1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Я думал о жизни."

"Я думал о жизни."

Translation:I was thinking about life.

December 13, 2015

30 Comments


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

Life? Don't talk to me about life!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenna593944

"What's the meaning of life?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/username23124

Я думаю что это нелогичный вопрос, если вы не можете определить цель жизни


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

Can you also say "Я о жизни думал"?

I noticed in a previous question "об этом" went straight after "я", just checking if it can work for most cases.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aninka789

I think you can, but it sounds quite unnatural


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paul440929

Surely she should say Я думала!


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

What's wrong about "I thought about life"?


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

This is one for the armchair philosophers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gurtej88581

Bro, that's deep.


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

can 'wondered' work instead of 'thought/was thinking' here?


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

Not a native, but I think "wonder" has a slightly different, more specific connotation of a subjunctive sort of thought (i.e., "could be" or "what if" rather than "how it is"), and думать is a more neutral sort of "thinking."

Of course, there's always the option to suggest it as an alternative and see if the crew accepts it.


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

So жизни is pronounced like if it were жизньи?


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

in the second one you slur the "зн" part more, i think


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alu017

Does "o" also translate to "of"? Can you say "I was thinking of life" or does it only translate to "about" in this sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Henry132109

I guess not. https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/71003/difference-between-think-of-and-think-about

It's much more common to think of someone else's life or think of an event in the past, unless you've been totally negligent about your own life and you suddenly realize: omg I'm so screwed up, then you would use "I think of my life"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Henry132109

а не знаю что мне надо делать

Can надо be used in this sense, as if the speaker is confused about life and don't know what to do/what he should do?


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

It is more common to say it without надо. Я не знаю что делать. Or something like "and what should I do now?" И что я теперь должен делать?


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

can я думала work if you're a girl?


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

I pretty much guess so, if I remember correctly. Rhere's only three cases for a past verb in russian: -л for masculine singular, -ла for feminine singular and -ли for plural of all genders.


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

Another question: In the audio, the "o" is pronounced un-stressed, i.e. like an "ah". Why is this? Shouldn't it be stressed and be pronounced like a proper "o", since it's the only syllable in the word "o"...? Just wondering...


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

In speech prepositions are usually pronounced as if they were a part of the next word. "О жизни" is pronounced as "ожизни" and "о" becomes unstressed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smirnoff103

When is it "о" or "об" ?


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

The fast rule is: you normally use 'о' ('о жизни'), and when the next word starts by a vowel, you use 'об' ('об этом'). The long, more complete rule has details I don't remember right now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smirnoff103

Cool, thanks for your answer


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

If the correct translation is "was thinking" and "thought" is marked as wrong, how would I express "I thought" in Russian?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jay38587

Shouldn't the correct translation be "I thought about life"? And not "i am thinking about life"


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

I believe that думал is the masculine singular past of the imperfective verb ду́мать. It is equivalent to past continuous in English, "I was thinking". I thought is a completed action.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paul440929

Yes and no. The past imperfect tense in English will usually map into the imperfective aspect in Russian, but the past perfect tense can correspond to either imperfective or perfective. E.g. "In those days I thought a lot about life" would use imperfective думал, because it refers to habitual activity, whereas "I thought about your suggestion and I've decided to follow it" would use perfective подумал, indicating that your thinking came to a definite conclusion.


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

I agree, particularly with the yes and no part of your response. Reverso conjugate shows 17 English verb forms for "think" yet only 8 in Russian for думать and 6 more for подумать. I guess that is just more evidence that one cannot simply map grammar from two languages word for word.

But at this level of language study it is likely best just to understand the concept of ongoing (habitual) vs. completed actions. In the Russian to English version of this question, the use of Думал suggests that is all that is being taught.

Interestingly, I was going to write this comment using the words "English past imperfect" but I noticed "imperfect" is not used at all by Reverso, which prefers just "past continuous" for what I would have called "past imperfect". Yet they do define the past perfect continuous aspect, which I think would work here as well (but I need the assistance of a expert for that).

I expect "Я думал о жизни." would translate to either:

Past Continuous: I was thinking about life.

Past Perfect Continuous: I had been thinking about life.

So while it is not 100%, it seems you and I share the opinion to use perfective подумал, to indicate when one's thinking had come to a definite conclusion.

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