winieneś odpowiedź

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Lorenc

Senior Member
Italian
The Russian-Polish dictionary "Wielki słownik rosyjsko-polski" by Wiedza Powszechna gives winieneś odpowiedź as a translation of the Russian expression ответ за тобой (otwiet za toboj, which means, as far as I understand, 'it is up to you to decide; it is you who should decide'). To me the Polish expression given by the dictionary sounds very strange, especially because winieneś is not followed by an infinitive. Any comments?
Would these alternative translations work better?
1. Odpowiedź należy do ciebie / do ciebie należy odpowiedź.
2. To ty powinieneś odpowiedzieć.
 
  • Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    The Russian-Polish dictionary "Wielki słownik rosyjsko-polski" by Wiedza Powszechna gives winieneś odpowiedź as a translation of the Russian expression ответ за тобой (otwiet za toboj, which means, as far as I understand, 'it is up to you to decide; it is you who should decide'). To me the Polish expression given by the dictionary sounds very strange, especially because winieneś is not followed by an infinitive. Any comments?
    Would these alternative translations work better?
    1. Odpowiedź należy do ciebie / do ciebie należy odpowiedź.
    2. To ty powinieneś odpowiedzieć.
    You are right. "winieneś odpowiedź" is an obsolete expression, and can even be incomprehensible for younger Polish speakers.
    A better expression , but still quite conservative, could be "powinieneś odpowiedzieć".
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "Powinien" follows the same pattern as Polish "modal" verbs like chcę. mogę, etc. which also take the verb in infinitive. This is common in many languages, not only Slavic. I don't understand why the SJP dictionary emphasizes the use of the infinitive.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    The Russian-Polish dictionary "Wielki słownik rosyjsko-polski" by Wiedza Powszechna gives winieneś odpowiedź as a translation of the Russian expression ответ за тобой (otwiet za toboj, which means, as far as I understand, 'it is up to you to decide; it is you who should decide'). To me the Polish expression given by the dictionary sounds very strange, especially because winieneś is not followed by an infinitive. Any comments?
    Albeit the phrase sounds archaic, its construction does not raise any alarm in my head because I could understand it in two slightly different ways:
    1. as an archaic form of "powineneś coś zrobić" ("you should") followed by an infinitive, indeed
    2. as an short form of "jesteś winien coś komuś" ("you owe") followed by a noun (phrase)
    Either way, albeit I'm not sure what the Russian phrase exactly means, I would interpret the Polish one (archaic, as was already mentioned) as an obligation to respond rather than a privilege.
    As for "Up to you", I would say "(Tak) jak chcesz", "To od ciebie zależy", "Ty decydujesz"
    These phrases do not seem to include the sense of obligation which I perceive in the original phrase. They are closer to "I don't really care".
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Albeit the phrase sounds archaic, its construction does not raise any alarm in my head because I could understand it in two slightly different ways [...]
    yes, I had analysed the Polish translation as 'jesteś winien odpowiedź'; in fact, the same Russian construction with 'za' is used to express debt, eg.
    за ва́ми де́сять рубле́й / za wami diesiat' rublej = jest mi pan winien dziesięć rubli
    and is used to express some other similar kinds of non-monetary obligations
    за тобо́й ещё две кни́ги / za toboj jeszczo dwie knigi = musisz mi jeszcze zwrócić dwie książki, nie oddałeś mi jeszcze dwóch książek
    за ва́ми вы́бор / za wami wybor = do pana należy (panu przysługuje) wybór;
    о́чередь за тобо́й / oczeried' za toboj = kolej na ciebie, twoja kolej;

    It just seems very strange that the dictionary authors could have translated otwiet za toboj with the archaic form "winieneś odpowiedź" unless the latter was some kind of fixed expression (which anyway isn't, and I couldn't find any trace of it either using google or in the NKJP corpus).
     

    Poland91pl

    Senior Member
    Polish
    You are right. "winieneś odpowiedź" is an obsolete expression, and can even be incomprehensible for younger Polish speakers.
    A better expression , but still quite conservative, could be "powinieneś odpowiedzieć".
    I'm 29 and it's indeed incomprehensible for me :(
     
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