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  5. "Po dvou dnech bez vody byl k…

"Po dvou dnech bez vody byl kůň velmi nemocný."

Translation:After two days without water, the horse was very sick.

October 2, 2017



My translation is identical, except that the clauses are reversed, but there is no change in meaning. "The horse was very sick after two days without water.


There is only one clause in Czech and although my knowledge of the English grammar terminology is limited, I would not call the fronted adverbial a separate clause.

The adverbial however, is the origin of the declaration (the topic, východisko výpovědi) and to not change what the sentence stresses and what it brings as the new information you should keep the adverbial fronted in English.


Is it more acceptable to place the verb before the subject in a sentence such as this instead of: Po dvou dnech bez vody kůň byl velmi nemocný." Thanks


Your proposal is really too English-like. Czech does not front adverbials like English does. The adverbial phrases are always an integral part of the sentence. It just sounds wrong in this case with "byl (nemocný)" and it does work with some other longer verbs in the present or future tense. It is really about the stress and intonations patterns (melody) of the sentence. It just sounds wrong this way even though the verb is not a clitic and it will sound wrong with some similar ones too.


Word placement is difficult for me. Thank you for the reply.


Can't “nemocný” also be translated as “weak”? That's what it more or less translates to literally, in the end. And I think that it could also be considered a consequence of not drinking water for two days.

My answer was: »After two days without water the horse was very weak. After two days without water the horse was very weak.« in a CZ to EN exercise.

I reported it.


No, weak is not a good translation for "nemocný", that specifically means "ill". Also, the literal translation or any other etymology from many centuries ago is irrelevant for the modern usage.


Upon looking up what I planned to refer to, I see that I confused “nemocný” with “bezmocný”. My bad.

Thanks for your quick response!


"bezmocný" is "powerless" (also literally), it still has a different meaning than "weak" (slabý, chabý). You can be really strong but when you're tied up properly, you're powerless anyway, or the same if you're unable to do anything about your situation despite all your strength.

"nemocný" developed from "not having (enough) power/strength" centuries ago, but now it just means "ill" and native speakers don't normally perceive the etymology anymore. - i.e., the opposite of "nemocný" is "zdravý", not "mocný" (which means "powerful" or "mighty").


Thanks a lot, this makes sense to me by now. So, would “not having (enough) power/strength” be translated as “bezmocný” as well, so that it became an umbrella term for such conditions? If people do not perceive the etymology anymore so that “nemocný” was replaced in meaning, I think that the original meaning had to be expressed otherwise.

However, thanks a lot for the clear explanation!


Yes, “not having (enough) power/strength” is bezmocný, that is the main meaning of that word. But mainly when ruling. Or when you can't do anything with the situation. Not when you are very weak physically.

If you are very weak, you are slabý - both physically and as a ruler.

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