Slovak: učiteľ[om]

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by monalisa!, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. monalisa! Banned

    We can say "he is a teacher" = je učiteľ/ učiteľom

    Does a native speaker perceive a difference?, or you would choose one or the other depending on the context? or on the profession?

    Is there any instance where one choice is wrong (with the auxiliary "to be")?

  2. francisgranada Senior Member

    I think there is no rule, at least not an exact one. Spontaneousely I should say:
    XY je učiteľ (a simple constatation of his profession).
    XY je učiteľom na Univerzite (expresses his "charge/function" at the university, whatever is his "original" profession)

    An other example, to illustrate the difference (I hope that other "slovacophones" will agree, as well):
    XY je lekár (i.e. XY is really a physician/doctor, this is his profession, that's what he has studied, etc...)
    XY je teraz našim lekárom (i.e. XY is now our doctor, normally a professional physician, but in a particular context, even if this is not his original profession .... )

    (An Italian example, though not the same, but it may be helpful for illustration: sono medico versus faccio il medico)
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  3. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Is it similar to Spanish ser (identity) : estar (condition)? Looks like that, from the surface. (My mother tongue pretty much lost instrumental with copulative verbs).
  4. francisgranada Senior Member

    Maybe, in some cases there is some correspondance or analogy with this. But in general, it is not the case.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  5. monalisa! Banned

    Thanks, I suppose that with "to become" -om would be more natural: stal sa ....-om., right?
  6. francisgranada Senior Member

    Yes. Stal som sa učiteľ is not good.
  7. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech the instrumental case generally expresses a transitory quality (je učitelem na střední škole) or a subjective opinion (je mi učitelem) whereas nominative denotes a permanent quality or an undisputable fact (tygr je šelma). I think Slovak is quite similar in this respect.

    otec je učitel/učitelem - both variants are correct, theoretically it depends on the intended meaning, effectively no much of a difference

    otec je učitel na střední škole - rather incorrect, colloquial
    otec je pokladník spolku zahrádkářů - incorrect, colloquial
    otec je mi učitel - incorrect even in colloquial Czech
    tygr je šelmou - incorrect, however "měď je dobrým vodičem tepla" is possible

    There is no simple precise rule in Czech. I can recommend the article "Konkurence nominativu a instrumentálu přísudkového substantiva v současné spisovné češtině" in Naše řeč, volume 63 (1980), issue 4.
  8. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    In my opinion...

    XY je učiteľom.


    XY je učiteľ na univerzite.

    ...could also work (not sure if these would be considered "correct", though). Perhaps the nominative form is more common when it comes to simpler statements (like "XY je učiteľ"). I don't perceive any difference in meaning between them.
  9. monalisa! Banned

    Do your remarks aplly indifferently to all professions?,
    what about klavirista and budovateľ, for example?
  10. Azori

    Azori Senior Member

    Yes, I'd say it is the same with all professions.
  11. francisgranada Senior Member

    I agree. I'd like to add that not only with professions, but also Ja som tvojim otcom, Ona mi je sesternicou etc ...

    P.S. I agree with Bibax (#7) also for the Slovak. But I have to agree with Azori (#8) as well, i.e. that in the today's colloquial Slovak the difference between the two possibilities is very little and they are practically interchangeable (almost) in all the cases. However, I still feel the difference :) ...
  12. monalisa! Banned

    Thank you, my friends, very comprehensive ! :)
  13. I remember that my high school teacher of Slovak (very fussy about what is correct and what is not, by the way) tought us, that only the version with instrumental is correct and this is what I feel too by now.

    Also, thinking about this further, there is a specific way how to ask about someone's profession in Slovak:
    Kým som/si/je?
    čím som/si/je?

    Who/what am I/are you/is he? (where 'who' or 'what' is declined to instrumental)
    The only correct answer could be given in instrumental too: Som/si/je učiteľom.
  14. slovac Senior Member

    I would say that both of options are correct and mean same

    XY je ucitelom. - This is used by people wanting to look like inteligent people

    XY je učiteľ. - used in spoken Slovak

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