Reflexive “sa/si” => “si” without any objects

Tisztul_A_Visztula

Senior Member
Hungarian
So far I thought I already understand this area of Slovak.

But today I faced “zacvičiť si”. The sentence was “Zacvičím si podľa rádia”.

Wow, no explicit object at all? In this case there is some sort of hidden object and it is why we dont use “sa”, but “si”. If so are there many reflexive verbs where I have to use “si” even if there are no explicits objects like eg. in case of “umyjem si zuby”?
 
  • Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I wish I understood what you meant!

    I checked the links provided, but I have no clue how they are related to the use of “si” which is really a dative form (as “sebe” is, too).

    My only problem is that how the heck I will remember whether I have to use “sa” or “si”?

    The basic rule that I followed so far is that if the reflexive pronoun is the only object (the actor does something to himself) that it has to be in accusative case, that is “sa”. On the other hand if there is another object other than the actor itself (either part of it, ruky, or an external object trenírky), then the reflexive pronoun has to be in dative case, that is “si”.

    But this rule is not valid any longer…..

    EDIT: in the meantime I met “lahnúť si”, which behaves in the same way.
     
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    numerator

    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Slovak
    Ah, the beauty of reflexive particles. "Si" lives a bit in the shadow of "sa" but it has its own host of peculiarities too. You have just discovered two of them:

    Like "sa", it can simply be a part of the lexical verb; the verb may be transitive, taking a direct object (uvedomiť si, všimnúť si) or not (ľahnúť si).

    It can have this ethical dative meaning (roughly, "for my benefit or enjoyment"). With perfective verbs (usually prefixed za- or po-) it can be roughly translated "have a (good) X":
    zaplávať si, zabehať si, pospať si ... = have a (good) swim, go for a (good) run, take a good nap...
    and it's very much the same as Hungarian "úszok egyet, kocogok egyet, alszok egyet...".
    With imperfectives, it's a harder to translate the exact nuance, it's something like "just Xing there/around":
    idem si po ulici = I'm just walking down the street (minding my own business) - a bit like Hungarian "megyek, mendegélek" but not quite.
    As Panceltic mentioned, this usage is very productive. But it cannot be used with verbs that already have "sa" or "si" for other reasons. So there's no *osprchujem sa si.

    And then, of course, there is the "basic" reflexive or reciprocal meaning: Pomáhame si. (komu? = dative) "We help ourselves." or "We help each other".

    So your rule unfortunately doesn't always work. (Not to mention that you can occasionally have "sa" + direct object, such as učiť sa slovenčinu.) But I don't have any simple replacement for it. Just study a lot of examples and enjoy it (študuj si príklady... a užívaj si to).

    ---
    (An extra bonus is the homophony with si = "you are", which can add a whole other layer of confusion sometimes.)
     

    Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Now I understood ethical dative better, unfortunately I could not understand it without the examples, but I feel there is no other rule than memorizing all the reflexive verbs, whether they go with “sa” or with “si”, or both.

    I feel it because “naraňajkovať sa” could be an ethical dative, too, since

    It can have this ethical dative meaning (roughly, "for my benefit or enjoyment")

    Having a breakfast is really something being done for one’s benefit. But why doesnt go with “si”? Why? Because there is no rule. I can say it goes with “sa”, because it is an ethical accusative :).

    Am I right? I mean the best way is to memorize them.
     

    numerator

    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Slovak
    Let's take jesť as a simpler example. Najedol som sa really means a change of state - I was hungry and now I'm najedený.
    Zajedol som si, on the other hand, means that I did dome eating for pleasure - I didn't have to start out hungry and didn't have to end up full.

    You get the same pattern with raňajkovať, obedovať, večerať. For some reason, zaraňajkovať si is rarer than naraňajkovať sa, but it still exists: Slovenské slovníky

    So, I think that, as with all language phenomena, there is some logic behind the use of these particles - some verbalizable rules, some hard-to-verbalize correlations and some outright randomness.
     

    Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I see. So you say when I saw “zacvičím si” in my book, it implied that the exercises were done for the sake of some pleasure/joy and even “(za/???)cvičím sa” would have been possible there, but the latter case would have implied some sort of obbligation etc, anything but not pleasure?

    And the same goes with “lahnúť si”?
     

    numerator

    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Slovak
    “zacvičím si” in my book, it implied that the exercises were done for the sake of some pleasure/joy
    Yes. Za+verb+si often has this meaning, it can be used with many verbs.
    A neutral way to say "I exercise" without such a nuance would be cvičím.

    “zacvičím sa” would have been possible there
    Erm, no. Zacvičím sa would be possible in a different meaning: "I become trained", related to zacvičiť niekoho "to train someone". (This might mean that someone trains me, or I train myself, or I just simply grow by experience... the sa form does not make this explicit.) Again, this is a very productive way of using sa that's good to remember.

    Ľahnúť si is a somewhat different case, because the si has become part of the dictionary form. Perhaps it does convey a slight semantic nuance of "easing oneself into a comfortable position" - but it's pretty much just part of the verb, although it is also possible to say just ľahnúť, without si. And there is no form *ľahnúť sa. But you can say položiť sa, uložiť sa - "to lay oneself down" - related to the transitive verbs položiť, uložiť.

    Interestingly, sadnúť si is pretty much a perfect synonym of posadiť sa.

    ---

    So... it's probably best to memorize those verbs where sa or si are part of the dictionary form, to learn some frequent phrases (umyť si zuby, obliecť si kabát, zlomiť si nohu...) and to know the productive uses of sa and si that can be used with almost any verb.
     

    morior_invictus

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    N: –, G: seba, D: sebe/si, A: seba/sa, L: sebe, I: sebou
    slovnik.juls.savba.sk has the following on si:

    I. v plných tvaroch vyjadruje predmet alebo iné bližšie určenie slovesného deja, ak sú totožné s podmetom deja (both sa/si)

    II. sa (with slovesá v neprízvučnom tvare):

    [...]

    III. si (with slovesá v neprízvučnom tvare):

    1. zastupuje predmet v 3. p.: vyjadruje, že sa niečo deje na osoh alebo na škodu činiteľa deja (prospechový datív, dativus commodi/incommodi, benefactive/malefactive dative)(sebe, pre seba): kúpiť si, želať si niečo, nájsť si dievča [to get oneself a girlfriend / to obtain a girlfriend "for oneself" - who will either turn out to be to their advantage/benefit or to their disadvantage/annoyance/harm...]

    2. vyjadruje reciprocitu (sebe navzájom, jeden druhému): prisahali si vernosť [they swore loyalty to each other/to one another...]

    3. vyjadruje privlastňovanie (svoj)(privlastňovací datív, dativus possessivus, possessive dative): umývať si oči [to wash one's own eyes - not someone else's]

    4. vyjadruje expresívne osobný záujem na deji (datív etický, dativus ethicus, ethical dative)(denotes personal interest in the fact stated): spievať si, pískať si; vzdychnúť si, zajesť si, pospať si, zatancovať si;

    5. ako stála formálna súčasť slovesa/niektorého jeho významu (reflexiva tantum): ľahnúť si, domyslieť si, spomenúť si na niečo, zakladať si na niečom;
     

    Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Some more reactions:

    Not to mention that you can occasionally have "sa" + direct object, such as učiť sa slovenčinu.
    It is just a bet, but cant we say that here there is the folllowing case?


    II. pri slovesách v neprízvuč. tvare sa má tieto funkcie:
    1. pri prechodných slovesách zastupuje predmet v 4. páde;
    a. vyjadruje, že činiteľ deja zasahuje činnosťou sám seba (pri životnom podmete)
    Just study a lot of examples and enjoy it (študuj si príklady... a užívaj si to).

    Can you specify please that what rule/approach you applied in the above case? Reflexive? Or intended own’s benefit? Or prospective benefit?
    A neutral way to say "I exercise" without such a nuance would be cvičím.
    Simply cvičím or can it be also cvičím sa?
    Interestingly, sadnúť si is pretty much a perfect synonym of posadiť sa.

    Is it really a perfect one? I just wonder that the first emphasizes the intended benefit, while the latter implies less emotion, doesnt it?

    it's probably best to memorize those verbs where sa or si are part of the dictionary form
    It is really my problem, because now I feel that my dictionary makes si/sa part of the verb too many times. Maybe it is Slovak as a language in fact, maybe it sometimes simply shows optional si/sa. I will doublecheck it in the future using the online Slovak resource you both proposed me.
    prospechový datív, dativus commodi/incommodi, benefactive/malefactive dative
    It became my favourite one. :)

    ako stála formálna súčasť slovesa/niektorého jeho významu (reflexiva tantum)
    And I learnt another fancy expression after pluralia tantum, and dativ etický, it is reflexiva tantum:


    “5. ako stála formálna súčasť slovesa/niektorého jeho významu (reflexiva tantum): ľahnúť si, domyslieť si, spomenúť si na niečo, zakladať si na niečom;”

    In my printed Slovak-Hungarian dictionary there is “ľahnúť (si)” and the explanations of the dictionary says that brackets mark a situation when the contents between brackets can be omitted without causing any problems.

    Can we say that my dictionary is wrong? Above it was said that “ľahnúť si” is a rigid term, a reflexiva tantum

    +1

    My languague book (Slovak textbook) says “správim si poriadok”.

    Since my dictionary says that the basic form is just “správiť” without si/sa I dare say that in this case we can say it is just a simple reflexive version of správiť?

    +2

    as I sidenote I have another bet regarding imperfective and perfective words, independently whether there are reflexive or not. During checking (in my printed dictionary) the words that we have been discussed in this thread I saw that in many cases sometimes there is just either a perfective or imperfective version of a verb beginning with na- and/or za-.


    If there was just one with na-, it seemed to always be perfective.

    Can we say that when I see only a perfective verb starting with na-m(and its imperfect pair is missing) it implies that the original verb without na- is an imperfective one?

    I also tend to think that it is much more common with za- that I will find both perfective and imperfective versions than with na-.

    In other words as regards na- it is much more common there is only the perfective version (of course with some exceptions like there are both nakúpiť and nakúpovať)
     
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    numerator

    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Slovak
    Yes, I suppose učiť sa belongs to this category:
    1. pri prechodných slovesách zastupuje predmet v 4. páde;
    a. vyjadruje, že činiteľ deja zasahuje činnosťou sám seba (pri životnom podmete)
    Although... it seems that membership in category 12:
    12. ako formálna príklonka ukazujúca na subjekt
    depends mostly on whether the verb with sa has its own distinct meaning, so it's up to you whether you think "learning" is basically the same as "teaching yourself", or sufficiently different.

    And since učiť is special (unique?) in that it takes two direct objects, učiť sa is also special in that you can encounter sa+direct object.

    Can you specify please that what rule/approach you applied in the above case? Reflexive? Or intended own’s benefit? Or prospective benefit?
    študuj si = benefit (III. 1.) but also having fun (III. 4.)
    užívaj si = fixed part of the verb (III. 5.)

    Simply cvičím or can it be also cvičím sa?
    Well... To say "I exercise, I do exercises" you simply say cvičím (intransitive).
    The verb also has a transitive version cvičiť niekoho, meaning "to train someone"; and so cvičím sa means "I train myself" (v niečom = in something).
    There's also the transitive cvičiť niečo, "to practise an activity" (cvičiť skoky do vody) but this will have no reflexive version since you cannot be identical to the activity you practise...
    (And unlike učiť, cvičiť cannot have both kinds of direct objects at teh same time.)
    Slovenské slovníky

    (I'll come back to the rest of your questions a bit later :))
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    ... I feel there is no other rule than memorizing all the reflexive verbs, whether they go with “sa” or with “si”, or both.

    I feel it because “naraňajkovať sa” could be an ethical dative, too, .....
    No, there is a logic behind "sa" and "si", and “naraňajkovať sa” is not an ethical dative ...

    The substance is that grammatically si is always dative and sa is always accusative, independently whether these pronouns are used in true reflexive sense or in an ethical or figurative or emphatic or whatever sense. Instead of repeating what has already be told by other foreros, I'll try to give you some examples with the literal translations, even if they are not idiomatic in Hungarian.

    Dative
    Umyjem si zuby - "megmosom magamnak a fogakat" (=megmosom a fogaimat, fogat mosok)
    Ľahnem si - "lefekszem magamnak"
    Zacvičím si - "tornászni fogok magamnak"
    Všimol som si - "megfigyeltem magamnak" (=észre vettem)

    Accusative
    Naraňajkujem sa - "megreggelizem magamat" (=megreggelizek)
    Všimol som sa - "megfigyeltem magamat"
    Cvičím sa - "gyakorlom magamat" (=gyakorlok)
    Umývam sa - "mosom magamat" (=mosakszom)

    I repeat: my Hungarian translations here serve only for illustration, they are not necessarily idiomatic or used in Hungarian, but I think literal translations can help to understand the logic behind the usage of the pronouns si and sa.
     
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    numerator

    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Slovak
    @Tisztul_A_Visztula Getting back to the rest of your questions:

    About ľahnúť (si) and sadnúť (si) - the si particle may have originally had a distinct "for one's own benefit/pleasure/comfort" meaning at some point in the past - I don't know for sure, I haven't checked - but if it did, this has eroded to the point that dictionaries list the forms with and without si as synonyms. So, in this sense, there is the verb wihout si and the verb with the si firmly attached (reflexivum tantum), and they mean the same. That said, it is interesting to note a few things:

    - Talking about people or animals, the verbs with si are much more common. (Except Ľahni! and Sadni! used as commands for dogs.)
    - Talking about inanimate things sagging, descending etc., it's always without si: Obilie ľahlo. Na mesto sadla tma.
    -
    As I was writing my earlier post about sadnúť si and posadiť sa, I was going to say that sadnúť si v posteli (to sit up in bed) sounds somewhat less good to me than posadiť sa v posteli, because it's a move to a less comfortable position... But then I checked dictionaries and googled actual usage and realized that this difference is so slight, it's actually illusory...

    In contrast, with the verbs ležať and sedieť, the basic (si-less) forms are neutral and ležať si and sedieť si have this predictable ethical-dative meaning "just lying/sitting there" (and so they will not be listed in dictionaries as verbs on their own right).

    Whether your dictionary is overzealous and lists too many verbs with sa and si as separate entries, I can't tell (not knowing your dictionary), but perhaps the authors felt that the forms are frequent enough to merit their own entry, or that they have a special meaning, not just composed of the meaning of the verb and the meaning of sa or si.

    As @francisgranada pointed out, usually there is a component of meaning relating to sa or si that one can tease out. The difficulty is knowing when the particle is obligatory, when it is optional, how strong a meaning it carries, and which of the several possible meanings it is (as we have seen, the sa in Aký pán sa je? turned out not to be reflexive).

    For example, the si seems quite justifiable in všimnúť si, uvedomiť si, zapamätať si (after all, you are making a mental note to yourself), but why is it obligatory? And why is it not there in zbadať or spozorovať? So, expect to find patterns but not total predictability.
     

    Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Obilie ľahlo. Na mesto sadla tma.
    These are really nice sentences to remember. A ja som rád že to som sa učil z prvej ruky z Numeratora. :)

    Oh, and you are right about Spravím si poriadok (or, with a different word, Upracem si - Slovenské slovníky). It means tidying up for my own benefit, or in my own space.

    Thanks to God, I needed some success in the field of si/sa.


    On the other hand did you intentionally skip question +2?
     

    numerator

    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Slovak
    On the other hand did you intentionally skip question +2?
    Erm, yes ... I felt it was leading us too far afield, with verb prefixes and (in)perfectiveness. That really merits its own thread.
    But to give at least a short answer: No, I don't think you are on the right track there.
     

    Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    It was a good answer, because in this case I can close my open issues. :)

    Eg. I will try not to care with the phenomenon that in the dictionary there are upratať and upratovať, so a pair of dok. and nedok., while I can see only spraviť, which is dok. :)
     

    numerator

    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Slovak
    Oh, I didn't say it was an uninteresting question! Just that I'd rather not confuse future readers by discussing it in a "sa/si" thread. But, if you'd like to start a new thread...
     

    Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Yes, persze, I just needed an excuse to suspend the collection of more grammatical nuances for a while, because I have to digest those you all taught here to me.

    But you can be sure I’ll be back later.
     
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