"Пока брат читает, я работаю."

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

November 15, 2015

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

[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.


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


    I think that's precisely it. By being confused, taking the sentence apart and analyzing each part, ive gained much more insight (and also just more repetition) than a softball question


    Is мой the only possible implied pronoun in this sentence?

    [deactivated user]

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


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


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

      [deactivated user]

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


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


        see you in a while


        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.


        "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.

        • 2244

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


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


        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.


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


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


        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!"


        ok thank you so much! спасибо!


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

        [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


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


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


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


          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.


          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?

          [deactivated user]

            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?


            Why not just brother?

            [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.


              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)?


              Thanks for the clarification!


              Okay, that makes more sense.


              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 shit want a "my" before the brother from me ?


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


              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.

              [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.


                Brother is assumed to be mine, otherwise it would not be my brother.


                I get the 'dropping the pronoun' thing, but its harsh to deduct a heart for it. It just really highlights the limitations of this course compared to other languages on here. How about some in-course hints?


                While my brother reads, I work. There is no difference in English translation been "is reading" and "reads " It it's just a question of style and context to make some type of subtle distinction.


                Is Я written in capital like I in English or small?


                Is мой a given?

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