Slovak: Construction of 'tá moja sestra.'

lafz_puchnevala

Senior Member
Tamil
Hey guys,

I am not sure what this sentence exactly means and the reason for it assuming it's a good construction. It talks about my sister but when do I use it? The usage of 'tá' is confusing here.

I would think 'to je moja sestra.' would mean 'It's my sister' or 'ona je moja sestra.' to mean 'She's my sister.' would be the message being conveyed here?

Cheers
 
  • jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Tá moja sestra - this/that sister of mine
    Tie moje sestry - these/those sisters of mine
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi lafz_puchnevala, I agree with jazyk's reply above. In English, of course, there's no difference in meaning between "my sister" and "that sister of mine": they refer to the same person.
    The difference is stylistic: "that sister of mine" is stylistically marked according to the context in which it's used. That's why it's always helpful to provide context with your question, as jasio noted in #2.
    In Slovak, I would expect tá moja sestra to be used in a context in which the person or people being spoken to actually know my sister, or at least know that I have a sister, or if the sister has just been mentioned.
    This exercise is apparently designed to make the learner tick the right boxes with the correct agreement of the respective determiners and moja. I've written, edited and proofread language-teaching materials, and this particular exercise is, in my opinion, poorly designed, because it's teaching a stylistically advanced and, for the beginner, unnecessary and artificial construction (tá moja sestra instead of just tá sestra, or moja sestra).
    It talks about my sister but when do I use it? The usage of 'tá' is confusing here.
    You're absolutely right, the exercise has only succeeded in confusing the learner. :mad: The use of stylistic marking shouldn't be introduced at an early stage.
    You never need to actively use it at all, because it doesn't tell us anything more (in terms of meaning) than moja sestra.
     
    Last edited:

    jasio

    Senior Member
    The difference is stylistic: "that sister of mine" is stylistically marked according to the context in which it's used. That's why it's always helpful to provide context with your question, as jasio noted in #2.
    In Slovak, I would expect tá moja sestra to be used in a context in which the person or people being spoken to actually know my sister, or at least know that I have a sister, or if the sister has just been mentioned.
    Actually, I had a hidden idea to compare the usage of this phrase in Slovak and in Polish. :)
    A cognate Polish phrase "ta moja siostra" conveys a sort of a criticism, so the usage assumes that not only the addressee knows my sister, but that she's infamous for one reason or another, or that she is a black sheep in the family. Someone not worth even spending time to use adjectives in the phrase. Something like:
    - Co to za dym dziś walił z waszej kuchni?
    - To ta moja siostra znowu spaliła obiad (assuming that she burns the food quite often... if it were once in a lifetime, I'd say 'To tylko moja siostra spaliła obiad' instead)
    It may be regional though.
     

    lafz_puchnevala

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Hi lafz_puchnevala, I agree with jazyk's reply above. In English, of course, there's no difference in meaning between "my sister" and "that sister of mine": they refer to the same person.
    The difference is stylistic: "that sister of mine" is stylistically marked according to the context in which it's used. That's why it's always helpful to provide context with your question, as jasio noted in #2.
    In Slovak, I would expect tá moja sestra to be used in a context in which the person or people being spoken to actually know my sister, or at least know that I have a sister, or if the sister has just been mentioned.
    This exercise is apparently designed to make the learner tick the right boxes with the correct agreement of the respective determiners and moja. I've written, edited and proofread language-teaching materials, and this particular exercise is, in my opinion, poorly designed, because it's teaching a stylistically advanced and, for the beginner, unnecessary and artificial construction (tá moja sestra instead of just tá sestra, or moja sestra).
    You're absolutely right, the exercise has only succeeded in confusing the learner. :mad: The use of stylistic marking shouldn't be introduced at an early stage.
    You never need to actively use it at all, because it doesn't tell us anything more (in terms of meaning) than moja sestra.
    Thank you for your insight. Being a beginner, I hope I can safely skip this exercise. In English, using such a construction does imply a hidden meaning or context based on what we know of the person, normally said in a sarcastic manner or with a negative connotation. It can be an advanced grammatical structure for sure in this respect.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Thanks jasio. Yes, I actually wrote a paragraph pointing out that this usage in Slovak too may, but doesn't necessarily, convey a disparaging nuance, as you say is the case in Polish (and this can certainly be the case in Czech too). In the end, however, I deleted it because it isn't always the case, and this highlights, as you noted, the need for context. In the end I deleted the paaragraph I'd written because I didn't want to confuse the topic starter even more.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    A cognate Polish phrase "ta moja siostra" conveys a sort of a criticism, so the usage assumes that not only the addressee knows my sister, but that she's infamous for one reason or another .....
    This works in Slovak as well, and probably in other Slavic languages, too. I'd like to add, that I have the impression that this "tá" (or "ta" in Polish) here has the function of a quasi definite article (which as grammatical category does not exist neither in Slovak nor in Polish), putting extra emphasis on "sister" or making it more concrete. I can imagine also a positive usage, not necessarily a criticism. E.g. "Tá moja sestra je nejlepšia osoba na svete" (My sister is the best person on earth).
     
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