"I did not know that you were sick."

Translation:Mi ne sciis, ke vi estas malsana.

June 11, 2015

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Fantomius
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 16
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 1347

When I was a child (speaking English), I would often say things like "Yesterday he said he will arrive tomorrow" intending to say that he will arrive today (because today is yesterday's tomorrow).

However, I was always corrected, because I was supposed to say the day as it relates to the current day, unless I'm quoting. (And if I'm quoting, make it very clear I'm quoting, or else people will likely misunderstand me.)

Now that I'm learning Esperanto, I see that it uses a relation similar to how I spoke as a child; namely, if the second verb happens at the same time as the first verb, the second verb stays in present tense.

Which means that if the sentence takes place in the past, only the first verb uses the past tense.

So when we read the sentence:

Mi ne sciis, ke vi estas malsana.

we know that the speaker is referring to a time when the listener was, at the time, sick/ill.

But put estas in the past tense, such as:

Mi ne sciis, ke vi estis malsana.

we know that the speaker is referring to a time even earlier, after which the listener (presumably) recovered.

May 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

This answer needs more upvotes!!

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AndressaAndrd

What an AMAZING explanation! Just gave you 10 lingots for that! Thank you very much! =D

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ScottBoggs3

so "...ke vi estis..." would translate more as "...that you had been..."?

May 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

Yes.

May 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/rendorHaevyn

If this is so, then estis is appropriate in this instance. Without further conversational context, this entire discourse is moot.

July 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

1 - this is so.

2 - The right answer is "estas". No more context is needed.

  • "I did not know that you were sick."
  • Translation:Mi ne sciis, ke vi estas malsana.

"I did not know that youwere sick" can only be an answer to "I was sick - why didn't you do X" or "I am sick, why didn't you do X". In both cases, you would say "estis" because indirect citation is different in Esperanto than in English.

July 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/bryanhumano

Couldn't you interpret this sentence being about the person being sick in the past? I said "...ke vi malsanis" and it marked it as wrong. Like "I just got cured!" Oh, I didn't even know you were sick

June 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BradfordBowman

I believe that the tense of the first verb (sci/i in this case) sets the temporal point of view from which the second verb's tense is taken (unlike the usual sequence of tenses in English). The the speaker in this case is describing the state of his knowledge in the past. The object referred to by the second verb must then described as though one were speaking from that same point in the past--when the object was still sick--so the present tense is used. I am describing this very poorly. A better description with examples is found in Professor Jordan's Being Colloquial in Esperanto here: http://pages.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/eo/colloq/colloq120.html#sec12-1-1

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Turteltaube41
  • 22
  • 12
  • 11
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

But without being able to use "malsanis", that would leave no way to distinctly express "I did not know (presumably until you just told me) that you were sick (in the past; presumably you are healthy now as we are having this conversation)". Could someone weigh in on this ambiguity? I am fine with "malsanas" being correct, but I am not sure "malsanis" is wrong either.

July 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

This has to do with how indirect citation works differently in English and Esperanto. "Mi ne sciis" presumably refers to a certain time. If you use present tense in the indirect citation, then that present tense refers to the same time as "sciis."

  • Mi ne sciis ke vi estas malsana - I didn't know that you were sick.
  • Mi ne sciis ke vi estis malsana - I didn't know that you had been sick.
May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Turteltaube41
  • 22
  • 12
  • 11
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Dankon pro via mesaĝo - bone klarigita. Mi nun komprenas. :)

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Camsbury

I'm not seeing a good answer for this. I saw somewhere that the tense actually needs to agree, so it seems wrong that "estas" would be used.

July 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

The "good answer" is by Fantomius -- which he posted a week ago. Sorry you had to wait so long for a good answer. Check it out.

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AjxojLerni

Can you link to where you saw that? I'm not sure if this helps but consider that the translation is En->Eo not Eo->En; the problem sentences in either language are written more or less in the way that speakers commonly--but not via ungrammatical slang-- express the idea. In this case, it is acceptable in English to say "I did not know that you were sick", when one means "I did not know [until you told me] that you [are currently] sick"

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bmatsuo

I think the text is question is in the Tips & Notes for the section on Past/Future (verbs).

https://www.duolingo.com/skill/eo/Verbs-Past-Future

But that text is actually specifically talking about future tense.

I do agree with OP though; the translation is confusing. If the person is indeed still sick it seems like saying "you were sick" instead of "you are sick" in english makes little difference or is context dependent. I think the translation should just use present tense to avoid confusion.

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bjoholm
  • 21
  • 18
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5

is "mi ne konis, ke vi malsanas" technically incorrect here?

June 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luis_Domingos
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 2

"Malsanas" is perfectly fine, but you can't use "koni" for factual knowledge, only "scii".

June 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jcreed
  • 16
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2

This is to a first approximation true, that basically you use scii for knowing propositions/facts and koni for people-knowing, but I do see a lot of occurrences of koni with facts as well, and the dictionary backs me up as it being legitimate but having a slightly different meaning --- it seems more like "to be familiar with" than scii's crisp "to know".

http://www.reta-vortaro.de/revo/art/kon.html

has:

[3.] Havi pli-malpli kompletan kaj klaran ideon pri io aŭ iu. Vidu ankaŭ: scii, koncepti.

koni bone la staton de la aferoj

mi ne konas lian nomon, tiun fakton

La klarigo fare de Sergio Pokrovskij pri ĉi tiu temo en tiu paĝo ankaŭ interesas

June 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

The first order approximation, as you said, is that scii is for facts and koni is for people. The second order approximation is that koni means to be familiar with.

If you learn those two approximations, you will pretty much have the whole thing down.

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bjoholm
  • 21
  • 18
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5

thanks!

June 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MunchingMachine
  • 24
  • 21
  • 20
  • 16
  • 14
  • 11
  • 2
  • 1740

I think this sentence is way too ambiguous. We are all making up explanations but... Could it be that the esperanto team just made a mistake? In my native language a sentence like this would call for the subjunctive ( I speak Spanish and Portuguese) so "estus" should be the conjugation of the verb in this particular sentence, but alas, it's not accepted either.

October 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

Certainly the Esperanto team has made many mistakes. They've been busy finding and correcting them for as long as I've been on Duolingo. In a few cases, experienced speakers might even disagree about what is correct. This is certainly not a mistake. It is also not a case where Esperanto usage is unclear.

Esperanto differs from English in how indirect citation works.

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/CharlesGoli1

How I understand this sentence: writing: "mi ne scias, ke vi estas malsana", means to me that the person I am talking to is still sick. Writing: " Mi ne sciis, ke vi estis malsana", the one I am speaking to is no more sick. DON'T COMPLICATE THINGS !

May 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

Read the answer by Fantomius and my other comments in this thread. You have misunderstood this sentence. The sentence means that the knowing and the being sick were happening at the same time. It's not complicated. It's just different from how English works.

November 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EsperantoEthan

I do not understand why you would say this but not "mi ne sciis ke vi estis malsana." the event happened in the past and should get the past tense. Any help?

November 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EsperantoEthan

maybe CharlesGoli1's answer is better. I think that the person is still sick.

November 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

CharlesGoli1 is wrong. See Fantomius's answer and my other comments in this thread.

November 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

The fact that 'estas' is in present tense means that the knowing and the being sick are happening at the same time. See Fantomius's answer and my other comments in this thread.

November 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Olena.D
  • 11
  • 10
  • 6

"were" = "estAs". Why is it so here?

June 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luis_Domingos
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 2

Because the first verb (main clause verb) is already in the past. There's an explanation in the Tips & Notes for this lesson.

June 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Olena.D
  • 11
  • 10
  • 6

I didn't find the explanation neither in "Adjectives" nor in "Past/Future". Anyway I have already understood. I just was confused, cause the sequence of tenses in English and Russian is different.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

It would be helpful if you mentioned which lesson "this lesson" is -- and maybe even include a link. It's not always obvious.

Edit: I have come to the conclusion that Luis_Domingos is simply mistaken when he asserts that there is an explanation of indirect citation in the lesson. I looked and did not find it. Olena.D looked and did not find it.

I did find this: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/eo/Verbs-Past-Future

But it does not include an explanation of tense in indirect citation. If you read Esperanto, you can read more here:

http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/subfrazoj/nerekta_parolo/verboformoj.html

There is also an explanation in English here -- scroll down to 12.1.1.4. Sequence of Tenses & Indirect Quotation

http://pages.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/eo/colloq/colloq120.html

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Luis_Domingos
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 2

I'm sorry, but I'm not in any way affiliated with Duolingo, so I have no obligation to provide you with information you can look for on your own. If the lesson is about the past tense, maybe you should look for the lesson that first broaches that subject... that sounds logical to me.

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

Wow, what a weenie response. If you don't want to be helpful, then don't post answers. If you don't want your answers to be helpful, then keep them to yourself.

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/letruca

I have a doubt about to write "Mi ne sciis, ĉu vi estis malsana"; "Mi ne sciis, ĉu vi estas malsana" "Mi ne sciis, ĉu vi estus malsana"; "Mi ne sciis, ke vi estis malsana"; "Mi ne sciis, ke vi estus malsana" "Mi ne sciis, ke vi estas malsana"; What about this? Can you give some solution?

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

The correct translation is in the original post above. I provided some links elsewhere in this thread -- i'ts the one that says:

If you read Esperanto, you can read more here:

http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/subfrazoj/nerekta_parolo/verboformoj.html

There is also an explanation in English here -- scroll down to 12.1.1.4. Sequence of Tenses & Indirect Quotation

http://pages.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/eo/colloq/colloq120.html

August 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/dilly_dallyer

Mi ne sciis ke vi estas malsana , would be best translated as ”at the time”, I didn't know he was sick (currently sick at time in past).

Mi ne sciis ke vi estis malsana, would be best translated as "at the time", I didn't know he had been sick (previously sick than time in past).

I believe.

September 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/GreyPhoenix

I read all the comments and the excellent explanations in this thread about why "estas" is used instead of "estis" in this sentence, and I think I pretty much understand it now. I do, however, have a question.

Since the sentence "Mi ne sciis, ke vi estas malsana" means "I didn't know that you were sick" (at the time that I didn't know about it), how would I say "I didn't know that you are sick," as in, the person still hasn't recovered. Would I need to add a word like "ankoraŭ" to clarify?

Based on the rules discussed here, it seems like the sentence "Mi ne sciis, ke vi ankoraŭ estas malsana" would mean "I didn't know that you still were sick" (again, at the time that I lacked knowledge of the listener's sickness), which doesn't make sense and isn't what I want to express at all. This meaning (of not knowing in the past that someone was, and remains, sick) is something I need to express frequently in my current circumstances, so I'd greatly appreciate any input from experienced Esperantists. Thanks!

July 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
  • 23
  • 22
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 1156

My notifications stopped working for a while so I"m just seeing this now. This is a great question. I think you're on the right track. I wonder, though, how you would make this distinction in English.

If I became sick and you didn't know -- then you found out -- and I'm still sick today... how do you say in English that you didn't know? Would it be different if I had gotten better in the meanwhile? I don't think English makes that distinction and I don't think Esperanto does either. It would need to be clarified some other way.

November 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Kayzels

I don't know, as I am a learner, but I think you could say: "Cxu vi ankoraux estas malsana? Mi ne sciis." Essentially, "Are you still sick? I didn't know"

March 2, 2018
Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.