Word of the Day

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Slavic transgressives

I was under the impression that one of the factors why transgressives are nowadays not widely used in Czech is their complexity and their inflexions for gender and number. Like Polish and Russian, Slovak transgressives, as I have learned recently, in spite of their relative simplicity, seem to be used even less than in Czech.

A Polish sentence like
Słuchając muzyki, czytał/czytała/czytali/czytały (Listening to music, he/she/they (males or mixed group)/they (females only) read (past tense)
where słuchając is the trangressive of the verb słuchać, to listen, would have only one possible transgressive in Russian:
Слушая музыку, читал/читала/читали. In very rough transliteration and following a Slavic pattern: Slušaja muzyku, čital/čitala/čitali, where elements around slashes refer to a male, a female and plural,

and also only one form in Slovak:
Počúvajúc hudbu/muziku, čítal/čítala/čítali (elements around slashes as in Russian above)

But three different transgressives in Czech according to the gender and number of the subject to which they refer:
Poslouchaje hudbu/muziku, četl si  (he read)
Poslouchajíc hudbu/muziku, četla si. (she read)
Poslouchajíce hudbu/muziku, četli si. (they read – males or mixed group)
Poslouchajíce hudbu/muziku, četly si. (they read – females only)
Poslouchajíce hudbu/muziku, četla si. (they read – plural neuter)  It could be girls, děvčata, for example.

Muzika is a more colloquial word than hudba both in Czech and in Slovak.

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