Impersonal subject

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by stelingo, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. stelingo

    stelingo Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    I'd be very grateful if somebody could check my sentences below. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm never quite sure what form of the verb to use after να. I also don't really know which is the best way to translate an impersonal subject in the last sentence. In some languages there is a preference for a pronoun, (ie French on, German man), in other they use a reflexive verb or the 3rd person plural. How is this done in Greek?

    Μια μέρα/κάποτε θα ήθελα να πάω στο Τσενγκντού στην Κίνα για να επισκεφθώ το καταφύγιο του γιγάντιου πάντα. Είναι ακόμα και δυνατό να ενα άτομο δουλέψει εκεί εθελοντικά.

    One day I would like to go to Chengdu in China to visit the Giant panda reserve. It's even possible to work there as a volunteer.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    Close to your translation:
    Είναι επίσης/μάλιστα δυνατό για ένα άτομο να δουλέψει εκεί εθελοντικά (επίσης is more neutral, μάλιστα adds more emphasis)
    Tip: Never (and I mean NEVER) break a θα+verb or να+verb cluster. It makes absolutely no sense to us.

    My translation:
    Επίσης/μαλιστα μπορείς να δουλέψεις εκεί ως εθελοντής.

    There is not a standard answer. There are really lots of options. You have to be more specific about the type of impersonal subject sentence you are looking for.

    For sentences referring to people, like the one you mentioned:
    You can use an indefinite pronoun/construction (like κάποιος, ένα άτομο) + 3rd person in the appropriate tense.
    You can use the 2nd person singular to describe not what a aprticular "you" can do but what anyone in general can do.
    As you can judge by my translation, I prefer the second option.
  3. Perseas Senior Member

    It's even possible to work there as a volunteer.
    Μπορεί ακόμη
    κάποιος να εργαστεί εκεί ως εθελοντής. (Another suggestion).

    Regarding the use of the 2nd and and the 3rd personal singular, as they have been described by Tassos, the latter sounds more formal.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  4. stelingo

    stelingo Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    Thank you both for your help. I will try to remember yout tip on clusters Tassos
  5. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    You will perhaps be interested in the fact that the French are taught to translate the «on» (the pronoun you mentioned in your first post) using κανείς.
    I would have used the wording : «Είναι δυνατόν να δουλέψει κανείς εκεί εθελοντικά»
  6. stelingo

    stelingo Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    That's useful to know. Thanks Fred C.
  7. Tassos

    Tassos Senior Member

    Totally legitimate alternative to the previous translations.
    It falls on the first of the two options I described, as κανείς can be used either as a negative pronoun (meaning noone, nobody) but also as an indefinite pronoun meaning anyone, anybody (Είναι κανείς σπίτι; - Is anyone home?)

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