1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Можно мне собаку?"

"Можно мне собаку?"

Translation:Can I have a dog?

November 13, 2015

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

Okay, this one made me laugh in amongst all the можно мне суп, можно мне курицу... Double take time when I saw можно мне собаку. (Of course, it's possible I'm just going slightly mad from Duolingo overdose, but I thought it was amusing...)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

There was a Chinese restaurant in one of the small cities I lived in in the American Midwest that we called "The Puppy Palace", because the place was raided for serving dog to certain favored customers, who regarded the dish as a delicacy.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

If dog meat is on the menu, a Russian-speaking customer is likely to say, «Можно мне собачатину?»


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

The thing is that the Russian sentence does not specify what the asker is going to do with the dog. The sentece can also mean, "May I buy a/the dog?", "Can I hold the dog for a while?" or "May I use the dog?". You can't really tell without a context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/peachtree2

Wish this wasn't open-ended translation format. I put "Can I get a dog?" but a bunch of things would be normal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

I don't work for DL, but my experience with them tells me that they usually pick one or two likely equivalents and leave it to participants of discussions to fill in the 'gaps' (i.e. to suggest other valid translations). DL's primary translations often leave to be desired.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/___Jake___

for here or to go?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/illirina

can I get..? what's wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GT_Shark

Seeing the text "Can I've a dog" Is simply wrong... I don't mean technically... Probably perfectly reasonable sentence. But, In speech there is a definite H in there eluding to "Can I-h-v a dog" Which would be written "Can I have a dog". I'm 45 years old and have never seen in written form "Can I've ...." Again. I'm sure its technically correct. But, I've never seen it, except in sentences like "I've never seen it" Anyone else think it looks odd? Probably just me :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KenCavines

"Can I've" sounds completely wrong to this native speaker (USA variety). But I can't think of an example where "have", when indicating possession, is ever contracted to 've. Maybe the contraction only occurs when used as a helping verb, such as "I have seen" -> "I've seen".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

The only time I can think of an exception when have is indicating possession is when it's acting as a helper verb to got! So yes, I agree.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dirckk

British English actually does allow the non-auxiliary "have" to contract:

"I've a question."

(though even for the Brits you can't contract it when you have an inverted modal like "can"... I think the reason is that this is not the finite present "have" [which would be "has" if the subject were 3rd person], it's the bare-infinitive "have" because of the modal)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/geneven

"Can I've" is bonkers in American English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

In standard English, contracted forms of verbs are never used in questions.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KenCavines

This statement is to general, although it may be true as a trend, or specifically related to to the abbreviation 've for have. But I can think of many contacted verb forms in questions. Can't you?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

In "can't" the particle "not" is contracted, not the verb itself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KenCavines

I see the distinction you are making, and I agree that there is a difference, although I'll beg to differ about the verb not being contracted. "can't" is the contraction of "cannot", a negative verb, similar contractions being "don't" (= "do not") and "won't" (= "will not"), etc. Clearly in the latter case there's no question of only the "not" being contracted, and in fact "not" can't be contracted by itself, outside of this sort of negative verb construction. But you are right that it is a different situation from the contraction of "have" to "'ve". You are citing a general rule that contracted verb forms aren't used in questions, but I wonder what other examples of such a rule you are thinking of other than 've? Hmm, perhaps: "I will" => "I'll". The contracted form can appear in a statement, but not in a question. Ok, we've got 2 data points, maybe we've got a theory! (Science joke.) Wait, try this: The standard way to convert a statement into a question in English is to reverse the Subject-Verb order, and this applies to the first verb, in the case of a multi-verb construction. E.g., "I can go." => "Can I go?, "You do think that ..." => "Do you think that...?", "We have seen...." => "Have we seen...?", "You will run." => "Will you run?" In the last two examples, the contraction could be made in the statement, but not in the VS-ordered question: "we've seen", "you'll run". So it may be correct to say that helping verb contractions can't appear in questions, because of the SV => VS inversion. What do you think? Of course, helping verbs are the most common contractions, so this version is almost as strong as your original statement. But it also ties in my previous point about the contraction for "have" only happening when it's used as a helping verb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dirckk

The linguists I trust most have argued pretty convincingly that the negative forms aren't really contractions at all: they're just a short list of (like 15 or so) negative lexemes. They don't follow the same rules as the verb contractions, several have irregular forms, and you can't really stick -n't onto a new word willy-nilly (unlike -'s, -'d, -'ll etc).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MagnetcParticls

Contractions are perfectly legal. Just because it's not popular doesn't mean it's wrong. Styles are defined by doing things differently. Unpopular contracted words are my bag, don't knock it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

Можно мне is often used in the sense "May I speak with" or "May I use".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HugoBastos93

Why is it собаку and not собака? I was under the impression that in such constructions "мне... ", what is translated as the object is, in fact, the subject; as in, the literal translation would be "is a dog possible to me? " or something like that xD thanks for any help :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alimgo

It is basically an impersonal construction. You could add an 'it' to make it sort of seem a little more logical: It is allowed to me a dog.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

By placing собаку in accusative case, it is made the object of an unspoken verb - which is (according to other comments elsewhere) usually understood to be "to give" or "to have" -> "May/Can I have a dog?"

If it were собака, then your construction would be a logical inference.

One infers the verb from the presence of the direct object. The presence of an indirect object in Dative case doesn't detract from this inference.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteveBKK

I listened to this recording 12 times and still could not grasp it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Squonkalini

What case is собаку in?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

Accusative (among other things, it is used for direct objects)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Squonkalini

Much obliged!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EdwardMarr1

Should "Can I get a dog?" be accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexmalaho

I guess that's a yes. Можно мне собаку and можно мне завести собаку often have the same meaning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/athb4hu

Why is dog in the accusative here? Seems wrong to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

It is absolutely right, given that a/the dog is a direct object of the verb implied, whatever that verb is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phil_Stracchino

What's wrong with "Could I have a dog?" Можно can mean either could or can, right...?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ger205813

How do I know that this doesn't mean 'Can I be a dog'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kundoo

Well, it can't possibly mean "Can I be a dog?". That would be "Можно мне быть собакой?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zhenidrag

If you are in Denmark than definitely

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.