1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Ukrainian
  4. >
  5. "Чиї це ліси, я думаю, я знаю…

"Чиї це ліси, я думаю, я знаю."

Translation:Whose woods these are I think I know.

June 5, 2015



This English translation is very awkward. A native would not speak like this.


A native Ukrainian wouldn't speak like that either. A very unnatural poetic word order. As @Vinnfred commented above, it's a line from a poem. I don't think it's a good decision to use it as an exercise sentence...


I just got writing the English of this wrong about 5 times in a row because it's so unatural. I definitely agree it's not a good sentence to use, and should either be removed or at least rewritten/more versions of the sentence accepted. We're trying to learn a language, not memorise exact lines from poetry and their translations.


Currently accepted:

I think I know whose [woods/forests] [these/they] are.

Whose [forests/woods] [these/they] are I think I know.

Do you have any other suggestions?


Whose are these forests, I think I know. Whose forests are these, I think I know.

Although really there should be a question mark in those versions, I would never say "whose forests these are" in normal spoken language, except at the end of a sentence. I think that little switch of word order is what makes it particularly poetic, and probably what kept tripping me up, because it doesn't sound right as a standard English sentence (which made me assume the original sentence was the Ukrainian one).

If "Чиї це ліси, я думаю, я знаю" was a natural word order in Ukrainian, then it seems fair enough we should learn it's standard for there but we'd normally say it "I think I know whose forests these are", but if like you say the suggested translation sounds odd in both, then only accepting those exact translations means we're going to be spending a lot of time focusing on the word order of something that's going to make us sound odd in either language.


yes i have a suggestion - just take it out of the lesson - its just confusing in English and in Ukrainian


A line of classic poetry. I like it.

But I think close approximations should also be accepted like

Whose woods are these I think I know


Sagitta, as a Moderator do you not have the discretion to remove or change this entire exercise. I agree with another comment that we are here to learn common language not poetry. There are far too many deviations from normal rules of language and speech used in poetry to be helpful.


Terrible sentence


Please read the comments above. This is a line from a poem.


the point is when you take the line of a poem out of the poem it can simply become poor grammar. Context is the key and the context is no more I think I know.


This is an extremely frustrating exercise! I understand the meaning and still get the translation wrong over and over again! Can you just remove it?


apparently they can't just remove it - notice how long this discussion has been here - 4 YEARS - and how many people have suggested removing it as the solution. Moderators are included in the commentary.


That's very bad English!


I now realise that it’s the original English poem that has the ‘bad English’.


Why has this not been fixed?!


Okay, I sent this phrase to my 22 year old niece in Ukraine (her mother, my 1st cousin, is a teacher, and my niece has her masters degree) and asked her to translate. Here was her response -

"I would translate “ Who owns these forests? I think, I know.” Seems like it’s a poem.

So there it is, another vote for poetry as its origin. So it seems this phrase was written with some "poetic license", as we say in the US.


The link to the original English poet is given above. (When I made my comment about bad English that was in response to being told my answer was incorrect. I didn't know about this discussion at that time.)


Sorry, I see the link now. As I said it's English written with "poetic license". Poets break grammar rules all the time to create effect. Seems like an odd phrase to use for teaching a language.


"Who owns these forests? I think, I know" -> "Чиї це ліси, я думаю, я знаю" (two sentences)

"Whose woods these are I think I know.", "I think I know whose forests these are ." -> "Чиї це ліси, я думаю, я знаю" (one sentence with two clauses)

  • 466

Can I say "forests"?


Someone pointed to me that it was taken from a poem: http://goo.gl/ruuiR :)
But yes, it's a correct translation


yees forests is good)


Whose are these forests, I think, I know.


So many comments and still no one from developers cares


Well, it is an error. Not woods but words and it is about a philosopher Descartes who established European rationalism saying: "Cogito ergo sum" that woul translate like: I think so I exist.


Please scroll up and read the comment about the poem.


Якось закручено ніби


Shouldn't it be чиї ЦІ ліси


Same issue "Whose woods are these, I think I know" is an unnatural alternative that should be accepted!


Я думаю я знаю чиї це ліси. It is correct


Wow. Five years of complaining about this phrase and it still isn't fixed. Good job, Duolingo. (That's sarcasm. )


His house is in the village though


Quoting from poetry, however familar it is to American readers, does not help in a basic language course.


Wow thats a weird sentence and translated very badly

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