"Shall I follow you?"
Translation:Ĉu mi sekvu vin?
I'm definitely missing something. Why are we using the imperative and not a future or even a conditional form?
It might be easier to think of this as an Esperanto sentence and that the trouble is how to express the idea in English. "Ĉu mi sekvu vin?" is a pretty ordinary thing to say if you're trying to decide whether to follow someone and you want to ask about it. You can't say "Ĉu mi sekvos vin?" because you're not asking whether you're going to follow him (how would he know?) but rather about what the best decision is going to be.
I always think of it as "giving an order to yourself" - but there may be more "grammatical" ways to describe it. The person could say "sekvu min" and you would probably follow him. You're asking about this while giving the order to yourself: Ĉu mi sekvu vin? Jes, sekvu min.
So the question becomes how to say this in English. I personally would say "should I follow you."
Ok, in my lovely Latin, it would be a Jussive Subjunctive, (let me...) A command in the first person.
So this is the question version of that command. I agree that should is better than shall. I was asked to translate from English to Esperanto and had no chance of knowing this construction :/
In the meanwhile the word "jussative" popped into my head. I suppose I should actually learn the right spelling (and pronunciation.) Thanks for teaching me, Teach.
Jussives are 1st person and hortatory subjunctives are 3rd, like let him leave or may it rain.
"Shall I follow you?" is commonly used in the UK and elsewhere. Maybe that's why it sounds odd to your ears.
US here and I'll sometimes use shall myself. It was just odd to see shall and have to use an imperative.
About the only way I would use: "Shall I follow you?" would be if we were driving somewhere in different cars and you knew the way, but I didn't.
"Should I follow you or make my own way there?" would mean the same thing.
Doesn't povi mean 'can'? I think your sentence means 'can i follow you?' which is an entirely different question.