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  5. "Тим, в чём проблема?"

"Тим, в чём проблема?"

Translation:Tim, what's the problem?

November 7, 2015



What does this mean word by word? In what problem?


I guess it is never too late to answer :) This sentence comes from в чём заключается проблема. Something like "what is this problem about". But you can omit заключается and here we have this half-sentence.


Thank you very much for this.
I always appreciate having some additional context to help make more sense of phrases like this.


'In what does the problem consist?' even makes sense in English, though circuitous. Not really idiom, therefore, but truncated! Like 'What is in the problem?'


More like "Wherein [does] the problem [reside]?


Thank you and у меня тоже есть кошка))


i know a girl from Russia who uses ")))))" too.. what does it mean?


in order to access the : symbol on a russian keyboard, you must hold shift and press 6. its a pain to use it. the ) is in the same spot as on an english keyboard so its much easier to quickly access. also since most messaging systems format their test to be "userName :" typing ) makes it like "userName :)", making the :) anyways


My girlfriend who is from Moscow explained it to me that its just kind of like :) except its not used only when something makes you extremely happy. It's just like something that indicates a happy tone in texting and basically says everything is alright.


I would also argue for another potential construction (though I don't doubt you, Kittysdream) that I found helpful (it might be just my perception).

I've found that Russian uses a Clause + Subject (+ implied Verb?) construction to express the english equivalent of "There is __."

With that in mind, I can also see translating the Russian as, "Tim, is there a problem?"

Maybe this is an example of an older idiom that also just happens to obey modern rules. IDK. I find it helpful thnking of it this way.


I’m starting to think Tim is to the Russian course what Pól is to the Irish course.


Did you know that Tim is a dog?


Тим - моя любимая собака.


More than a dog, he is the favourite one.


He's this course's mascot (don't tell Duo we replaced him)


Or Adamo to the Esperanto course


Adamo and Sofia were the inventor of Esperanto's kids.


it's amazing how one is here to learn something about Russian and ends up learning something about Esperanto :D


Or the bear in the Danish course...


Or Hans in the German course and Alex (and sometimes Selcen) are to the Turkish course. ☺


Or Krotmag in the Klingon course.


Torg and Mara actually. lol


Reminds me of one of the first sentences of this course that made me laugh just because of the phonetics: Тим, там Том


So this would literally be asking "the problem is in [what]?" Would there be another way to ask this, like "Что это проблема?" or "О чём проблема?"


This feels similar to the Dutch "waar zit het probleem in?" ("in what [aspect] is the problem located", something along those lines).

If that interpretation is right, it's actually only the latest in an odd number of parallels between Russian and Dutch so far, actually. (native English & Dutch speaker here).


Dat is interessant. :-)

I hope you keep a list of the parallels. I'm sure it would be interesting for anyone else (like me) who's learning both Dutch and Russian.


Thanks :) It's only incidental, and most probably also apply to German, but I noticed things like the habit of saying that things lie/stand/hang in locations, rather than "being" there, plus the loan words stoel/стул, rugzak/рюкзак, jaarmarkt/ярмарка, doerak/дурак..


There are quite some ship-related words as well, probably due to The Netherland's dominating influences throughout the sea in the past.

For example (as Gwenci stated - only in a nautical context): норд/noord, ост/oost, зюйд/zuid, вест/west, матрос/matroos, флагшток/vlaggenstok, рейс/reis (and many more).


To warn future readers, норд, ост, зюйд and вест are only used as nautical terms. The usual words are се́вер (north), восто́к (east), юг (south) and за́пад (west).


Well, they are distantly related.



Russian Peter The Great has been in the Netherlands. He learned new Dutch words there. :)


As a native Dutch speaker I must say that that sounds kinda off, slightly. It can be used for sure, but it's very specific. It's more for probing deeper. Lots of emphasis on the fact you want to narrow it down. I wouldn't use it often at all.

"I see you cannot finish your task. What exactly is the problem?" "Ik zie dat je je taak niet afkrijgt. Waar zit het probleem in?"

For just regular "What's the problem?" I'd translate it as: "Wat is het probleem?" "Wat is er aan de hand?"

Btw, I think it's really interesting how similar languages are, and how they relate. For example I am learning both Hindi and Russian at the moment and I notice quite some similarities between the two that definitely do not exist between either one of those and English, French, German or Dutch.


I keep translating this as "Tim, what's your problem?" on impulse, darn it. But I know that it has to be "the problem" because there are no pronouns there...


But most often the problem would be connected to the person being asked about. I also typed "what is your problem?"


Is the literal translation "Tim, in what is the problem"?


Does this sentence mean the same thing as "Tim, what is the matter?"


Pretty much, I think. Same as in English. "What's the matter?": "в чем дело?"; versus "what's the problem?": "в чем проблема?".


Why do they have to ad a preposition and therefore make it prepositional case? Wouldn't be easier что это проблема?

  • 2328

"Что это проблема?" is simply not quite Russian. "Что (это) за проблема?" is grammatically correct, but not idiomatic.
The reason why your version is wrong is because Russian "Что" is more restrictive than English "What is...?" - by itself it cannot be used to ask for a description of something, only about identifying the object: Что это? = What is it? The answer should be the name of the thing, not its description.


Correct me if I am wrong, does it literally mean "where is the problem at?"

  • 2328

Not quite. If you want to be literal, it's more like "What contains the problem?" ("At" is definitely a wrong preposition here.)

[deactivated user]

    When do you use Что and when do you use в чём?


    See the notes. Что is nominative and чём is prepositional.

    [deactivated user]

      That I understood. I mean, why would you use в чём instead of Что? Why is Тим, Что проблема wrong?


      It does not work that way, you cannot just say 'что проблема'. Literally this example here means 'in what is the problem'. Despite being a native speaker I am not sure if I can tell you why we think that the problen is not a certain object or action, but inside some situation, it's more like 'where' or 'what does it consist of' than just 'what' -- you just have to keep that in mind. The answer may be: Проблема в том, что ты дурак (the problem is [in the fact] that you are a fool); Проблема в тебе (the problem is [in] you)


      This is exactly how I translated it (as 'where is the problem?') though the system didn't accept it :) I guess I just ignored the fact that чём really denotes a thing and not a place.


      why isn't it 'where's the problem'? or do you just say that in German?


      Same question. Any native English speaker around?


      why is чём prepositional and проблема nominative?


      What case is чём? Sorry I forgot, so many cases to remember :/


      Что проблема - betekent dat 'Wat betekent het woord probleem'?


      "Tim, what is happening". Чем не вариант?


      why "is there a problem here" not accepted?


      Would it be right to say "какая это проблема?" ? Or that doesn't make sense at all?


      It also accepts "What's the problem, Tim?" But it doesn't like it when you when reverse the order on "aunt and uncle".


      The reason is quite obvious, if you think about it...


      why did they use «чём» in the propositional case (according to the chart in the notes)? shouldn’t it be genitive because of в?


      What is the problem about?

      • 2328

      That would only make sense in some classroom context. "What is the problem about/on?" is a question about what subject/topic does a particular problem address. That would correspond to "О чём задача?" in Russian.


      What does чём translate to?


      It is the prepositional case of Что (what) because it follows в.


      Спасибо большое!


      Tim lost his tooth. That's the problem.JK.


      Tim, what's wrong with you?


      Tim,. what's the matter? -- Accepted.


      Does it sounds like the pronunciation of 'Тим' has changed in this one? I had difficulty with this one, played it over and over, it sounded like чьм so that's what I put.... thought it was a new word I hadn't been taught yet...


      Thanks this type of extra info is so useful!


      he sounds very stressed on last word! I am worried! -_-


      Is "что проблема" acceptable?


      No. Translation of your answer is "What problem".


      Чём makes me feel depressed


      "Do you have a problem, Tim?" is marked as incorrect.

      Could I use the same phrase to ask this question, too?


      Tim what`s the problem

      Is the same as

      Tim what is the problem

      But not contracting what is appears to be counted as an error - why?


      Because DuoLingo is imperfect. Your answer should have been accepted. Report it in the future, please (the flag in the green/red box that pops up after clicking check answer)


      Is this phrasing used in polite conversation? In English it comes across as slightly accusatory or impatient versus "what's the matter?".


      Sry maybe i'm stupid but i don't know why we use prepositional case ( в ) to ask this question


      If I understood right reading all above comments, you use что to ask about what object is (что это?) and only that.

      Now в чём (as Kittysdream said above it came from an expression в чём заключается проблема? ) is used to ask a description about something, and that's why this sentence sounds more like "in what does the problem consist?"

      I hope I am right about that.


      Can it be written as "тим, что проблема?" also?


      I think one's ear has to be rather more advanced in this course to distinguish the чем from the чьим and from the other 30 possibilities


      Honestly, I think that "Tim, where is the problem?" should be accepted. Since the literal translation (in what is the problem?) does not work in English, I think both "what is the problem" and "where is the problem" are valid translations, equally close and faithful to the original sentence.


      Despite all suggestions I still don't get why чём. Shouldn't there be just one explanation for this?

      • 2328

      В чём? = In what?
      The question in Russian is not what the problem is but rather where it lies (or something along those lines).

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