Translation:The photographer is a kind of painter.
question for a native speaker, please. is there possibly a distinction between how romanian uses the hotarat form and how english does, specifically in relation to generalizations? In this instance, is this sentence in the form of a general truth, such as "scumpUL mai mult pagubeste, si lenesUL mai mult alearga"? Because in english, one COULD generalize with a singular hotarat (such as, "THE early bird catches the worm") but I feel that one is more likely to generalize with an indefinite plural ("stingy people pay more, and lazy people wind up having to work harder"). Obviously the 'motamo' translation is "the photographer is a sort/type of painter" -- but might "photographers are like painters" actually be closer to the intention of the original? When I hear "THE photographer" in english, it feels as though we're speaking of a specific human.
In the Romanian, I can often have the first question, whereas in Spanish I'm overwhelmed by hundreds of other questions that have already been asked. Nice, in some ways, to be 'small'. On the other hand, with so many learners, the Spanish program is more polished decat limba noastra care este in beta. Also, there are so few people who study Romanian that the level of student is often quite elevated. Mostly linguists, going for their fourth or fifth Romance language. The English speakers who really learn it well are almost exclusively Peace Corps, a few Fulbright Scholars, a handful of CIA and military, and the occasional over-enthused polyglot. I met very few Americans or Brits who spoke it with any effectiveness (like, could order a taxi or buy a train ticket), even among diplomats who worked there, expats who taught there, or even men who had married a romanca. A very particular language. Also, SO many Romanians are absolutely amazing linguists that it's intimidating to try to meet them on their own playing field. Even just the young adults taking orders at the McDonalds near Piata Romana can take orders in Romanian, Hungarian, German, English, probably French and Spanish, and quite possibly Japanese. At least they could 14 years ago.
Which actually brings me to a funny thing about Romanian: "si mie". I remember the guy after me at McDonalds saying, "vreau si eu un big mac" even though I myself had not ordered one. Also, "da si mie o mie de lei" even though there was not some previous person I had given 1000 lei to. Just a funny extra word, I guess.
That's an interesting observation (about "și mie"). I have no idea how it came to be, but it does serve a function: politeness.
"vreau un big mac" and "dă-mi o mie de lei" sound too blunt, a bit rude, but the variants with "și mie" seem more acceptable.
This is based on personal observations and discussions with friends. I couldn't find official guidelines and I doubt there are any, since this is an informal construct.
Another amazing remark that we, native speakers, never question or think about. Just like potestasity, I've asked friends but it seems it's just politeness.
Where it may have started and where it may actually make some sense is in scenarios like: someone is drinking water, and another says dă-mi și mie apă. Or someone is eating biscuits and someone says dă-mi și mie unul. It may be to empathize that we want you to share instead of wanting all your biscuits, or all of your water.
I think it happens often at a young age, as kids often ask things from each other, and perhaps it stuck with us as a polite and humble way of asking things, even when it makes no sense (like when ordering food).
When the beggar says dă și mie o mie it's like he acknowledges that you have more and that he wants you to share some with him.
another informal, not-entirely-logical construction I'm fascinated by (that natives might not notice until it's pointed out) is the whole use of variations of the word 'mama' (dative, etc) in colloquial conversations involving one or more women. It seems like there's a broad definition of 'mama' as shorthand for maternity, maternalness, and anyone involved in that dynamic. Unless I used to hear this wrong, women would call little girls mama (as though to say, "you who will someday be a mama, just like I am"). Sometimes it even seemed women would call young boys 'mama'. The sensible explanation would be that I was mishearing, and they were actually refering to THEMSELVES as mama with some dative construction -- but I'm pretty sure they were actually calling the boys 'mama', perhaps as though to say, "you who are involved in maternity, by being its output." It's as though 'mama' represents not a person, but a relationship between people, that binds people. I could never quite figure it out, but it always seemed like there was something very sweet and caring about it, and something that deeply valued the place of women in the family and in society.
Ha! You're right, I've never thought about the fact that English speakers don't do that.
Note that mothers call their children mama/mamă/mami regardless of the child's gender and fathers use tata/tată/tati all the same.
My guess is that parents get used to being called that by their children and turn it into a two-way method of addressing.
To be honest, I feel that all sentences of this type were meant to be general statements, but were poorly translated to English.
As mentioned by razvan.marin, you can make a general statement in Romanian either with the singular or the plural of a noun with a definite article. And as you mentioned, the singular form might indeed refer to a specific individual, with context playing the decisive role in interpreting what is meant.
For an arbitrary sentence like this one, with no context, I dare to say that most Romanian speakers would understand it as a general statement, "Photographers are like painters".
thank you! I would actually be interested in helping duolingo tweak their english translations of the romanian, since english is so odd and particular in its idioms. I guess I'll send in an application, dar nu sunt sigur daca vorbesc romaneste destul de bine pentru asa ceva... We'll see -- would be nice to help.