more on se and si

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by scrimshaw, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    OK, I will add this to my comments above.

    I think there are some specifically reflexive verbs in english but they are rare.
    perjure oneself.....(tell a lie, most commonly referred to in a court room)
    Someone cannot perjure...this verb does not take an object, or indirect needs the oneself to be complete.

    He perjured himself in the courtroom yesterday.
    I hope he doesn't perjure himself tomorrow in fron of thee judge.

    But in most cases, as in the 'I am eating' example.....the reflexive quality is just taken from context.
  2. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    "Perjure" doesn't quite work either. You can still perjure your promise/oath/etc, and in this instance "perjure" does take an object and is transitive.

    Perhaps the verb "appear" fits this description.
  3. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Are you sure Sova?
    I have never heard perjure used alone.

    Your example doesn't sound true.

    I perjured my promise. If someone said that to me, I would not know what they meant.

    But then I could be wrong.
  4. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    That does sound very strange. But if someone used it, I would think that they meant that when they actually made the promise, they had no intention of following through, thus lying when making the statement.

    I would not take it as they made the promise with good intentions failed to follow through.

    Perhaps I'm wrong but to me, the word, “perjure” means to intentionally lie. (but that's not what we are discussing here, sorry to get off topic.)
  5. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    From Oxford English Dictionary. I agree, it's not the most common usage of the word perjure, but here is the entry, plus one of the examples:

    perjure trans. To break (an oath, vow, promise, etc.).
    2000 Duke Law Jrnl. 49 1126 Refusing to make a promise by which we cannot abide is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it is far more honorable than swearing an oath, only later to perjure it.

    OED also gives

    perjure trans. To cause to commit perjury; to make guilty of perjury.
    1999 Hemingway Rev. 18 93 A certain testimony that, when given by the novelist, in effect perjured him

    By the way, the more common usage of "perjuring oneself" is described by OED as transitive, reflexive.
  6. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Thanks sova
    I stand corrected.

    In fact, it is far more honorable than swearing an oath, only later to perjure it.
    Didn't know it could be used like that.
    I am constantly learning things here. Now even about english grammar. :lol:

    By the way, the more common usage of "perjuring oneself" is described by OED as transitive, reflexive.

    Transitive, reflexive.....wish I had done better in my grammar classes now.
  7. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    I know exactly what you mean!

    The "reflexive" qualifier was parenthetical, i.e. "trans. (refl.)," so perhaps in English a reflexive verb is considered transitive (or perhaps only specific to this instance--not sure).
  8. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    I am eating st. - Jím něco (transitive)
    I am eating - does not mean "najím se". but only "jím" (without any object, only as a statement that I am engaged in the action of eating), there is no reflexive aspect

    The problem is, that the Czech reflexive verb has "se" (or "si") as a grammatical expression of a direct object (or indirect in case of "si"), but there is NO REAL semantic object

    procházet něco - go through something
    procházet se - to have a walk
    "procházet se" is reflexive because the meaning is completely different... it is not conceived as having an object... it is not conceived as "to go throuh oneself", simply an action of having a walk... well, it is kind of more complicated question but let us simplify it by sayng that because I see no worth in speculating deeper.
    There are more verbs:
    smrkat - to blow one's nose
    (e.g.: smrkám - I am blowing my nose)
    vysmrkat něco - to blow something out of one's nose
    (e.g.: vysmrkal jsem krev - +/-I blew blood out of my nose)
    vysmrkat se - to complete the action of blowing one's nose
    (vysmrkal jsem se - I completed blowing my nose)

    There is no relation between "vysmrkat" and "vysmrkat se"... the "se" is not really an object of "blowing" it does not mean "I blew myself out of my nose". The "se" is there only as an element of distiction from the other verb. The good example is the simple "smrkat". It is possile "smrkat něco" (smrkat krev) but it is not used, perhaps at all. So the verb does not need it's own "se", it is simple "smrkat".
  9. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Thanks eleshar
    Any hints about how to clear up this reflexive, and completed action, concept in my mind are always welcome.
    Those are nice examples.

    Budu se je snažit použit ve větách.
    To možná nebude hezká představa. :lol:

    Vysmrkal jsem se.
    Nenávídím když jsem nachlazen, pořád smrkám.
    Šel jsem na procházku, ale musel jsem si pořád zastavit, abych se mohl vysmrkat.(maybe that should be ongoing)
    Ráno jsem se vysmrkal krev, ale lekář mi řekl, že se nemusím z toho bát. Byla to jen zlomitá kapilára.

    And I see your point. The se that is used to signify completed action, has nothing to do with the se used for denoting reflexive quality.
  10. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member



    Er... no.
    "Se" does not have ANY meaning but the distinction from the transitive "vysmrkat" (which is also kinda "to complete the action of..."). The completed action is the matter of verbal aspect which is expressed by the prefix vy- and does not have anything to do with pronouns, transitivity or reflexivity.
  11. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    On more example: "smrklo se" 8) 8)
  12. DanielZ

    DanielZ Well-Known Member


    I am not sure if the below ever got answered.

    In English reflexive is used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself as the object of a verb or preposition when he or she is the subject of the clause :

    I hurt myself.
    I muttered to myself.


  13. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Not good example, I think... but it leads me to something I did not mentioned:

    Almost every Czech verb can be rendered reflexive (in the propre sens where the pronoun "se" does not refer to an object of the verb).
    The meaning of this refle-something-isation (reflexivisation? reflecticisation? reflexifiction? reflecticisification?:))) is nothing but another form of passive voice.
    Passive voice per se is not so often used in Czech, especially in colloquial Czech, it sounds too bureaucratic and cumbersome. Instead, a reflexive construction is used, mostly in impersonal constructions (and it is used even in cases when the original verb is not transitive and cannot be rendered passive normally).

    Hranolky se nejí, protože nejsou dobré (Hranolky nejsou jedeny, protože...) - Chips are not eaten because they are not good (well... not very good example)
    Ví se, že... (Je věděno, že...) - It is known that...
    Ví se o něm, že je to pěknej parchant (Je o něm věděno, že...) - He is known to be bloody bastard
    Zabíjejí se huguenoti! (Hugenoti jsou zabíjeni) - The Huguenots are being killed!

    Those are fairly transitive verbs but the "se" is not an expression of the object. Thus, there can be a slight ambiguity for someone not accustomed to this because "Zabíjejí se hugueoti" could grammatically mean both "The Huguenots are being killed/They are killing the Huguenots" (the reflexive construction) and "The Huguenots are killing themselves" (the transitive costruction).

    But there are verbs that are not transtive and can be rendered reflexive (reflecticisificated :twisted: )
    Jde se do kostela - The people are going to church/We are going to church/Let us go to the church...
    Tady se často skáče z mostu - The people often jump from the bridge there.
    (those verbs can be morphologicaly rendered passive... one can say "je skákáno" but it is ungrammatical; the verb "jít" is sometimes used in "passive" in very peculiar case as "být odejit" in the sense of "to be made redundant/to be sacked/..." but still it is ungrammatical and mostly cumbersome)
  14. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Of course not good, it is from different verb
    "smrákat se", "smrknout se" (darken)
    similarly "soumrak" (darkfall), etc.
    I have added it just for fun 8)
  15. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Never heard of it:))) I know "smrákat se" but not "smrknout se", I would rather use "smráknout se" (I do not think one can so easily omit the main stem vowel...), or even rather "setmít se" :shock:
  16. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    Have a look in SSJČ (Slovník spisovného jazyka českého): "smráknout se" is "rarely used" variant of "smrknouti se".
  17. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    I have the same feeling, esp. in this case because for me “mrk” and “mrak” are roots of two different word families.
    I prefer “setmět se”.
  18. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    I would prefer "sešeřilo se"

    Už se smrklo/sešeřilo, ale ještě nebyla úplná tma.
  19. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Correct Czech spelling is zešeřilo se (status or condition change calls for the prefix z- or ze-).
  20. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    You are right, possible is also "zšeřilo se" as you say.

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