The Translation of the Russian Parenthetical Clause čto ni govori into Dutch


  • Olga Novitskaja Lessius University College/ K.U. Leuven University
  • Karen Van de Cruys Lessius University College/ K.U. Leuven University



вводное словосочетание, синтаксический фразеологизм, русский язык, нидерландский язык, перевод


In this paper we discuss the translation of a particular Russian parenthetical clause, namely čto ni govori, lit. you may say what you will. This parenthetical formally corresponds to the Russian concessive conditional construction, which prototypically consists of an interrogative pronoun and the particle ‘ni’, but it is used as a parenthetical and has lost its concessive meaning. Using a parenthetical, a speaker adds emotion and expressiveness to the meaning of the utterance. The translation of čto ni govori in Dutch is problematic, since its concessive conditional counterpart in Dutch zeg wat je wil you may say what you will exists, but it does not add the same emotion and expression as it does in Russian. Both languages have different mechanisms to render these subtile subjective meaning components. Since dictionaries do not provide us with the necessary information, we turn to translation practice to gain insight in the translation problem. Examples from the practice of translation prove to be a useful didactic tool when addressing the problem of the translation of parenthetical clauses.

The paper bridges consideration of domains of linguistics.