This is father of which student?

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by Anita hk, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. Anita hk Senior Member

    Hong Kong Chinese
    I would like to know if this sentence makes sense, and if so, how is it structured.

    чей отец зтого студента?
    This is the answer to a translation exercise of the sentence 'this is father of which student?' (sorry for the fact that even the English version sounds clumsy, this is because the original version is in Chinese.)

    Whose (is) the father of this student doesn't make much sense to me and doesn't really reflect the meaning of the original sentence.
    Thanks a lot for your help.
     
  2. Drink

    Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I agree, this does not make much sense. I would translate that question as "Это отец какого студента?" or more generally "Это чей отец?" = "Whose father is this?"

    (Also, note that it is "этого", not "зтого". Oh, and your English is correct, not clumsy at all.)
     
  3. Anita hk Senior Member

    Hong Kong Chinese
    Thanks Drink for the reply. Your version makes more sense. In Russian, when asking questions, is it necessary to put a question word like What Whose Who at the front? Or suffice with just the change of tone?
    Thanks for pointing out the э and з, I made out the sentence by selecting alphabets from a virtual keyboard...
     
  4. Drink

    Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    No, the word order usually does not change when asking a question, only the tone (unless you add the yes-or-no question particle "ли", which often does change the word order). Also, remember that in Russian, word order is very flexible anyway.
     
  5. Anita hk Senior Member

    Hong Kong Chinese
    thank you Drink.
     
  6. Vadim K Senior Member

    Russian - Russia
    If I am not mistaken, it is typical for Chinese to construct the phrases this way. It would be in pinying something like "Zhe4 ge fu4 qin1 shi4 na3 ge xue2 sheng1?", right?

    This question should be translated into Russian as "Это отец какого студента?" As you can see this Russian question almost is constructed like Chinese one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  7. Anita hk Senior Member

    Hong Kong Chinese
    Vadim, thanks for the reply. At least now I know that the answer in the book really doesn't make sense.
    The original version in Chinese is
    这是哪位学生的父亲?zhe shi nei wei xue sheng de fu qin?
     
  8. Vadim K Senior Member

    Russian - Russia
    Ok, thank you. And you can also say in Russian "Это какого студента отец? (literally - Zhe neiwei xuesheng de fuqin?)" and you will be undestood. The Chinese verb "shi" like English verb "be" (the Russian verb "есть") is always omitted in Russian present tense.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  9. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    If you ask questions of the kind "What/ Whose / Who is this" the question word must be placed at the beginning not only in Russian, but in all European languages. If the word is not there then this is a quite different question. (Only languages lacking the word "whose" must use another construction).
     
  10. Anita hk Senior Member

    Hong Kong Chinese
    Now this does sound similar to the original version in Chinese. Thanks Vadim.
     
  11. Anita hk Senior Member

    Hong Kong Chinese
    Hi Ben, thanks for your comment. That's why I think my English version is clumsy too. Any suggestion?
     
  12. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    At least in Russian this rule seems not to work. The following questions differ only stylistically or have a bit different semantic stress, but difference in most cases is too subtle to take these questions as quite different:

    Что это за книга?
    Это что за книга?

    Кто этот человек?
    Этот человек кто?

    Чья это шляпа?
    Это чья шляпа?
    Эта шляпа чья?
     
  13. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    OK, these are variations, but the basic sentence begins with the question word, and the question word is also there in the inverted sentence. I perceived the post #3 (may be just too quick) that Anita thought that the question word can be skipped.
    Such variations, by the way, are possible in other languages (mostly in Slavic ones), but the sentence becomes very colloquial.
     
  14. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I would not say inversion is peculiar only to the colloquial speech. Just different semantic stress, necessary to make the question more precise. Of course I'm talking here only about Russian language.
     

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