1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. "You can hear but are not lis…

"You can hear but are not listening!"

Translation:Slyšíš, ale neposloucháš!

October 31, 2017



Why is "Umíš slyšet, ale neposloucháš." marked as wrong? I know there is a difference between "umět slyšet" and only "slyšet" but shouldn't then the English translation be something like " You hear me but you are not listening." ?


Not really. Can hear and hear are equal in English. In czech you cannot umět to hear or taste or see.


What about "můžeš"? Can we say "Můžeš slyšet ale neposloucháš"?


Many people taking the course are confused by this. In Czech, it is not necessary to use moct with a "sensing verb" (e.g., see, hear...) Some sentences may be changed in the next version of the course to address this.


This is questionable. If you use "moct" in a Czech sentence - it means something else than without it. These two different Czech sentences are translated identically to English, because in English you use the verb "can" with sense verbs.

In other words, English is to blame for this confusion. In Czech, if you say "můžeš slyšet", it means the sound is hearable. You might hear it and you might not for various reasons.


Correct, but it is much less frequent than in English. We often avoid this, especially in negative sentences. "Nemůžu tě vidět." is quite strange, we normally just really say "Nevidím tě." even when it is because the view is obstructed. But when one is particularly annoyed then yes, it is possible "Nemůžu tě vidět, protože stojíš blbě.".

I can imagine it as natural on an excursion or a guided tour: "Here you can see a portrait of king James." "Zde můžete vidět portrét krále Jakuba."

Or when someone stresses he enabled it. Radio: "Díky nám můžete slyšet přímý přenos koncertu." "Thanks to us you can hear the live broadcast of the concert."


What is less frequent than in English?

Vidím. = I see./I can see.

Můžu vidět. = I can see.

"Vidím." and "Můžu vidět." do not mean the same in Czech.


That's what I meant. "can see" is used muc more often and in many contexts where it cannot be translated using "moci vidět" (also be able to see), only by "vidět".


I wanted to strongly stress that it's YOU who I am talking about, so I wrote "Slysis ty, ale ty neposlouchas!" This was marked wrong. So, too much with my double "ty" usage?


No, it does not really work well. The other clause clearly reacts on the not listening, not on the fact who is doing it.

"Slyšíš ty, ale poslouchá on." is something else, that is a possible sentence (with an uncommon or unlikely meaning).


OK, I'll try to stick with the basics. Save the "added emphasis" for when I'm more proficient.


"Slyšete, ale neposloucháš." Is this valid also?


"Slyšíte, ale neposloucháte" would be the correct plural equivalent.


Is "You hear but don't listen!" accepted? It should, I think.

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