"Mi povas vidi du hundojn."

Translation:I can see two dogs.

August 28, 2015

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It's terrible when another language keeps slipping into your mind. I saw this as "Can I see your dogs" which meant I got my German and Esperanto and their cases all mixed up! I am trying to think in Esperanto in my daily life now but every now and again German, which I learned 40 years ago, keeps slipping into my thinking. How do you stop it? I see some people learning ten languages on Duo and I just don't know how they do it!


My experience is that it happens MUCH less when I'm actively working on both languages, and switch back and forth a lot. One, my brain is getting a lot of practice switching. Two, brain scans of people who speak multiple languages show that languages that one's actively using each get their own locations in the brain. But if you're using one and not the other, the new one gets laid down on top of the old one -- for efficiency, presumably. I'm betting that leads to confusion between the old one and the new, at least while you're learning.


"Mi vidas du hundojn" means the same, doesn't it?


I think there's just a slight difference between "I can see" and "I (do) see"


Is this construction natural in Esperanto? Yes, "can" is often used as an auxiliary for perception words like "see, hear, feel" etc. in English, but it is purely a grammatical quirk with little to no semantic value. In many languages I know, this sentence, translated directly, would make no sense.


"Can" certainly does have semantic value in sentences like "I can see two dogs."


So "I can see two dogs" isn't equivalent to "I see two dogs" for you?


No, it's not equivalent for me. This is a semantic question, not a grammatical one. Yes, there are some contexts in which being able to do something is practically the same as actually doing it - such as "I can't remember" vs "I don't remember" - but even in these cases, there is a difference in nuance. "Can" indeed has semantic value in this sentence.

  • I can see two dogs, but there are some other animals there that I can't make out.
  • I see two dogs, but there are some other animals there that I don't see.

The first example gives contrast between what the speaker can and cannot do. The second sentence is grammatically correct, but semantically strange.


Mi ne povas vidi du hundojn.


Try to cross your eyes a little bit, suddenly, you'll see it.


"I can see four lights"...


Funny. That's what I thought of.


La "du" pensigis mi de la franca "du," do mi diris "some" anstataǔ "two."


why vidi instead of vidas? I can (to see) two dogs doesn't make as much sense to me


"(capability verb)(infinitive)" is a very common—if not universal—construction among languages; it is used in English, Spanish, French, and Russian, among others. The reason we commonly tack "to" onto our infinitives in English is because otherwise it sounds like a conjugation; however, such is not really the case with our verb "be". Let me ask you which makes more sense grammatically: "It can is", or "It can be"?


What about 3?


I pause at the word "povas" every time it comes up. It seems to mean "try", "can", and "do", depending on context.

And while I get how that works, I still find it confusing.


I thought try is provas.


Nur du hundoj. Mi ne povas vidi pli ol du hundojn! Sendi helpo, mi petas!


I believe in English the sentence "I can see something" also means "I am doing it right now" (I am seeing it). Is it correct in Esperanto too?

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