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Thread: Emphasis on a word, corresponding with English "does" or "did"

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    Emphasis on a word, corresponding with English "does" or "did"

    This is a rather specific and random question, but here it goes:

    How do you place emphasis on a word in a Russian sentence, corresponding with English "does" or "did."

    For example:
    "She doesn't speak English but she speaks Russian." vs.
    "She doesn't speak English but she does speak Russian."

    They have slightly different connotations in English, and I'm curious how that translates to Russian.

    Thanks! Спасибо!

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    Увлечённый спикер mudrets's Avatar
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    Possibly you could get the desired emphasis with the conjunction однако (however) instead of но or а.

    Она не говорит по-английски, однако говорит по-русски.




    ( Вы вольны исправлять мои ошибки.)

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    Подающий надежды оратор
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    Usually, "does" or "did" can be translated "действительно" or "на самом деле" or "и вправду". For example "She does speak Russian" - "Она действительно говорит по-русски" or "Она и вправду говорит по-русски".

    In your example I think it's better to place emphasis with your voice and word order: "She doesn't speak English but she does speak Russian." - "Она не говорит по-английски, но по-русски она разговаривает." (you raise your voice a little on "по-русски" to show emphasis). I think you can use italic or bold in written text to place emphasis. Also, I changed the verb from "говорит" to "разговаривает" to avoid repetition of the same word.

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    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    "She doesn't speak English but she speaks Russian." vs.
    "She doesn't speak English but she does speak Russian."
    Насколько я понял, в этих примерах с логической точки зрения ударение падает на "English" и на "Russian", а с грамматической - на "speak". Т.е. сама фраза получается абсурдной.
    Союз "but" говорит о противопоставлении одного другому ("по-английски" противопоставляется "по-русски"), но акцент почему-то делается на действии "говорит".

    Сepo, если Вы хотели противопоставить друг другу действия и сделать акцент на этом, то нужно было бы сказать что-то типа:
    "She doesn't speak English but she does write English." = "Она не говорит по-английски, но зато пишет."

    Если Вы хотели противопоставить друг другу языки ("по-английски" и "по-русски") и сделать акцент на этом, то нужно было бы сказать что-то типа:
    "It is English that she doesn't speak but it is Russian that she speak." = "По-английски она не говорит, а вот по-русски умеет."


    I'll try to say the same in English:
    As far as I've understood, in your examples, the logical emphasis was made on "English" and "Russian" but the grammatically one on "speak". And then the phrase turns out "absurd". Don't be offended )
    The conjunction "but" tells us one thing contrasts with another (i.e. "English" vs "Russian") but the emphasis you made on the act "speak".

    Сepo, if you want to contrasts acts with each other and make the emphasis on that, you should say something like this:
    "She doesn't speak English but she does write English." = "Она не говорит по-английски, но зато пишет."

    If you want to contrasts the languages with each other ("English" and "Russian") and make the emphasis on that, you should say something like this:
    "It is English that she doesn't speak but it is Russian that she speak." = "По-английски она не говорит, а вот по-русски умеет."
    Last edited by oldboy; February 23rd, 2011 at 11:56 AM.
    Thanks for correcting me.

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cepo View Post
    For example:
    "She doesn't speak English but she speaks Russian." vs.
    "She doesn't speak English but she does speak Russian."

    They have slightly different connotations in English, and I'm curious how that translates to Russian.
    There are many ways. Most natural is to put the predicate to the end of the sentence.

    "Она не говорит по-английски, но она говорит по-русски." vs.
    "Она не говорит по-английски, но по-русски она говорит."

    provides more or less the same change in connotation. Russian has more free word order than English, but the last word in the sentence is normally felt like emphasized.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Oldboy, if I understand you right you think that something is wrong with cepo's sentences, but there isn't. They are absolutely valid English utterances, and the "does" adds emphasis to its verb phrase. "She does speak English" highlights the fact that she is able to speak English, probably as a second language, if not Russian, whereas the other sentence simply contrasts being able to speak the one language but not the other.

    However, your post does answer (see, I'm doing it, too! "Does answer" adds emphasis.) the original question inadvertently. Your example ""По-английски она не говорит, а вот по-русски умеет." achieves what the added "does" achieves by adding the particle вот. Such particles are a way to add emphasis or slant the meaning of an utterance in a specific direction.
    Спасибо за исправления!

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    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    bitpicker, the sentences of cepo is valid from a grammatical point of view but not, IMHO, from a logical one.
    I think so because in "She doesn't speak English but she does speak Russian."
    Quote Originally Posted by oldboy View Post
    the logical emphasis was made on "English" and "Russian" but the grammatically one on "speak".
    Thanks for correcting me.

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    I can only say "no" to that one. There is no difference between logical and grammatical emphasis here. "Do" is a handle which manipulates the verb phrase outside of simple affirmative sentences, and the verb phrase is "speak [language]".

    Simple affirmative: she speaks [language].
    Question: does she speak [language]?
    Negative: She doesn't speak [language].
    Emphatic affirmative: she does speak [language].

    The difference you imply with your example "She doesn't speak English but she does write English.", which seems to state that somehow the emphasis is restricted to the verb itself and not the verb phrase, so that you'd expect the verb to change, does not exist in English. In fact, The stub sentence "she doesn't speak English, but she does" up to this point leaves it open whether the negated element is only the verb, as in your example, or is the whole verb phrase, as in cepo's example. Thats why you have to repeat both the verb and the language; you can neither say "but she does write." without at least adding "it", nor "but she does English." without repeating the verb (OK, that would probably be possible in colloquial speech, but not in writing).

    And your alternative sentence "It is English that she doesn't speak but it is Russian that she speaks." even with the third person -s is extremely awkward and not a sentence you'd find commonly formed by any native speaker.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

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    "She doesn't speak English but she speaks Russian." vs.
    "She doesn't speak English but she does speak Russian."

    There's no difference in connotation between these sentences in English. The "but" is contrastive, so the "does" makes no difference. The only reason you'd choose either variant was if Russian had some sort of contextual relevance. For example, let's say my boss asks me to meet a visitor at the airport. I ask "does she speak English?", and my boss, who knows that I speak Russian, answers "She doesn't speak English but she [speaks/ does speak] Russian." There's not the slightest difference there.

    The simple affirmative version would be "She doesn't speak English. She speaks Russian."

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    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cepo View Post
    "She doesn't speak English but she speaks Russian." vs.
    "She doesn't speak English but she does speak Russian."
    There are many ways to express that in Russian. That's true the example is not the best, but the question is clear. Perhaps, a better example might be something like: "She doesn't speak American English, but she does speak English." (Pronounced with the British accent).

    As a thought, I think that "does" stress is a bit informal in English, so why not to give some of the informal equivalents in Russian? Some of those would be:

    1. Она не говорит по-английски, но она таки говорит по-русски. (This is a very specific dialect in Russian, so use with caution.)
    2. Она не говорит по-английски, но она вполне говорит по-русски.
    3. Она не говорит по-английски, но она очень даже говорит по-русски.
    4. Она не говорит по-английски, а вот по-русски - вполне.

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