Tricky Words in this week's OVI
The tricky words this time are prepositions, I mean "in", "on", "between", and so on. Of course, using prepositions in Slovak must be more tricky than in English, because there must be the same
number (probably, more or less), but they can be combined with different cases to produce various meanings. For example "za" with genitive (za rána) is "during"; with accusative (za ruku) it's
"by", (za deň) "in", or (za mier) "for"; with instrumental (za mnou) "behind" or "after", but (za počítačom) is "at" - behind the computer there are lots of cables and cobwebs. If you introduce
movement versus location, you get the difference between (sadnúť si za počítač) and (sedieť za počítačom). So I think I've proved that Slovak prepositions are horribly tricky - the main thing (in
English as well) is to learn them in typical combinations with nouns (podstatné mená).
As a translator I have to deal with a lot of Slovak sentences that start with a preposition. In just two of this week's extracts there are three: Za projektom stoja členovia...; Na výstavbe ihriska
sa podieľalo... Na minulotýždňovom stretnutí... I say this is not typical in English. Of course it's possible (On my way home yesterday...), but it's not so common, and the combinations tend to
indicate simple place or time. What is more, and this is the real difference between Slovak and English sentences, in Slovak the preposition phrase is followed by the verb (what happened), whereas
in English the first thing should be the subject (On my way home yesterday I decided to buy...). For me the solution is not to start English sentences with a preposition. One exception: Formula One
commentators can be poetic, like when they say: "Around the final bend comes Alonso now..."