nazywam się Filip

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  • elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Literally, I call myself Filip.

    nazywam - I call, I name (the infinitive is nazywać)
    się - myself (also: yourself, himself, herself, etc.)
     

    slowik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    nazywam - I call, I name (the infinitive is nazywać)
    się - myself (also: yourself, himself, herself, etc.)
    Naaaah :)

    Nazywam się Filip - My name is Filip.

    Nazywam się - 1st person, singular of a reflexive verb Nazywać się
    Filip - a Polish name

    Do not confuse Nazywać się with nazywać (without się) or nazwać.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I know what the sentence means. The original poster asked for a literal translation: "What do the individual words in this phrase actually mean please?"
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Thanks Elroy,
    I like your explanation - it seems similar to the French expression je m'appelle which also uses a reflexive form.
    Phil.
    You're welcome, Phil.

    Indeed, the Polish construction is identical to the French one. In fact, when I first posted I considered making a comparison with French, Spanish, or Italian (all of which use a reflexive pronoun), but I hadn't checked your profile so I didn't know which foreign language(s) you spoke (although I guess your user name should have given me a clue ;)).
     

    arturolczykowski

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hi elroy,
    It is not always possible to give a literal translation without changing the meaning. No Polish native will ever use the phrase "nazywam sie XXX" to mean "I call/name myself XXX". It could be used in this way in some context for example: "They call me an Atheist but I call myself a Deist"... but the meaning is slightly different.

    nazywam sie Filip = My name is Filip
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I know that, Artur! :) But the question in the first post was clear. I assumed that LeTasmanien already knew what the sentence meant, but was interested in breaking it down so as to understand the Polish structure better.
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    I know that, Artur! :) But the question in the first post was clear. I assumed that LeTasmanien already knew what the sentence meant, but was interested in breaking down the sentence so as to understand the Polish structure better.
    Still, your analysis might be incorrect, in the sense that this seems to be an anticausative, rather than a literal reflexive verb. What this means is that the verb has a purely passive meaning, rather than one in which the subject is simultaneously the patient of the action expressed by the verb. The difference is significant because it determines whether the verb can be used with an inanimate subject -- an anticausative one can, but a literal one cannot, because an inanimate object can't be the agent of an action. If the true meaning of "nazywam się X" really were "I call myself X", then it wouldn't make sense to say, for example, "ta ulica nazywa się X" -- obviously, the street doesn't call itself anyhow.

    I don't know any Polish, save for the basic inter-Slavic similarities :), but still, from the examples of usage I see on the web, nazywać się appears to be an anticausative verb. Therefore, in my opinion, the reflexive pronoun is best understood as a passive marker, so the most precise translation of the original sentence would use the English passive voice: "I am called Filip".

    This might seem like philosophical nitpicking, but for speakers of English and other languages without anticausative reflexive verbs, it can be difficult to understand this distinction among different types of reflexive verbs, and it has actual practical implications on usage.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You are right, of course. I just didn't want to over-complicate things, and stuck to a very literal rendering of the individual words. :)
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Still, your analysis might be incorrect, in the sense that this seems to be an anticausative, rather than a literal reflexive verb. What this means is that the verb has a purely passive meaning, rather than one in which the subject is simultaneously the patient of the action expressed by the verb. The difference is significant because it determines whether the verb can be used with an inanimate subject -- an anticausative one can, but a literal one cannot, because an inanimate object can't be the agent of an action. If the true meaning of "nazywam się X" really were "I call myself X", then it wouldn't make sense to say, for example, "ta ulica nazywa się X" -- obviously, the street doesn't call itself anyhow.

    I don't know any Polish, save for the basic inter-Slavic similarities :), but still, from the examples of usage I see on the web, nazywać się appears to be an anticausative verb. Therefore, in my opinion, the reflexive pronoun is best understood as a passive marker, so the most precise translation of the original sentence would use the English passive voice: "I am called Filip".

    This might seem like philosophical nitpicking, but for speakers of English and other languages without anticausative reflexive verbs, it can be difficult to understand this distinction among different types of reflexive verbs, and it has actual practical implications on usage.
    Hi Athaulf,

    Are the French je m'appele Filip and/or Spanish me llamo Filip the same constructions as the Polish nazywam się Filip?

    Tom
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Hi Athaulf,

    Are the French je m'appele Filip and/or Spanish me llamo Filip the same constructions as the Polish nazywam się Filip?
    I'm not sure about the French verb, but the Spanish one definitely is. Both llamarse and nazywać się can be used with non-human subjects, in which case they can't be translated into English as anything but passive forms of the verbs llamar and nazywać.

    Of course, in different contexts, the same reflexive verbs can be used with a literal meaning, i.e. to say literally that the subject calls himself/herself somehow, as in the example from post #7 above. But in the vast majority of cases, I'd say that they are anticausative.
     
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