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Devus?

od nw2394, 7 grudnia 2006

Wpisy: 19

Język: English

nw2394 (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 08:45:19

Twice today I've seen "devus". If devi is "must", then how can one devus (conditionally must/would must)? It doesn't make sense. Are people trying to saying "it might be necessary...."?

The vortaro also gives "should" as a possible meaning for devi, but I thought that the volitive was like putting should in front of a verb in English. For example "ni iru nun" translating to something like "we should go now". But if that is true, devi can't be "should"

demando.gif

Can someone clarify what is going on.....

Nick

Le Hibou (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 10:37:28

This one often puzzles me too....

Devi certainly can have a meaning of "must", but of course in English there is no such thing as "to must", so what does "devi" *really* mean?

Often I think of it like this: "devi" = "to have to", so "mi devas iri" = "I have to go", "mi devus iri" = "I would have to go" as in "se ŝi venus, mi devus iri" -> "if she came, I would have to go" - this I would call a conditional rather than a volative (yet another latin grammatical term, describing an English use of Esperanto grammar?).

"Ni iru nun" = "we should go now" is more or less "let's go", but what about "Ni devu iri nun"? Although grammatically it looks ok, to me, semantically, it is meaningless, in the same way as the "imperative" "Devu iri..." -/-> "Be obliged to go now"?

Actually, I think this is one of the weaker areas of English grammar, and to directly translate "must", "should", "would" into *any* other language is something of a minefield for English speakers. (Well, from experience I can only really talk about French & E-o, but I think many other languages, especially latin-based ones, would be quite happy with "devi")

nw2394 (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 11:46:44

Thanks. It seems clearer.

Le Hibou:This one often puzzles me too....

Devi certainly can have a meaning of "must", but of course in English there is no such thing as "to must", so what does "devi" *really* mean?
Well, devi isn't the only problem. Povi caused me scratch my head initially. The most common English word to translate it with is "can". But it is usually used with another verb in the infinitive form. So "mi povas iri" = "I can to go", except that is bad English. It is easier to translate it as "I am able to go", but poeple don't usually say that unless they wish to emphasise the fact that the ability to go is actually an option. More usually someone might say, "I can go".
Actually, I think this is one of the weaker areas of English grammar, and to directly translate "must", "should", "would" into *any* other language is something of a minefield for English speakers. (Well, from experience I can only really talk about French & E-o, but I think many other languages, especially latin-based ones, would be quite happy with "devi")
I don't think it is just English. I think German has similar "modal" verbs. And if English and German both have similar features in this regard, then it is probably similar in all the Germanic languages.

English itself is a mongrel language. Quite a lot of French and Latin vocabulary has found its way into English, but it retains its essentially Germanic roots.

Nick

nw2394 (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 12:04:21

...Scrub this post. I think I was waffling.

Nick

Le Hibou (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 14:44:15

nw2394:...Scrub this post. I think I was waffling.

Nick
No, I don't think you're waffling.. I've been trying to learn Dutch, on and off, for several years (!), and it's similar to German. But I think in both languages there is an infinitive of "must": "ik moet gaan" from "gaan moeten" (to must to go?), but then now maybe it's me that's waffling.

Here's an interesting one that almost defies a literal translation (with my admittedly limited knowledge).

"You should have said that yesterday, then I wouldn't be here today, and I wouldn't have had to be here tomorrow"....(actually, I'm not so sure it makes sense in English either). And some people still think English should be THE international language!

T0dd (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 14:56:16

The use of the conditional with "devi" and "povi" has the effect of "softening" them somewhat.

"Mi devas iri." I must go. I'm obliged to go.

"Mi devus iris." I would be obliged to go, under some unspecified conditions. That conditionality gives it a non-absolute aspect. Hence the usual translation, "I should go." When we say "I should" do something, in English, the use of "should" conveys this same "softened" level of obligation.

On the other hand "Mi iru" is not quite the same. There's no simple English translation for it (which is probably why anglophones don't use this sort of construction much) but the closest would be, "Let it be the case that I'm going."--analogous to "Ni iru" which is idiomatically translated as "Let's go." (Let it be the case that we go)

nw2394 (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 16:12:12

Le Hibou:"You should have said that yesterday, then I wouldn't be here today, and I wouldn't have had to be here tomorrow"....(actually, I'm not so sure it makes sense in English either).
It makes sense in English (but is quite a mouthful that you would rarely hear). English has the capability to make past and future tenses that are sort of part conditional, part imperative at the same time (at the expense of being complex as you point out).

E-o, on the other hand, has a much simpler conditional tense - but it has no inherent time consideration. So, (I guess) to construct a similar tenses one has to resort to "devi". That works fine and is still simple, but perhaps lacks the ability to differentiate between "must", "should" and "would" (which is why the first two appear as possible translations for devi).

I guess your sentence best translates as "Vi devis diri tion hieraŭ, tiam mi ne estus ĉi tie hodiaŭ, kaj mi ne devos esti ĉi tie morgaŭ". That seems to have almost the same sort of meaning.

Le Hibou:And some people still think English should be THE international language!
Unfortunately, what humans think is a sensible language to learn has nothing much to do with common sense linguistics!

If English has a right to be an international language then it is because of such things as
1) The marauding nature of the British navy a century and more ago.
2) The success of Hollywood
3) The fact the U.S. emerged from WW2 at least relatively unscathed, while the Russians retreated behind their Iron Curtain.

It could be quite soon that we are all trying to learn Chinese. If the Germans had won WW2 we'd all be speaking German (or maybe Japanese) now. And if the French Navy had had as much success as the British then we might all have been still trying to learn 501 irregular French verbs shoko.gif

And not one of those things has the slightest relevance to the merits of any of the languages themselves.

Nick

nw2394 (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 16:15:58

T0dd:The use of the conditional with "devi" and "povi" has the effect of "softening" them somewhat.
Thanks Todd rido.gif

Nick

Mendacapote (Pokaż profil) 7 grudnia 2006, 16:37:11

El la Reta Vortaro:

Dev/i:

(tr)
(la objekto estas infinitivo)

1.
Ne povi ne fari ion pro ia materia neceseco, praktika bezono, morala leĝo aŭ fremda sintrudanta volo: lernolibron oni devas ne tralegi sed tralerni [1]; ĉiu vivanto devas morti; tiun ĉi demandon devas decidi instruitaj homojZ; la mebloj estis aranĝitaj bonorde kiel devas estiZ; por ĉiuj rilatoj intergentaj oni devas uzi lingvon neŭtralanZ; kiu volas mensogi, devas bone memori [2] teruran nokton devis mi traviviZ; mi devas sendi tiun leteron antaŭ morgaŭ; filo devas obei la patron; pri gustoj oni disputi ne devas [3] oni ne devas havi tro da konfido al si memZ; nenian trinkaĵon el vinberoj li devas trinki [4] (estas malpermesite, ke li trinku); tial ni neniam devas paroli (estas malpermesite, ke ni parolu) en niaj kongresoj pri aferoj politikajZ; mi ne devas malatenti tion [5]; se ni ne trovas pli bonan esprimon, tio ne devas nin ĉagreniZ; ili ne devis lasi rimarki, ke ili nenion vidas [6]; ĉu tiu ĉi ideo estas aktiva aŭ pasiva, tion ĉi la sufikso aĵ tute ne devas montri al niZ; mi certigas vin, ke kun mi vi devas nenion timiZ; ni ne devas miri, ke tia sistemo ne povis trovi amikojnZ. VD:bezoni, nepre, ŝuldi
2.
Kelkfoje ĝi montras la certecon aŭ eĉ nur la probablecon; certe ...i, probable ...i, supozeble ...i: li devis koleri (li certe koleris), ĉar li neniam skribas al mi post de tiamK; kiel ravita vi devas esti (vi supozeble estas) Z; tiu sciigo devas esti falsa; li devas esti freneza; se ĝi ne fariĝos nun, ĝi devas jam iam fariĝi en estontecoZ; tiuj argumentoj devis ŝajni al tiuj homoj tiel same infanaj kiel al ni nun ŝajnas iliaj tiamaj kontraŭparolojZ; prezentu al vi, kiel tiuj arboj devis brili en la suna lumo [7].

Devi=must

In Spanish we also use a the verb "deber" with the same purpose. Actually all romance languages do.

erinja (Pokaż profil) 8 grudnia 2006, 02:02:34

"Should" isn't a very good translation for "devi". But it is a good translation for "devus". So translate devi, devas, devis, etc as "must". But "devus" is "should".

In many cases you can use "devus" instead of the -u form. So instead of "Ni iru", you could say "Ni devus iri", and they mean pretty much the same.

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