Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Defend - the first translation offered in any Slovak-English dictionary for the verb "obhájiť" or "obhajovať". But of course the usual "two translations for each word" rule applies, because
"defend" can also be translated as "brániť" (sometimes even "chrániť"). The difference is that "obhájiť" means to defend something abstract, like your opinion, or someone's innocence in court, or
the ideas in a university degree dissertation or doctoral thesis, whereas "brániť" means rather to defend something physical, like a city or a castle - or the goal in ice-hockey or soccer. This is
in contrast to the champions' title, for which you say "obhájiť". The perfective form of the verb - "Košice obhájili titul" - means that they won it again, but "defend" in English is more like
"obhajovať", which is why I think it's clearer to say "Košice SUCCESSFULLY defended their title" by convincingly beating their great rivals SK Slovan Bratislava. Congratulations!
This week's topic is the contrasting of questions in English and Slovak. The first difference is that Slovak questions are formed with a single verb ("ideš domov?"), whereas probably 90 per cent of
English questions require two verbs, one small (pomocné) and one big (hlavné) - Are you going home? Only very simple English questions use one verb (Are you happy?), or questions about "Kto? Čo?",
like "Who broke the window?" or "What happened next?". The next difference is in word order, because personal pronouns (you, she, they) are necessary in English, and they switch positions with the
small verb (What are you doing? Did she say anything?). The third thing is that negatives are risky in English questions. The typical Slovak "Prosím Vás, neviete ...?" must be positive in English:
"Excuse me, do you know ...?", because "don't you" sounds like "ako to, že neviete?", which is rather aggressive.