte nas jesti!"

    Another poster next to it says "Jedemje mesa steti klimil - Ljudi ne jedite meso!" and "Zbog vas ljudi mi smo bolesne, Sada jedte sasu bolest".

    Interesting!
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    Those posters can be found at the bottom of this page:

    http://www.glas-zivotinja.hr/?article31

    That website belongs to "Glas životinja" (Voice of Animals) magazine, and source of the posters is "Universal life" (http://www.universelles-leben.org/), which looks like a fairly drastic mix of New Age Christianity and vegetarianism. The slogans read:

    "Eating meat damages the climate -- people don't eat it!"
    "Because of you humans we're ill -- now you eat our illness" (the context is bird flu, I think)
     

    Tolovaj_Mataj

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Slovenia
    In Croatia, it's very popular to hyper-correct such sentences to infinitive. They sure sound awkward, but the language policy in Croatia in the last 15 years has been such that many people nowadays use the principle "the more awkward, the better" in writing and formal speech.
    I'm glad to hear this... awkward! :D
    Since Croatians have been trying to distance their language from Serbian, I see they have turned strongly towards Slovene.

    In Slovene only usage of the infinitive in correct:
    Pustíte nas živéti!
     

    venenum

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Croatia
    I think it's actually the historical influence of the German language which has "triggered" this construction. The parallels are obvious:
    Ger. Cro. Serb.
    Lass mich leben - Pusti me živjeti. - Pusti me da živim.
    Ich darf gehen. - Smijem ići. - Smijem da idem.

    In German, the infinitive stands with the modal verbs, and in Croatian, the same verbs, which express obligation, permission, possibility etc. take the infinitive. It would actually be interesting to see how this has evolved in other Slavic languages, especially those who weren't "contaminated" with German in the course of history.
     

    Duya

    Senior Member
    Whatever
    I think it's actually the historical influence of the German language which has "triggered" this construction. The parallels are obvious:
    Ger. Cro. Serb.
    Lass mich leben - Pusti me živjeti. - Pusti me da živim.
    Ich darf gehen. - Smijem ići. - Smijem da idem.

    In German, the infinitive stands with the modal verbs, and in Croatian, the same verbs, which express obligation, permission, possibility etc. take the infinitive. It would actually be interesting to see how this has evolved in other Slavic languages, especially those who weren't "contaminated" with German in the course of history.
    I don't think that it was German influence; I think that both Western and Eastern Slavic languages require an infinitive here, and Eastern ones hardly acquired it from Germans; but I'm open to stand corrected. On the other hand, "da+present" construct is a Balkanism, or, to be blunt, it can be regarded as a "Serbism" in Croatian.

    However, I still claim that "pusti me živjeti" sounds awkward in Croatian, and it don't expect it from a native speaker, unless he "hypercorrects" himself against a "Serbism". Do you really say "pusti me reći" or "pusti me otići"? (See my post above, where I claim that different agents of two verbs make the difference in choice between infinitive and da+present in Croatian).
     

    venenum

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Croatia
    I never said that this verbal construction is common for native speakers - I'd never use it. With the verb pustiti I always use da + present, but with the other verbs of permission, possibility, obligation, prohibition etc., e.g. morati, smjeti, pokušati, moći... I always use the infinitive construction.
    OK, maybe it isn't German influence - that's why I've suggested hearing from the speakers of other Slavic languages - but it certainly sounds as one to my both Croatian and German attuned ear. :D
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I've studied Russian, Czech, Polish and Macedonian and the only language that has the same feature is Macedonian, so I'd say it has something to do with the Balkans. I don't think German has anything to do here, but again, I'm no expert.
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    I don't think that it was German influence; I think that both Western and Eastern Slavic languages require an infinitive here, and Eastern ones hardly acquired it from Germans; but I'm open to stand corrected. On the other hand, "da+present" construct is a Balkanism, or, to be blunt, it can be regarded as a "Serbism" in Croatian.
    I never said that this verbal construction is common for native speakers - I'd never use it. With the verb pustiti I always use da + present, but with the other verbs of permission, possibility, obligation, prohibition etc., e.g. morati, smjeti, pokušati, moći... I always use the infinitive construction.
    Actually, upon some reflection on this issue, I would say that people eager to eliminate such "Balkanisms" from Croatian have been oblivious to the fact that the da + present constructions have always had some important stylistic roles in modern Croatian. The verbs mentioned above tend to sound much more bland and less forceful when used with infinitive; in contrast, when used with da + present, they express much more powerful tendencies and hint that there is some opposition to these tendencies.

    Some of the best examples of such stylistic use of da + present can actually be found in Croatian patriotic songs. Take for example these lines from one of the most famous ones -- Ustani, bane:

    Mađarske zastave dig'o Hedervary,
    Silom hoće Hrvatsku da nam pomađari

    Notice how, at least in my impression, using the infinitive here would not only destroy the rhyme, but also make the sentence sound weaker and less combative. Or, to take an example from another, more recently penned Croatian patriotic song Od stoljeća sedmog:

    Tko na tvrdoj stini svoju povist piše,
    Tom ne može nitko prošlost da izbriše

    Again, the lyrics sound more proud and spiteful to me than if they were using the infinitive in the second verse.

    It's easy to find many examples that illustrate the same point in all sorts of Croatian songs and poems, from literary classics to modern rock lyrics.
     
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