Can anyone explain to me why it is "в моей комнате" but "у меня в комнате"
The word order in "в моей комнате" is totally natural to me (I speak English and German), but I have trouble getting my head around "у меня в комнате".
(I can remeber that it just has to be like this, but I don't understand it intuitively when reading or hearing it, and also always have to stop and think hard before using it. Maybe if I could make sense of it that would help.)
Almost. "Mir" is dativ but "меня" is genitive. The word for word would be "bei meine im Zimmer". Guess that's what tripped me up.
Because yes, this is certainly a helpful way to look at it. After all, the genitive is only there because the "у" requires it. So if I look at it as meaning "bei mir", using a different case because of the preposition, rather than "у меня" being translated as my/mein, then yes, the word order makes sense.
In addition, the Genitive and the Dative case relatively often have a similar function, e.g. the possession in Latin is expressed with the Dative, and also in some dialects in German, e.g. Saxon ("Das Auto ist mir." = gehört mir). See also the bestseller "Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod."
This made me think of the Yiddish theater song "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" (also titled in German "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön"), made nationally famous by The Andrews Sisters in the US - an exceptionally popular song in the US, still covered today by various musicians (Bette Midler is one): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe2UXccid40
It was composed by two Jewish musicians for a Yiddish musical playing in New York in 1932. It was immensely popular in Nazi Germany, until it's Jewish provenance was discovered, at which point it was banned.
I've seen any number of films set in WW II where you can hear this song in the background. A song with Japanese in it probably wouldn't have been played, so I wonder if you could actually hear it on the radio after the US declared war on Germany, simply because of the Germanic lyrics - most people here wouldn't be able to distinguish the Yiddish from the German, especially since it was given a German title.
But for me (native German speaker), there is a significant difference between "in meinem Zimmer" (in my room) and "bei mir im Zimmer". The second one has the primary reading "with me in a room" - not forcibly making it my room, but instead denotating my presence. The use as "him being in my room" is rather colloquial. Is there the same duality in meaning in Russian?
Not quite. Firstly, "в комнате у меня"→"у меня в комнате" (this just sounds far more natural). Secondly, "есть" is the wrong verb here: we use it to indicate existence of something, which would make sense here only if the very existence of the guest were the information conveyed. Once you correct those, you get "у меня в комнате наш гость" which is similar to the original sentence except it tells us who is in my room rather than where our guest is.
So, I'd say that ckctenerife1's translation is not bad, except it misses the fact that it's my room.
I admit I don't understand the sentence structure. Does this Russian sentence really have correct grammar?
Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате.
Мы = we
С = with
Нашим = our
Гостем = guest
У меня = I have
В комнате = in the room.
I put the sentence in Google translate and it translated that sentence as "We are with my guest in my room" which has a slightly different meaning than "Our guest is in the room with me." According to Google Translate "Our guest is in the room with me" = "Наш гость в комнате со мной" in Russian.
Since I cannot answer your last comment, I will do it here. Once again, the sentence "Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате" should not be parsed word-for-word. It contains two fixed blocks:
"Мы с X" means either "I and X" or "We and X" in Russian. The ambiguity between these two is usually resolved from the context.
"у меня в Y"="in/at my Y". E.g. "У меня в кармане"="in(side) my pocket".
Hence "Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате" = "I/we and our guest (are) in my room". As you probably know by now, the verb "to be" is often implicit in Russian.
I'll probably just use this sentence..Наш гость у меня в комнате. It's way more simple and concise.
As I have pointed out elsewhere in this thread, your sentence does not imply my presence there while "Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате" does. So, however simple & concise it might be, it's meaning is different.
Okay, I wrote down a note about "Мы с X". I think I understand the sentence "Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате" and agree it means "I/we and our guest (are) in my room" in English.
Also, I was trying to think of a situation where I would actually need to say the English sentence, "Our guest is in the room with me". I went to bed and thought about when and where I would need to know how to translate this to Russian. I couldn't think of a situation, so...
If I had to, I'll probably just use this sentence..Наш гость у меня в комнате. It's way more simple and concise.
I have tried my best parsing the Russian sentence just above, but if you prefer the opinion of Google Translate - be my guest. Actually, to Google Translate's credit, what it gave you is not incorrect, and not even half bad. It's just less natural than the sentence I gave you. But once again, feel free to disregard an opinion of a native speaker.
I really want to understand. Could you maybe try to explain why «Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате.» sounds more natural than «Наш гость в комнате со мной»? If I saw the former sentence in a book, I would begin to translate it as “We are with our guest in my room.”
Also, doesn't «Мы с нашим гостем» mean ''We are with our guest'' in English? So this would mean something like-- Bob and I are with our guest, Tom. And this phrase «у меня в комнате» means “in my room'' in English, right? SO, wouldn't «Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате.» simply mean ''We are with our guest in my room” or ''We're in my room with our guest?''
THIS sentence “Our guest is in the room with me" on the other hand does NOT have the word “WE” in it. So why use «Мы» in the translation? Okay, maybe using Мы would sound more natural. I wouldn't know because I'm not Russian. But how would you translate ''Our guest is in the room?'' Наш гость в комнате?
So if I wanted to say ''Our guest is in the room WITH ME'', it would not sound natural if I just added 2 words «со мной» to the end of «Наш гость в комнате»? By the way, in English, the room might not even be OUR room. The English sentence doesn't indicate whose room it is. It could be a stranger's room! And still it's more "natural" to translate ''Our guest is in the room with me'' as «Мы с нашим гостем у меня в комнате». The last part in the Russian sentence says to me that it's specifically MY room -- “We are with our guest in MY room.” THIS (English) SENTENCE ''Our guest is in the room with me'' does not state WHOSE room it is. Therefore the Russian sentence should NOT state WHOSE room it is, right???
Russian is giving me a headache...
I think you are focusing too much on trying to make translations match up word-by-word, which just isn’t quite how language works. A word or combination of words can have more than one meaning.
For instance, in English, by can often mean something like beside or near — e.g. “the car is by the gate”. But it’s clear to any native speaker that “the book was written by Tolkien” doesn’t mean “the book was written beside Tolkien”, it means “Tolkien wrote the book”, and this is clear to any native speaker. Going word-by-word, one could think it should mean “…beside Tolkien”, but overall, it doesn’t mean that. Meanings come from combinations of words, not words one at a time.
Similarly, you’re not wrong that у меня в комнате can be broken down word by word as with me in the room — but in context, that’s just not what у меня means here, as other people have explained. It’s not unreasonable to try the word-by-word approach when you meet a new phrase, but when it turns out to mean something else, you shouldn’t get too hung up on the mismatch.