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  5. "Her donkey can hear my chick…

"Her donkey can hear my chickens."

Translation:Její osel slyší má kuřata.

November 18, 2017



I translated this phrase as "Její osel muže šlyšet moje kuřata" but I was corrected to "Její osel slyší moje kuřata", but this is more "her donkey hears my chickens". Am I right?


Maybe a native English speaker can clarify better the difference between sentences "He can hear them" and "He hears them".

My knowledge is that English, for verbs of sences, uses aditional verb "can". I know for sure that "I smell" means "I stink" but "I can smell" means "I have the ability to smell." Using this logic, the prefered correct English translation is "He can hear them."

And now back to Czech - we don't use "může" in the way English does with verbs of sences and therefore translating it is wrong.

However, to make things even more complicated, the sentence "Její osel může slyšet má kuřata" isn't wrong - it makes sence but one would expect the sentence to continue: "He can hear them when something"...


Native English speaker here. He can hear them implies the possibilty of hearing as in... if he wasnt wearing headphones he could hear them or in the present tense, he can hear them but he isnt listening. He hears implies that he is actively listening. Without the can is more specific to an ongoing action definitely happening versus the possibility that it could. It changes the sentence considerably.


You simply do not use "může slyšet" in Czech. You use "slyší" often even when speaking about a possibility. In negative sometimes "nemůže slyšet" might be OK but not for the most of "I can't hear you", that is really only "neslyším tě".


At least one very well honed native English speaker did, in "A Concise Grammar of Contemporary English" by Quirk & Greenbaum (1973):

With some perception verbs (3.35), can V corresponds to the progressive aspect be V-ing with dynamic verbs:

I can hear footsteps; who's coming?

And 3.35 includes both "hear" and "see".

Expecting to translate every can see as může vidět just out of ignorance of how it works on the English side would seem rather silly, as would berating people for trying to help users avoid that particular mistake.

So yes, we do make mistakes, as is inherent in what we do. (Kdo nic nedělá, nic nezkazí.) But if we made a mistake in this particular case, it is that we saw greater good in avoiding teaching a bad thing than in avoiding nasty comments.


Why there is an error when i typed "jeji osel muze slyset me slepice" ???


please read previous explanations. Your sentence would be "Her donkey is able to hear my hens"


Why do they always include this "can" in connection with verbs of perception? That leads me to try a translation using "může" and getting rated wrong. Very confusing.


I understand your frustration, and I share it! To compound it, this sentence might also be translated as simply "Her donkey hears my chickens." I've more or less gotten used to this, so sometimes I include "can" in the English translation and sometimes I don't. My experience has been that both versions usually work.


Why not "Jí osel..."?


Ji is a pronoun (in the accusative case) and does not indicate possession. Use "ji" for the object of an action---I see her. Use "jeji" to indicate ownership---It is her donkey.

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