"Пока брат читает, я работаю."

Translation:While my brother is reading, I am working.

November 15, 2015

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Gkeller

shouldn't there be a мой in there before брат?

November 15, 2015

[deactivated user]

    Russian usually uses «мой» (and other possessive pronouns) much less often than English. If «мой» is obvious from the context, it's not used. This is true not only for family members, but also for brushing one’s teeth, for example.

    November 15, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/goldbedr

    The only reason I sort of argue with this (unless it's specific to parents) is that the lessons all seem to accept "mother" and "father" without possessive pronouns.

    "пока мама читает, я работаю" would (based on doing the course so far) be translated as "while mother reads, I work."

    While it's pretty uncommon for people to call each other "brother" or "sister" as a replacement for their name, it isn't totally unheard of.

    December 10, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/cbn620

    We definitely drop "my" in cases like this. In prim and proper dialects of English more so. For parents definitely: "Mother is at the store right now, I'll let her know you called." But in some places using brother and sister is also common, especially when dropping "your." In terms of American English you'll hear this kind of thing in the south or in the west where southerners migrated, a parent scolding some siblings at the park: "Sister wants to play too, and if you don't let her have the ball I'm going to put you in time out."

    The other thing is that when the question is translating from the Russian to the English, in my opinion, a measure of leniency towards translating literally should be allowed so long as the basic meaning is preserved. In a sentence like "Потому что так надо" of course you can't translate that 100% literally without getting English gibberish, but in the cases of sentences like this where it literally comes down to whether to drop a pronoun, I think it's pedantic to care. We're trying to learn to think in Russian.

    December 13, 2015

    https://www.duolingo.com/twiks587

    Absolutly agree! Literal translation should be accepted whenever possible. Its the best way to learn sentance structure in another langauge.

    April 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo

    For those who haven't learned this yet, "потому что так надо" (see cbn620's post above) means "because we have to."

    As for the rest @cbn620, I agree with your comment about leniency. When a Duolingo user takes the time to read the notes for the lesson and then is abruptly taught a new twist to the Russian language this way, it can cause frustration.

    Nevertheless, I suppose you could see this as a teaching moment in that it mirrors real life. If you've ever studied a language and then gone to live in a country of the language you studied, you well know that you will encounter a myriad of things that weren't taught to you in a textbook, grammar book, or your daily dose of Duolingo. I suppose this lesson here, in its own small way, somewhat prepares you for that (even if that might not have been the intention).

    Either way, I learned something I didn't know before. I'm not here to get every answer right (and I'm not suggesting anyone else is either); I'm just here to learn. And when I think about it, this lesson will likely stick with me more for the very reason that getting it wrong surprised me.

    August 26, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/kocmohabt99

    I agree with both twiks587 and cbn620.

    June 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ward.Joshua

    Is мой the only possible implied pronoun in this sentence?

    December 27, 2015

    [deactivated user]

      Almost certainly yes. It's extremely unlikely to be understood to mean someone else's brother.

      December 27, 2015

      https://www.duolingo.com/pye20

      Russian is a Pro-Drop [ Pronoun Dropping ] language. When the possessed entity is inalienable [ family members, body parts ] or unambiguous, the pronoun, including the possessive pronoun may be dropped

      Мой ‧ Pronoun‧ en.wiktionary.org/wiki/мой ‧ ‧ speak-russian.cie.ru/time_new/eng/grammar/

      Pro-Drop ‧ Pronoun Drop ‧ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro-drop_language

      In Russian, when there is no ambiguity, we can omit a pronoun completely. ‧ ‧ common to drop the pronoun ‧ explorerussian.com/svoj-reflexive-possessive-pronoun/

      Russian has an anaphoric element in possessives, namely ‧ собственный ‧ ‧ istina.msu.ru/download/.../

      ‧ The possessive meaning is often lost when omitting the possessive ‧ understand the graduality of this category in Slavic languages. ‧ pronouns seem to be less obligatory when defining an inalienable part of the possessum ‧ Computational Linguistics & Int Tech ‧ www.dialog-21.ru/media/3415/nedoluzhkoaetal.pdf

      Russian ‧ All Slavic languages behave in a similar manner to the Romance pro-drop languages en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro-drop_language ‧ Most Romance languages (with the notable exception of French) are often categorised as pro-drop too ‧ ‧ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro-drop_language ‧ ‧

      December 23, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/Candice633561

      Yeah, that threw me, too.

      March 16, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/SvenEtienne

      I thought пока was a way of saying good bye..

      March 28, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/NathanGood12

      пока literally mean "while", but it can be used as "bye". I'm sure there's some way this makes sense...

      October 27, 2016

      [deactivated user]

        It might have been from a phrase like "While we're away, [some general-purpose wish]" or something.

        October 28, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/sple00

        I think of пока as the Russian way to say "so long"

        April 30, 2018

        https://www.duolingo.com/LeVinDuRosier

        see you in a while

        August 8, 2017

        https://www.duolingo.com/brian_dafr

        Well "see ya" isn't exactly fully intuantive because it implies more. Or for instance in Welsh "Hywl" meaning fun is used to say goodbye so I guess its used with the rest of the sentance implied in most langauges.

        August 20, 2017

        https://www.duolingo.com/certifiedbronze

        "While brother reads, I am working" is marked wrong. Is there a reason for this, I know мой should be implied, but this is an accurate English statement.

        April 18, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/AngeCI
        • 1043

        I've reported this, this answer sounds natural to me.

        May 20, 2017

        https://www.duolingo.com/FilipKV

        "Brother reads while I work" -not correct, why?

        January 12, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/problemslike

        Just saying brother without a possessive isn't very natural, at least in modern ASE. I've seen it in older works or in dialect, but it's not the best answer.

        March 10, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/johnji83

        How is poka poka bye bye and here it is while?

        March 31, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/goldbedr

        Compare it in english with "In a while" and you can see that there's some common threads there.

        You can also think of it as "so long". In English, you might say "So long as brother is reading, I am working" meaning that during the time that brother is reading, I am working - the same meaning as "while".

        You also might depart someone's company and say "So long!"

        March 31, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/johnji83

        ok thank you so much! спасибо!

        March 31, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/acuencadev

        FYI, this word is not discussed in the topic overview. Could you (the instructors or admins) add it to the overview?

        January 5, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/tzufit238

        In a previous exercise i wrote "the boy thinks his mom is at home" and it marked it wrong because of the "his"

        February 1, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/dusics95

        Just wanted to write this! Why would someone dislike your comment? O.o This is idiotic!

        March 14, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/Grandilocuente

        this is wrong! there is no MY in russian sentence!

        July 25, 2016

        [deactivated user]

          It's because Russian uses possessive pronouns sparingly, unlike English. The classic example is "I brush my teeth" vs. «Я чищу зубы». It would sound strange in English without 'my', and it will sound extremely strange in Russian with «мои». Many other nouns (including names of relatives) also work like this: they are normally used with a possessive pronoun in English, and without one in Russian

          July 25, 2016

          https://www.duolingo.com/daniela702375

          I answered as "While brother reads, I work." It was wrong because missing word "the" for "the brother". I would never say that naturally. "While the brother reads, I work". I often call my brother as if his name were brother. I understand this is not "my brother", but in a sentence comparing what I do versus what brother does, it seems THE or MY in front of brother is not needed.

          June 4, 2017

          https://www.duolingo.com/redbluerat

          "while brother reads I work" An accurate translation marked incorrect. 1 year of reporting still there.

          October 16, 2017

          https://www.duolingo.com/younesouhb

          I answered with "while brother reads, I work" and it complained suggesting I should have answered " while THE brother reads, I work". Sounds like the answer sounds worse with the additional "THE", don't you think?

          October 29, 2017

          https://www.duolingo.com/Inguin-freyr

          in English the sentence sounds unnatural without a pronoun before the word 'brother'.

          No kidding. Yet there are sentences when we talk about 'mother' instead of 'my mother' or 'his mother' and filling out a possessive pronoun there means you'll fail. Which one is it, Duolingo?

          April 5, 2016

          https://www.duolingo.com/Durellion

          Why not just brother?

          July 17, 2016

          [deactivated user]

            Correct me if I'm wrong, but here's my understanding.

            In English, singular countable nouns are usually used with some kind of modifier (either 'a', 'or 'the', or 'my'/other possessive pronouns). In Russian, singular nouns don't require modifiers.

            When the modifier is omited in English, it means 'brother' is used like a name, to refer to a specific brother and not just 'a brother' is general. This is not what the Russian sentence means, so that's why just 'brother' is not accepted.

            July 18, 2016

            https://www.duolingo.com/lisa4duolingo

            Do Russians ever use "brother" similarly? In other words, do Russians ever use "brother" or any other family member as a name? And, if so, how is the distinction made? (More importantly, how are English students of Russian to know the difference?) Would it, perhaps, ever be capitalized as in:

            Пока Брат читает, я работаю.

            I know I have seen "Big Brother" as in "a person or organization exercising total control over people's lives" is sometimes (but not always) spelled with capital letters as in:

            Большой Брат

            I actually tried to investigate this a bit via digital means. What I found with Google's Ngram didn't help much and an advanced search of Russian pages did seem to indicate that some might capitalize it from time to time, but the practice appears to be rather limited and somewhat arbitrary. I did some further research in this regard and discovered some things that will be added as an answer to this post (which I later decided to post up at the Russian Language StackExchange). You can link to that post below:

            Are words for family members (e.g., “брат,” “сестра,” …) ever used as names, and, if so, is the word then capitalized (as it would be in English)?

            August 28, 2017

            https://www.duolingo.com/certifiedbronze

            Thanks for the clarification!

            July 18, 2016

            https://www.duolingo.com/Durellion

            Okay, that makes more sense.

            July 19, 2016

            https://www.duolingo.com/turtelian

            while brother is reading im working why this isnt work ? брат can be a nickname , surname or a monk ( propably in russia u can say to monk brother) so why this ❤❤❤❤ want a "my" before the brother from me ?

            January 19, 2017

            https://www.duolingo.com/papulaattori

            Isn't the meaning exactly the same, if I translate "Пока брат читает, я работаю" into "When the brother reads, I work" ?

            October 22, 2017

            https://www.duolingo.com/Longape

            I answered "when my brother reads, I work" and it was not accepted. "When" has about the same meaning as "while" here, and present simple should be just as appropriate as present progressive, since Russian doesn't distinguish the two.

            April 24, 2018

            [deactivated user]
              • when = когда, it just means ‘at some time’,
              • while = пока, it means ‘during some period’.

              While you can replace ‘while’ with ‘when’ in this sentence, you often can’t:

              • Когда я вернусь домой, я тебе позвоню. = When I come back come, I’ll call you.
              • (*Пока я вернусь домой, я тебе позвоню = * While I come back home, I’ll call you — it doesn’t work because ‘coming home’ is not a period, it’s a moment.)

              Duolingo insists on more-or-less literal translations (unless a literal translation is impossible due to the language differences) for two reasons:

              • To make sure you learn the accurate meanings of the words.
              • Because the translations are typed by hand, and it’s simply impossible to add all the conceivable rephrased variants.
              April 24, 2018

              https://www.duolingo.com/BiMu476578

              There was no мой before brother.

              March 17, 2019
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