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"Я родился пять лет тому назад."

Translation:I was born five years ago.

November 24, 2015

65 Comments


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

No fooling us, Duolingo Russian TTS. We know you were born in 2016. Вы родились пять месяцев тому назад.


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

A summary of the useful comments buried below:
тому is redundant here, but popular in native Russian speek.

My theory: Since назад only means "backwards", тому назад originally meant "backwards (in relation) to this (point in time)" when the starting point - from which to count back the period in question - was stated in a preceding sentence only. Like English "prior to this".

But nowadays, Russians just keep the тому for the sake of a flowing speech, even when the reference point for the back-counting is obvious - the present day in our example.


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

that's why I wrote "before that" ( тому назад ) which was wrong..


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

And several month later, same mistake got me here..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yuval361292

Can I write in this sentence "earlier"?


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

I find duo's formulation very misleading in this instance. Only the context could indicate that тому here refers to now. It could refer to any point in time.


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

Ха-ха-ха! Was there no Russian TTS before that?


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

Oh, there must have been. But the Duolingo Russian course was actually only a few months old back at the time of my comment. Thx for your upvote and laughs!


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

What is "Russian TTS"


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

Text To Speech


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Mr.Duck_

Wow 1369 day streak that's real dedicaton


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Mr.Duck_

Wow 1369 day streak that's real dedication


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Mr.Duck_

Wow 1369 day streak that's real dedication


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

What is the difference versus omitting тому?


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

No difference. Without this word this sentence has completely the same meaning.


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

Would one sentence be used over the other for a particular situation? One more formal?


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

The choice with "тому" is more colloquial and without this one it is more formal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rusca8

It's interesting that the long version is the informal one. Usually languages work in the other way.


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

I can give one example. In Polish some people prefer (at least in the spoken language) to make their sentences longer inserting pleonasms (this applies for the written language, too), particles ("-że" added to words as a means of emphasis) and repetitions.

Compare:

"I saw it yesterday." "Widziałem to wczoraj" "Ja żem to wczoraj widział" (an example sentence you may hear in a tv series parodying that kind of people, it's not just "colloquial Polish", it's bad Polish, it also presents an example of expressing the past tense in a bad way, with a weird "że+personal_ending" pseudo-auxiliary verb)

"What did you ask him about?" "O co go zapytałeś?" "O co żeś się go zapytał?" ("pytać się" isn't incorrect but I don't consider it a very literate form).

This tendency of making reflexive verbs out of transitive ones seems to be actually quite popular in casual speech (even without this evil "że+ending"), so some people would say "pytać się" instead of "pytać" or "wracać się" instead of "wracać" (again, "wracać się" is not a literate form).

Some people would overuse the word "zapytanie" ("a query") because they think that "pytanie" ("a question") is not enough. Some would use words they don't know to make their language seem more fleshed out ("tudzież" meaning "as well as" used as "or", "czy też"), ("bynajmniej" meaning "not at all" used as "at least", "przynajmniej").

To sum it up, I would say that in casual speech the language may tend to shorten, but casual doesn't necessarily mean colloquial. In colloquial language people would stack up words wanting to say more even if that wouldn't mean that what they say conveys any more meaning. And even a correct usage of some more complex structures might be preferred in colloquial speech or writing, like probably this example in here, just to preserve some kind of flow of speech.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NickGeorgo1

I'm glad you bring this up. I've noticed a couple other times in this course when someone says the informal way is longer. That may appear strange at first, but in English we do this all the time. People say "Look at this here melon," where the standard version is "Look at this melon." It's not a perfect example but hopefully it conjures up some others in the mind.


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

I can hardly think of a formal situation where I would say that I was born five years ago...


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

...and you're already learning Russian?!


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

Technically, hundreds of thousands of 5-year-olds learn Russian every year!


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

блин, они лучше говорют по-русски, чем нас. The rub is, they're better at it than we are.


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

говорят :)


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

Они говорят по-русски лучше, чем МЫ. Or Они говорят по-русски ЛУЧШЕ НАС. Both variants are equal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alex_tv80

5 years old duolingo user detected.:)


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

Everybody! Keep the comments family-friendly! There are children in these forums!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Titmaus44

What exactly does тому mean here, if it's not necessary?


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

In this case "тому" has the meaning "from this moment of now" / "before". And I think this sentence doesn't need it neither in English nor in Russian. Because "я родился пять лет назад" is absolutely correct. The choice with "тому" is more native. But if you want to use this one in this task you should translate "тому" in English and you would face a problem that nobody says in English this way.

"Тому" has many meanings in Russian. But in this case when it is used with periods of time and the word "назад" it is referring to any period of time of hours, days, years, etc. until now, before.


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

Neon_Iceberg, it looks like you are a Russian native speaker that's why I want to ask you: WHY "тому" which is Dative for "тот" or "то"? I thought that "назад" takes Accusative Case. Please explain if you are so kind.


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

You can say this phrase without this word because it is redundant, it's an old fashioned and colloquial. This kind of expression (with this word) looks like a part of a fairy tale, but you can hear this word from your interlocutor in modern speech, so that is why this word is in this course. I do not think that this word is subject to the General rules of forming of sentence structure. It is an exception.


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

It reminds me of "нету" which apparently is also colloquial and it is not in a particular "падеж" . I am always looking to determine the case on which a Russian word is, so I can remember it easily. In this case, I will have to learn it by heart.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex2537

Just a wild guess: long long time ago maybe people used to say "назад к тому времени" (back to that time), and by our time it became a set phrase "тому назад"?


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

"Тому" doesn't indicate "назад", it just points to the event that is five yers old ( пять лет "чему? dative" тому "событию" ), "назад" - indicates the direction of this event in time ( куда? ), "пять лет" is genetive ( сколько? )


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

Тому is the dative singular masculine & neuter form of тот ("that"), so it literally means something like "from that". Its meaning of "from now" is obviously idiomatic, because the literal translation doesn't lend itself to that precise a translation.


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

great question! Who has an answer? va_dim? dl_expert? superman?


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

Tortilla's Romance (Триста лет тому назад. Three Hundred Years Ago ) - from a very popular movie in Russia: Приключения Буратино. (The Adventures of Pinocchio) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxaM-cSMqpc


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

How would you say "i was born 5 years before (that date)", i.e. when talking about an event in 1980?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giacomo1729

I wrote "I was born five years before that" because I saw тому in the sentence, but it was wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steve448292

this might be a tad late for you, but here is a link to a page of videos using "comprehensible russian" if you go to her very first couple of videos (they're about 5 minutes long - and all free) she speaks about birth, life and death. She also says dates and stuff in REAL RUSSIAN SPEAK ... not some computer generated guff ..... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDNbk-uX4D6nsthi8L03fng/videos I have found these pretty useful but, like duo, like befluent, like russia club, no on site gives the full package


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

Does anyone know where this expression came from? I know its idiomatic but I still find it hard to understand (with the dative case being used and all).


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

My Russian teacher said that it is a remnant from older language that uses the expression с тех пор with the тому (I think). She says you can still find this language in fairy tales. Sorry I can't give you a more complete answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bsalinasz13

I understood this to mean "I was born five years before that". Just wondering if "тому" in this question can only be understood as now in time like it was mention in some of these comments.


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

"Тому" здесь абсолютно лишнее.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1073946383

is this an authentic sentence of a five year old Russian asked about his age?


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

Not really, unless he's trying to sound like a character from some book.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ellebi09

С тех пор...я прочитала "с тех пор" в романе "игрок" Достоевского...


[deactivated user]

    How is a five year old going to know how to say that?


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

    Why wouldn't they?


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

    I guess they's say they are 5 year old.


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

    Interesting how final "д" on many Russian words is pronounced like a "т": https://forvo.com/word/%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%B4/#ru


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

    All plosive and fricative consonants are voiceless at the end of words in Russian. It's not just Д. And this phenomenon, called final-obstruent devoicing, exists in many languages (and notably German).


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

    Sometimes Duo accepts incorrect spelling and sometimes it stops me when there is an obvious typo. Here I typed Я родилься пять лет тому назадь and it was accepted despite having incorrectly inserted ь in родился and in назад. This leads me to always check the comments after each question where the correct spelling is written.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ULRICHSCHL4

    Question: Is it a difference between with and without "тому"?


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

    Read the rest of the discussion. Your question has already been answered at least twice.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jozef704023

    The use of "тому" made me believe that the translation would be "I was born five years before that".


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

    Could it also be translated as: "I was born five years before." ?


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

    what is " Text To Speech".... someone?..


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AllieC490376

    That's when a computer converts text into sppech using a database of sounds. This is what the Russian course uses so that's why the pronunciation is sometimes off with the stresd on the wrong syllable or sounds mashed together. But the advantage of it is that it allows for the "turtle" function and probably also the part where our efforts saying the words can be assessed as similar enough or not... I hope that answered your question. :-)


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

    Тому? What is that?


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

    Literally "тому" means "to that", i.e. it's the dative case of the demonstrative pronoun "то" ("that"). So it's something like "five years back to that". However, it's just an idiomatic expression and an outdated one at that, so don't pay too much attention to it. You might encounter it if you are going to read Russian literature or fairy tales, but in real speech it's rare. Normally we'd just say "я родился пять лет назад".


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

    this task does not work!!!! it does not add a progress....Who does have seems problems?


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

    I tried to report it in troubleshooting but that went nowhere.

    While it doesn't show the progress bar, you will eventually complete the lessons here if you keep going.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gPH44

    Я в шоке: такое странное предложение! Откуда взялось "тому"? Чему Вы ýчите ? Lol!! В Вашнй интерпретации я не узнаю родной язык )))

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