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If only...

จาก Kantoj14, 1 ตุลาคม 2019

ข้อความ 11

ภาษา: English

Kantoj14 (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 1 ตุลาคม 2019, 19:50:27

How would one translate "if only..." in esperanto? Like "If only I could teleport..."

I figure I could just say "Oh, if I could teleport...", but "if only" sounds more wishful, more dreamy. Is there any way to transfer that connotation over? I don't think "se nur mi povus..." sounds right - it sounds like I'm saying "if I was the only one who could..."

sergejm (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 1 ตุลาคม 2019, 20:16:15

Se mi nur povus... - atentu vortordon.

Kantoj14 (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 1 ตุลาคม 2019, 20:24:31

...Mi supozas ke tiu bonas... La angla frazo ankaŭ sensencas laŭ mi, do eble tial estas kial mi dubis tion...

Ĉiukaze, dankon denove! ridulo.gif

Metsis (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 2 ตุลาคม 2019, 07:38:53

The reason for the word order, that Sergejm pointed out, is that in Esperanto you almost always put a descriptive word before the main word.
  • Mi malfacile komprenis tion, kion vi diris. : The adverb malfacile describes the verb komprenis.
  • Se mi nur povus… : The primitive adverb nur describes the verb povus. Since the imaga modo (us-ending) already denotes an imaginary action, the adverb emphasizes that, so you end up having the same connotation as the English idiom "if only I could…"
Especially with nur be careful, where you put it. Let's have an example.

In the sentence Vi aĉetis por via filino biciklon there are four places, where you can put nur.
  • Nur vi aĉetis por via filino biciklon : only you bought, nobody else
  • Vi nur aĉetis por via filino biciklon : you only bought, didn't do anything else (like transporting the bicycle home)
  • Vi aĉetis nur por via filino biciklon : you didn't buy a bicycle for any other children
  • Vi aĉetis por via filino nur biciklon : you bought only the bicycle and nothing else

Kantoj14 (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 2 ตุลาคม 2019, 08:37:03

It's good to know that adverbs usually go before what they modify, thank you. I hadn't considered that. ridulo.gif

But where 'nur' is placed isn't really the issue that I'm having (I mean that was apparently the solution to the issue, but not why I have trouble understanding the solution). It's really the use of only/nur at all. The phrase "if only" doesn't really make sense to me grammatically. 'Only' implies a lack of other things, like in your examples: "nur vi" excludes everyone except you, "nur aĉetis" excludes actions beyond buying, "nur por via filino" excludes everyone except your daughter, and "nur biciklon" excludes everything except the bicycle. But when we say "if only", we aren't excluding anything else with the statement. When I say, "if only I could teleport", I'm not excluding my ability to walk, I'm not excluding anyone else's ability to teleport - there is nothing I am excluding. What are the alternatives to "could" that are even possible to exclude with this word? Grammatically, using the word only/nur doesn't make sense in this context at all, no matter what language you are speaking. Honestly, that's what's throwing me off. ^.^u

sudanglo (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 2 ตุลาคม 2019, 10:42:01

Grammatically, using the word only/nur doesn't make sense in this context at all
Tamen ne nur la angloj diras 'se nur' por esprimi deziron. Ankaŭ la francoj diras 'si seulement' (laŭ mia kompreno)..

Metsis, whilst not denying that in general by shifting the position of 'nur' one can qualify the exclusion, it seems to me to be overly pedantic to rule out 'Se nur mi estus riĉa' on the grounds that this might mean that you wish you to be the only person with money (nur mi, ne alia).

What does the Tekstaro say about this?

Metsis (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 2 ตุลาคม 2019, 12:52:02

Sudanglo,

Well, my teacher just yesterday pointed this out. Wennergren states about nur
PMEG:
Ĝi kutime staras ĝuste antaŭ tio, al kio ĝi rilatas.
and gives a lot of examples to prove that point. The only case where I can see him giving any leeway w.r.t. where to put nur, is with verbs like povi, deziri, voli, where nur has an emphasizing meaning oni ne povus pli. I might be wrong, but to my understanding neither the OP's question nor your example carry the same meaning.

sergejm (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 2 ตุลาคม 2019, 13:28:36

Dek boteloj pendas de la mur' (ripetita kelkvoje)
Sed se akcidente falos unu nur
Tiam naŭ boteloj pendos de la mur'
(ktp ĝis nul)

Here nur is at the end

nornen (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 2 ตุลาคม 2019, 17:22:52

Kantoj14:It's good to know that adverbs usually go before what they modify, thank you. I hadn't considered that. ridulo.gif

But where 'nur' is placed isn't really the issue that I'm having (I mean that was apparently the solution to the issue, but not why I have trouble understanding the solution). It's really the use of only/nur at all. The phrase "if only" doesn't really make sense to me grammatically. 'Only' implies a lack of other things, like in your examples: "nur vi" excludes everyone except you, "nur aĉetis" excludes actions beyond buying, "nur por via filino" excludes everyone except your daughter, and "nur biciklon" excludes everything except the bicycle. But when we say "if only", we aren't excluding anything else with the statement. When I say, "if only I could teleport", I'm not excluding my ability to walk, I'm not excluding anyone else's ability to teleport - there is nothing I am excluding. What are the alternatives to "could" that are even possible to exclude with this word? Grammatically, using the word only/nur doesn't make sense in this context at all, no matter what language you are speaking. Honestly, that's what's throwing me off. ^.^u
I understand your concern. Although in Spanish it is possible to you "si tan solo" (=if only) for expressing a strong and only hypothetical desire, more often you use the adverb "ojalá" (< arab. إن شاء الله if God wants; God willing) for this use.

If only I could teleport... (I can't, but I would like to)
Ojalá pudiera teletransportarme...
vs
If only I could teleport (only me, not you, not her and not him; if I were the only person who can teleport)
Si solo yo pudiera teletransportarme...

If you can find an adverb in Esperanto that transmits the idea of a strong desire, you can get rid of the "se nur". Maybe "espereble"?

?Espereble mi povus teleporti

sudanglo (แสดงโปรไฟล์) 4 ตุลาคม 2019, 12:43:16

Nur has multiple grammatical functions. Metsis, I'm not even sure that in your examples, it should be called an adverb.

And Kantoj14, Esperanto can permit considerable flexibility in the placement of adverbs anyway. Often you have a genuine choice. Li parolas tre laŭte - Li tre laŭte parolas.

Se nur mi havus pli da Spesmiloj! How many Esperantists would understand that to mean just mi and not aliaj? That I want to have more than others have?

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