"Směl jsem říct jen málo."

Translation:I could only say little.

February 5, 2018

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael620245

The translation is either ungrammatical or extremely strange, depending on dialect. "I could only say a little" is normal, but is not accepted...

August 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

This is not a topic in which I am too strong, and I am not completely sure about this particular sentence, but I can say that we generally distinguish:

little - málo (uncountable)

few - málo (countable)

a little, a bit - trochu (eventually něco málo?)

a few - několik

It gets more complicated with "něco málo" (somewhat?) and similar.

So "a little" may sound better here but the meaning may be slightly different.

August 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zeego1

To me, "I could only say little" means "I could only say the word 'little'", whereas "I could only say a little" means "I could only say a few words."

November 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

The above is my interpretation from an ESL speaker point of view. It could well be wrong. But I do not feel "a little" ais really the most literal or direct translation.

November 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

In that case, I think "a little" would be more natural than "little" alone on the English side.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

I'm puzzling over this. If you can you give a little context for the sentence, it might help to figure out what the best English translation is.

November 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

I was so ashamed or surprised or caught off guard that I was only able to say very few words or sentences to defend myself or to console somebody or something like that.

November 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

VladaFu, there was no Reply button for your answer. I would suggest, in the context you describe, that "There was little I could say" sounds most natural. But I don't know how well that works with the CZ original. If it doesn't work, then at least the translation shown above is a pretty direct translation.

November 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

Now I realized that there is "směl". My explanation suits "mohl" instead. With směl it is that I was only allowed to say some incomplete information or only some hint or only some general description that someone authorized for public release.

November 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/judygunson

It seems that SMEL is sometimes translated as allowed to and sometimes as able to. I'm a bit confused.

April 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

From what I understand, the basic meaning of "smět" is "to be allowed to." So I think that when it's being translated as "could," it's in the sense of being ALLOWED to do something, rather than in the sense of being ABLE to do something.

July 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrew_lim

At present "I was only allowed to say a little" isn't accepted... maybe it should be?

October 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

"a little" is different from "little" and means more like "a bit" "little bit", in Czech "trochu" "něco málo"

But if English speakers feel little is the same as a little in this context, it could be considered.

October 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrew_lim

No, I think your explanation makes sense! I buy that they are different and that I should not use "a" little.

October 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katrinkadee

I just read all the comments and I feel that "I could only say a little" is better than "I could only say little" which is very awkward in English unless it means that the person could only say the word "little".

December 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

Having just landed here again in a practice session, and after reviewing all of the comments currently posted (30 Jan 2019), I've added translations using "A little." Because I don't know if changing the "main" translation (shown at the top of the page) could create a problem for the reverse exercise, I've left the main one as-is.

January 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annicehoffman

What about "i could say but little"? It is archaic/snooty but it follows the Czech it has a perfectly clear meaning in English

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

I think it works nicely on the English side, but I don't know if it's close enough to the Czech sentence. We'll need one of the CZ natives on the team to decide on that.

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

I think it can be added, I will do that.

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarbaraWhi574572

As a native English speaker, I vote for "a little" in this case as opposed to just "little".

January 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LukasBlech

"I was allowed to say just a little" is not possible?

March 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoneheadBass

It would be fine on the English side; I will add if if the Czech members of the team don't see a problem with it.

March 19, 2019
Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.