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  5. "Nevíš, kde je nejbližší zách…

"Nevíš, kde je nejbližší záchod?"

Translation:Would you know where the nearest toilet is?

December 9, 2017



Why is "Don't you know where is the nearest toilet" wrong?


I think "don't you know" might be too literal a translation of the negative. The feel is more like "you wouldn't happen to know"


But actually, english people say that with that meaning as well (?)


"Don't you (know)" in English is used for emphasis, and it often expresses at least a degree of surprise, frustration, or incredulity. If I accidentally walked into a broom closet when looking for the bathroom (restroom, toilet...) in my own home, someone might say to me, "Don't you know where the bathroom is in your own house?" (E.g., "Don't you know what day it is today? It's my birthday." "Don't you know how to do the simplest things?")

The "don't" / "doesn't" form can also be used for other questions in English to express some degree of doubt, in addition to the above (e.g., "Don't they live around here? I'm not sure."); and/or a sense that you had thought something was true ("Don't you have a cat? I thought I saw one in your living room last weekend.")

This isn't a comprehensive list; it just suggests some examples.

I have the sense that negative questions in Czech can simply have a more polite connotation than direct, positive questions. (E.g., as tylerskarz suggested, "You wouldn't happen to know...", or something similar.)


Jmm... Actually the point is that I was understanding the phrase as a doubt phrase. But, it seems that, for czech, it has a polite meaning. Anyway, it would be great to know if czech negative questions have also that "doubt" connotation.

Any czech could solve this doubt? :)


Negative questions are the polite way to go in Czech as I have already stated elsewhere.


It seems weird to me that "Would you know" is the preferred translation to "Do you know".

As a native speaker I would never say just "Would you know", I would only say "Would you happen to know". Is this just me?


I do believe you it is more common. Whether it is a better translation for the polite question above...


If this is a formal phrasing, isn't the nevite more appropriate than nevis?


No, you can ask anyone like this. It is completely fine this way if you are on the T side of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%E2%80%93V_distinction with this person (tykání).


Why is "Would you know where is the nearest toilet?" not accepted?


The other clause is a relative clause, not a question.


"Don't you know" should be accepted because it's the literal translation and we're not here to guess what the intention was. Obviously Slavic people including myself would use the negative to ask if someone knows by any chance about that bloody toilet but refusing to accept the literal translation is just silly. How else would you say "Don't you know where the nearest toilet is?" in Czech?


I would personally translate "Don't you know where the nearest toilet is?" as "Copak nevíš, kde je nejbližší záchod?", which expresses the surprised or incredulous tone of the English negative question equally well. Another possibility would be "Ty snad nevíš...?" or at the very least "Ty nevíš...?"

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