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  5. "Měl jsem studovat jazyky."

"Měl jsem studovat jazyky."

Translation:I was supposed to study languages.

November 27, 2017



Why not "I should study languages"?


That is quite different. The original is irrealis, a retrospective thing you can't really do. Měl jsem is the past tense.

I should study is a subjunctive mood you can still manage. Měl bych se učit.


What about "I should have studied languages." then?


correct and already on the accepted list.


Why not "I had to study languages"?


"I had to study languages" = "Musel jsem studovat jazyky"


Could be true, but one of the correct translations according to the system, "I was to study languages", sounds very weird to me.


Yes, that is possible in English:
He was to = he was supposed to

Fo example, "He was sent to Oxford with the understanding that he was to study languages, but he took up maths instead."


"I was supposed to have studied languages" wasn't accepted. Isn't it the same as "i was supposed to study languages" or "i should have studied languages" which is mentioned above as being accepted?


This usage of 'supposed to', though common enough in English today, is poorly treated in the three big English dictionaries I just consulted. eg https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/supposed

Here is my try. To translate it as a legal or moral duty seems to detract from the speculative aspect of a supposition. I think it is used loosely for different purposes. It looks like an impersonal, but if rephrased to 'it was supposed that I would study languages', you can ask, 'Well, who supposed it?'. Yourself, teachers, university rules,etc? Then it is an expectation on your future behaviour, based on some reasons not currently mentioned. Someone's supposition. I think this is a better approach to 'supposed to', rather than the shorthand for a duty as 'have to'.
A second meaning, as 'assumed', is mentioned here too https://slovniky.lingea.cz/anglicko-cesky/supposed
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There are subtle meanings in English which are not necessarily the same for "was supposed to" and "should have". Randonneur3 covers "supposed to" nicely, but "should have", apart from those meanings, can also have the additional meaning that the speaker regrets not having taken the action described. For instance, in this case, "I should have studied languages" can mean the speaker realising in later life that knowledge of languages would have been of benefit to him or her. Only the context of the statement would indicate which meaning was intended. I wondered if the Czech statement would cover all these nuances, or whether some of them would have to be covered in a different way? So to summarise, we have 1. failure to meet an obligation 2. failure to meet an assumption 3. regret at not having done something.

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