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"I often pretended to be my twin."

Translation:Mi ofte ŝajnigis esti mia ĝemelo.

July 10, 2015



this one i had to guess (wrongly) concerning the transitivity of 'ŝajnigis esti'. So I guess the rule for compound verbs is that they take on the transitivity of the last verb in the sequence? Or is it more complicated than that?


I think the object of "ŝajnigi" is "esti mia ĝemelo".

Kind of like in "Mi volas esti doktoro kaj vi volas trinki sukon", the objects of "voli" are "esti doktoro" and "trinki sukon" -- since infinitives don't show case, we don't see them marked for accusative case.

The objects or complements of the secondary verbs take their normal case marking.

So it's not a compound verb; it's a verb which takes a normal verb as its object. The first verb is transitive and has an object, which happens to be a phrase containing another verb; the second verb, the one in that phrase, is just a normal verb which can take an object or not.


I'm happy with that explanation. It says to me, this is a complicated thing. There will always be shades of transitivity, and there will always be special cases. The fact is, it hardly matters unless you are a grammarian or an editor. The meaning of this sentence really doesn't change either way. For my own (stultaj) purposes, I'll just use the rule that the last verb in the compound sequence determines the transitivity.


I just want to add a precision in this. Taking the last verb as a determiner for transitivity works, and you normally won’t wrongly write or misunderstand any sentence this way: you can safely ignore my current comment if it confuses you.

I think that you don’t parse the sentence correctly: this is not a compound verb. It is just a subsentence (in the infinitive, thus the reason why there is no “ke”). In other words, you read the sentence as “Mi <ofte <ŝajnigis esti>> <mia ĝemelo>” instead of as “Mi <ofte ŝajnigis> <esti <mia ĝemelo>>.” There might be complex sentences where this parsing mistake would lead to confusion, but I think that such sentences are corner cases and never used in practice. I’m however not sure how computer scientists understand the sentence “Kiu vi ofte ŝajnigis esti?” :p

But as I said, if this confuses you, you can ignore this comment :-)


Yes, that makes sense. You're advising that the entire subphrase that comes after ŝajnigi here, including esti, is the object of the ŝajnigi. So one could in theory replace "Mi ofte ŝajnigis <esti mia ĝemelo>." with some word-building effort like "Mi ofte ŝajnigis <propraĝemelecon>." (I'm not suggesting this is a useable word at all, just that it shows how the sentence is structured.)


Exactly! This is at least the way I understand it. We should search for Zamenhof’s idioms to really understand the way it works... but it probably changed a lot since then, so this is not even a good solution :p

There is a grammar book in my local Esperanto club explaining corners cases like this in a grammatical point of view, but I don’t have the courage to search for anything in it...

[Edit] Actually, this book has an online version, and they seem to prefer your original explanation: http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/verboj_frazroloj/kompleksaj.html So sorry for the noise, but ignoring my comment seems like a bad idea anyway :-)


I think that your analysis is linguistically sound, but the book simplifies things for the lay reader. Thus they write ‘kvazaŭ’ in ‘La du verboj kune formas kvazaŭ unu kompleksan verbon.’; They don't really form one complex verb, but it's as if they did. [This is really a reply to your later comment where you cite the online Esperanto grammar book, but that's too deeply nested to reply to directly.]


No, you're correct.

Ŝajnigi esti is really the only combination which can have an object though.


I don't quite understand. If "Ŝajnigi esti" was actually transitive, then the correct translation of the sentence would be "Mi ofte ŝajnigis esti miaN ĝemeloN." This was my guess, but the system flagged it as incorrect.


Ŝajnigi is definitely transitive. Ŝajni + -ig- (-ig- turns a verb transitive) but you never have the accusative case after esti.


I have a doubt:
If "ŝajnigis" is transitive, Why this sentence is not "Mi ofte ŝajnigis min..." (too much redundancy?)

And, what would this mean?: "Mi ŝajniĝis esti mia ĝemelo".
is not the same?


I think it would make more sense if it took the direct object "min". That way you could also use other direct objects for the meaning I made him look like, or I made them look like.


It works with adjectives ("mi ŝajnigas min indiferenta"). It also works with "esti" ("Ne ŝajnigu vin esti burleska"). With other verbs, all examples I find have the pronoun as object of the i-verb ("li ŝajnigis ilin malkoni"), not of "ŝajnigi". If you want to make the subject of the i-verb explicit, you can use "ke" instead: "ŝi ŝajnigas ke ŝi ploras".


I checked my Esperanto dictionary, which is a 1967 copy published by the British Esperanto Association. The examples under the entry for ŝajnigi all use use the reflexive, e.g. "Ne ŝajnigu vin freneza".


More specifically, "fratecaj ĝemeloj" (fraternal); "identaj ĝemeloj" (identical).


What other positions can ofte be in this sentence?


At the start, without changing the meaning. Before or after "esti" but it changes the meaning. At the end of the sentence, but it may be ambiguous.

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