"Ili ne povas telefoni al ni."

Translation:They cannot call us.

July 5, 2015

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Imuraveragejoe

Why is telefoni infinitive? Why is the sentence not "Ili ne povas telefonas al ni" Sorry, might be a silly question, I'm a slow learner.

July 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mihxal

The ending -i indicates the infinitive, for example ami (to love). This is the neutral form found in a dictionary. It is most often used to complement the verbs povas (can), volas (want), devas (must), and ŝatas (like). For example:

<pre>Mi volas danci. = I want to dance. Mi ŝatas manĝi. = I like to eat. Ĉu vi povas fari tion? = Can you do that? </pre>
July 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 1889

In English we use the bare infinitive (infinitive without "to" in front of it) in situations like this: I cannot be there (not "am"). She cannot know that (not "knows"). In other languages, they use the full infinitive.

July 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RoJeBo

Because this sentence more directly translates to "They were not able [to call] us."

"To call" is in the infinitive, so "telefoni" is too.

August 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/NoelEtrof

Why not "telefoni nin"?

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PatriciaJH

In general, accusatives don't come after prepositions, because prepositions usually modify indirect objects.

The verb's action happens in relation to the indirect object, while it acts directly on the direct object.

(There are some exceptions, which you'll see later.)

October 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 1889

Because "ni" is the indirect object, not the direct object. In English, it's "say to him", not "say him". That would imply that the word said was "him".

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Harly5210

And why is it an indirect object? What could the direct object be?

May 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 1889

If we're talking about the verb "to say", then the direct object would be what is said. The indirect object is who it's said to.

"I said 'No, thank you' to the waiter."
No, thank you is the direct object
the waiter is the indirect object

May 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Harly5210

Yeah, I understand how to differentiate between indirect and direct objects because of my time with Spanish, I am just having a hard time thinking of why it should be direct with this specific verb. Could you give me an example of the same verb (telefoni) but with both a direct and an indirect object? Are you saying that it works like "to say" but in the context of a telephone call?

May 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/CaribbeanMax

"telefoni" is a transitive verb and comes from a Romance Language (it helps you know that it's got a very close relation with the French verb "telephoner" or "telefon(e)ar" in Spanish.

"Ili ne povas telefoni al ni" sounds very strange, but Esperanto is an universal language, so you can express the same idea with a very "Germanic" syntax. So, **Ili ne povas telefoni nin" sounds a great deal better than ".. al ni".

http://www.reta-vortaro.de/revo/

December 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 1889

I'm looking at my comment from 9 months ago and wondering what was going through my mind. I'm not sure how I got from "telefoni" to "diri".

That said, I honestly don't know if it's grammatical in Esperanto to treat "telefoni" like a regular transitive verb or if it requires a prepositional phrase. Assuming it can go either way, it would just be a matter of:

Ili telefonas nin.
vs
Ili telefonas al ni.

May 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/cornbread4036

Is "telefoni" only limited to call by telephone, or can you use it like "I'm gonna call him out on it"?

June 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 1889

"Telefoni" is strictly "to call by telephone".

Zamenhof did not speak English, and even if he did, he developed Esperanto long before the idiom "to call someone out" existed. And even then, I'm pretty sure the whole point of Esperanto is for broad communication. Why would he include a highly idiomatic expression that's unique to English?

June 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cornbread4036

Ohhhh, okay. Dankon!

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DEVSITVS

They cannot call us by telephone,incorrect ?

April 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/gmolleda

In voice I hear "ilin" and not "ili" at the beginning.

May 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 1889

Well, the next word after "ili" is "ne". It's natural for words to flow together like that.

May 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sc1920

Would "They can't call us on the phone" work here?

July 14, 2016
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