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"Как вы думаете, этот мальчик читает?"

Translation:What do you think, is this boy reading?

November 14, 2015



Why does this sentence not mean "How do you think the boy reads?" (the context might be that the boy is supposed to be illiterate, or forgot his glasses or something like that)? Why is there как in this sentence? Can somebody explain?


Comas are very important in Russian. Here it separates two independent clauses, pretty much like in it does in English. "What do you think, does this boy read?" = "Does this boy read? What do you think?" - the answer is yes/no

If you were do drop the coma, It would indeed mean "How do you think the boy reads?" - the answer is "Backwards, 'cause his parents are playing a cruel joke on him."


Note that the word "comma" has two m's. The word "coma" is not a punctuation mark; it is a serious lapse of consciousness and would be treated in a hospital.


Thanks! I think I completely missinterpreted this sentence. I thought it either asks about the manner the boy is reading, or about the title of the book. But if the answer is just yes or no, then it makes much more sense.


But sometimes commas separate a subordinate clause, as in "Как вы думаете, что этот мальчик читает?"


If you wanted to say "What do you think this boy is reading?", would that translate as: "Что ты думаешь этот мальчик читает?


Could it be something like "What do you think that guy is reading?" if we drop the comma? Or we should change the case to talk about the book?


It's just Russian convention. The "what" in "what do you think?" translates as "как."

If you wanted to know how the boy reads, "как" would need to appear in the same clause he does (e.g. "Как этот мальчик читает?").


I see, I analysed the sentence differently, I guess. Thanks for the help! I wonder, could I also say: Как вы думаете, что этот мальчик читает?


Wouldn't "Как вы думаете, что этот мальчик читает?" mean "What do you think that this/that boy is reading?" Because it would have a totally different meaning... If so, the accepted translations are very unnatural, while the above one isn't.


Yes, this sentence has a different meaning than the one being translated here (asking what specifically he is reading, instead of whether or not he is reading or can read). I meant it works only in the sense that it's a grammatically coherent sentence, sorry for the confusion.


Well, что can mean 'that' (introducing a subordinate clause) or 'what' (as an interrogative or a relative pronoun). This sentences really confuses me a lot. :/


So would "Как вы думаете что этот мальчик читает?" (that is the same as Vortarulo without the comma) indeed mean "How do you think the boy reads?" (for example, asking whether he is reading well, or super badly, or backwards, or something like that).


They're not asking how the boy is reading but if the boy is reading.


I translated it as "What do you think this boy is reading?" But its saying another translation is "What do you think, is this boy reading?". Those seem to be very different questions in English. "What do you think this boy is reading?" is asking "what" the boy is reading. While "What do you think, is this boy reading?" is asking whether or not the listener "thinks" the boy is reading.


I was marked wrong for saying "What do you think, is this boy reading?" Are you saying they should both be accepted?


The "correct" answer included a comma - "What do you think, this boy is reading?" Of course, in informal speech a question can often be phrased using the statement word order - "You drank the milk?" instead of "Did you drink the milk?". But I don't think that really applies after "what do you think", and accepting it probably leads to confusion, so I've removed it from the accepted answers.

I'm sure we'll now get reports telling us how stupid we are to not accept it :-)


There are several other exercises in this lesson with the same format/phrasing but they don't follow your logic about comma use. The result is that this is the only answer where I have to treat them as separate phrases (and even then, buy English translations could be considered correct in my opinion).


I would assume that "what do you think the boy is reading?" would require что instead of как, yes?


See I don't buy that argument. This meaning cannot be expressed with a comma, it needs two separate sentences, if for no other reason then that there are two questions expressed. If "What do you think" is self-contained then it must absolutely have its own question mark.


"What do you think this boy is reading?" is considered correct, but in some other comments I read it should be "What do you think, is this boy reading?", interpreted as a yes/no question. Could it mean both?


I gave your answer as well. According to pashasyr in his post above, the confusion only exists because we are ignoring the comma that is included in the example. The comma separates the two clauses. If we separate them in the English translation, we get the actually correct ....What do you think (comma) is this boy reading.


From the comments above from people who seem fluent in Russian, your alternative translation seems to be incorrect. According to those statements, it would be correct if the comma were missing. The comma supposedly divorces the initial "what" from "is this boy reading?"

Google translate gives the exact same Russian for both versions of the English, though. That leads me to conclude that the sentence in ambiguous.

If I were trying to be absolutely clear with the "correct" sentence, with my beginner's Russian, I'd ask two separate questions "Как вы думаете? Этот мальчик читает?"

For the other meaning, I'd omit the comma.


I'm trying to improve my listening comprehension by not looking at the text but I'm finding the audio extremely unclear. Anyone else with the same experience or do my ears just need to become more sensitive to the language?


Both. The sound is not the best, but you get better at listening with practice.

One interesting thing I found in studying foreign languages is that the brain tends to fill in places you don't understand with familiar sounds, so that you expect to hear certain things, and it's only until your expectations begin to match what's being said that things become more clear. So, part of the process is building a mental database of Russian sounds, becoming familiar with verb forms, etc., so that you can literally fill in the blanks even when the audio fails for lack of quality or because it's too fast or because sounds are elided in normal conversational speech.

The first time I heard the word девочка, I could swear the person was saying "Gher-itch-kah", but once I practice say "Dyeh-vatch-kah"(sort of), I was able to hear it clearly, and the "gher" sound went away, replaced by "dyeh". I find that remarkable and strange, to say the least. Human perception is a lot more fluid than people think. (I'm a retired attorney. I have an extremely low opinion of eye-witness identification.)


why is the sentence "Как вы думаете" instead of "как вы думаешы"?


You mean думаешь? The subject is in the plural, вы is "y'all" (plural), so the ending has to be the one for the second person plural as well, which is -те. It is also used for the second person singular in more polite speech. If it's ты, then it would indeed be думаешь.


Why does как translate to what, instead of just using что?


See my first question above and the answer of pashasyr. He explained that the sentence does not mean "What (do you think) does the boy read?" but "What do you think? What does the boy read?" - and in this case, Russian prefers not to ask what you think, but how you think, in which way you think. That's how I interpret it now.

P.S.: Yes, I think что should be acceptable.


schto should work fine. It's just that the app is limited in what it can accept.


So apparently while trying to teach me Russian, Duolingo forgot how to English.


The use of "coma" is a very good human observation because machine translators like Google's do it wrongly: "How do you think this boy is reading?"


Because of the coma, he's not reading at all.


An old playboy magazine


Depends on how you define "reading".


"Do you think that this boy is reading?" How is that wrong?


С каких пор "How" переводится, как "Что"?


I thought this sentence was translated as "What do you think this boy is reading?" (As in what exactly the boy is reading, magazine, book, comic book, etc. ) Is this context wrong?


Does this question not ask whether or not the boy is actively reading at the time of the question? Is it really asking whether or not he CAN read?


I thought it was "what do you think this boy is reading?" How would you guys say that in Russian?


that is unnatural English order of words ! Duo lingo get your act together !


I should think that your sentence is ambiguous! Either you want to know whether the boy is reading or what he is reading.


How would you say "what do you think this boy is reading"


How would you ask "what do you think the boy is reading?" that's what I thought this was


What do you think this boy is reading. Sound more grammatically correct to me.


Shouldn't it be "What do you think this boy is reading"?


Why is the translation "What do you think this boy is reading?"


what is the difference between как and что?


in the audio... you can't see the punctuation. Could this also read as What do you think this boy is reading?


If you wanted to say "What do you think this boy is reading?", would that translate as: "Что ты думаешь этот мальчик читает?


Why is чтает marked correct when, in the example, it says чтаете is to be used after вы?


"Как вы думаете?" этот мальчик читает.


To me, "Как вы думаете...?" literally translates to "How do you think...?". I have a number of friends, for whom English is a second language, who ask the question in just this way. I understand that they are asking what my thoughts are on the subject, not whether I use my brain (or some other organ) to think. I translated the second half of the question literally to "this boy reads?". So, the whole sentence could have been a question of whether I approve of his reading CHOICES, or whether I believe he reads at all. I translated it as "does this boy read?", which is equivalent to Duo's translation, to me. I assume that asking about his reading choices would be more complex, yes?


I think the problem here is, normal people do not speak this way! I don't know anyone that would say what do you think, is this boy reading? instead most people would simply say is this boy reading?


Poor English word order in your "correct" answer.


Poor English sentence structure in your "correct" answer.


50 shades of blyat


Putting kak in the question is utterly pointless, it just made me get it wrong. Kak means "what or how". You have вы in there for "do you" so why kak?!!


In this case как translates as the "what", the translation isn't totally literal.

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