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Thread: Aspect of Speak - or Speech

  1. #1
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    Aspect of Speak - or Speech

    I am struggling with the phrase:

    как сказать

    I studied this in the Big Silver Book of verbs, and found that there is no present, perfect aspect to the verb: говорить / сказать. I often hear "скажите", which is the simple command - say (imperative). I also hear "как он(а) говорит", which I easily understand is: How does he/she say...

    I want to read or think of "как сказать" as - How do you say (or, how does one say). But, is it truly an equivalent of the infinitive - "How to say"?

    This sounds and seems very ackward.[/b]

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    Actually, I believe that you say "Как говорить..." to ask "How do you say....". That is because говорить an on going action, and the way you say something is not likely to just change in the near future. Therefore you need to use the imperfective aspect.

    If anyone can either elaborate more or correct me, feel free to.
    Я знаю
    Что делаю
    Вилкою
    Пирогу

    How to Post

    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

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    IMHO, you may translate "как сказать" as "How to say". But also "как сказать" has an idiomatic meaning: "I don't agree".

    --- Она очень красива.
    --- Хм... Как сказать...

    --- She's very pretty.
    --- Hm... I'm not sure/I don't agree...
    My English isn't so good, зато с русским все в порядке ))
    I'll be very thankful, if you correct my mistakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darobat
    Actually, I believe that you say "Как говорить..." to ask "How do you say....". That is because говорить an on going action, and the way you say something is not likely to just change in the near future. Therefore you need to use the imperfective aspect.

    If anyone can either elaborate more or correct me, feel free to.
    Actually, как сказать would be better here. You want to know how to say it. Just a one time thing. как говорить would be something along the lines of "How to say it for an ongoing period of time"; "How to be in the process of saying it". If its just a simple word or pharse, then it would be quick and a one time thing. "How do you say it."

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    But where do you get the second person sense of "you" from use of the infinitive?!

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    You can't translate things precisly from english to russian (and all languages for that matter).

    Isn't it more like "How to say"
    Листьев не обожгло, Веток не обломало
    День промыт как стекло, только этого мало

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    Literally "как сказать" it is "how to say"
    "как говорить" is "how to talk"
    "как говорить по-русский?" "how does one talk in Russian?"

    Remember, сказать is perfective, so if you want to know how word X is said, use the perfective.
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
    Yo hablo español mejor que tú.
    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

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    Thank you all for your thoughts on this...

    I suppose I am trying to split hairs with this. But, I had two different explanations of this: my Princeton materials translated it as "how do you say" and my Pimsleur materials as "how does one say". Neither source provided me any explanation or analysis.

    I think that properly it should be the "how does ONE say"; as I believe that один / одна is often dropped in a sentence -- (of course, ты / вы is dropped as well, but the verb ending ordinarily gives us the proper tense beyond the infinitive).

    Again, thanks for everyone's thoughts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blueclue7
    Thank you all for your thoughts on this...

    I suppose I am trying to split hairs with this. But, I had two different explanations of this: my Princeton materials translated it as "how do you say" and my Pimsleur materials as "how does one say". Neither source provided me any explanation or analysis.

    I think that properly it should be the "how does ONE say"; as I believe that один / одна is often dropped in a sentence -- (of course, ты / вы is dropped as well, but the verb ending ordinarily gives us the proper tense beyond the infinitive).

    Again, thanks for everyone's thoughts.
    "How does one say?" and "How do you say?" both mean exactly the same thing in English. The former is simply an arcahiac (or at least old-fashioned) version of the latter.

    So it stands to reason that they should have the same translation into Russian.

    I can't even figure out which hair you are trying to split.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueclue7
    I think that properly it should be the "how does ONE say"; as I believe that один / одна is often dropped in a sentence -- (of course, ты / вы is dropped as well, but the verb ending ordinarily gives us the proper tense beyond the infinitive).
    Right. And since Russian verbs' and adjectives' endings often give sufficient clues on what or who they relate to, Russian sentences often lack a subject. Consider the following dialogue:

    -- Принтер не работает.
    -- Новый или старый?

    Here, the only masculine noun in the first sentence is "принтер", so it's pretty easy to guess what "старый" and "новый" relate to. You don't actually drop "один", you just don't need it. (And you'd really confuse native Russian speakers using "один" as you would use "one" in "Which one, the new one or the old one?")

    Now, with "Как сказать" we have a slightly different situation. Here, the speaker doesn't care who's going to say this or that. The speaker's interested in the way something is generally said by anybody willing to say it. Different languages use different means to stress the fact that the speaker is interested in action itself and couldn't care less about who or what performs it. In French, one would use a special "impersonal pronoun". In English, one absolutely has to use some subject (a "you" that means no particular person or persons in such contexts, or "one") no matter what. In Russian, you simply drop the subject altogether and use an impersonal sentence:

    Как сказать "this weather sucks"?
    Как отсюда позвонить в город?
    etc.

    So both "How does one say?" and "How do you say?" are good translations for "Как сказать". You just have to insert some subject (="Просто необходимо вставить подлежащее"="One just has to insert a subject") the Russian phrase happily lacks altogether.
    The above may contain Siberian words, idioms, usages, and ideas. Take care.

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