[Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian] Discussion Group

LanguageMongoose
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Re: [Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian] Discussion Group

Postby LanguageMongoose » 2020-03-21, 13:51

Hello

I have question, hoping there's soneone here who can answer.
I just recently started Colloquial Croatian and there is an example sentence that contains a construction that hasn't yet been explained (I also skipped ahead to check it it would be explained later, it appears not to be). The sentence reads:

Popravlja kravatu prije nego što uđe u ured.

I read that nego means "but" following a negative, and I know što means "what", but "first but what" doesn't make any sense to me, so I'm guessing it is a set construction here?

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Saim
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Re: [Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian] Discussion Group

Postby Saim » 2020-03-21, 14:34

Yes. Before nouns we have prije on its own and the noun is declined in the genitive, whereas before verbs it has to come in the expression prije nego što. The verb is then conjugated.

The same root gives us the noun ulazak (entrance, the act of entering), and here is a headline that has it after prije:

Kako da sredite finansije prije ulaska u 2020.
how that you.get.in.order finances before entrance.GEN in 2020
How to get your finances in order before entering into 2020.

Compare your sentence:

Popravlja kravatu prije nego što uđe u ured.
he.fixes tie before he.enters in office
He fixes his tie before going into the office.

This is fairly common in Croatian, a similar example that comes to mind is umesto + genitive noun and umesto da + conjugated verb.

Pogledajte kako dron šeta psa umesto vlasnika
look.at how drone walks dog instead.of owner.GEN
Look at how a drone walks a dog instead of its owner.

Umesto da pomogne građanima, on bi da se igra politike
Instead.of that he.helps citizens, he would that (reflexive) he.plays politics
Instead of helping his citizens he wants to play politics

Generally it's not typical for Croatian to allow prepositions before verbs without being accompanied by some conjunction, in the above cases nego što and da, although it does occur in some calques from Italian/German: nešto za piti (something to drink; literally "for to drink") and za poneti (takeaway; literally "for to take").

As for the literal meaning of nego and nego što, nego can also be used for comparisons, besides the meaning you mentioned:

Osećam se bolje nego prije.
I feel better than before.

Then we add što so it can be followed by a conjugated verb:

Osećao sam se bolje nego što sam očekivao.
I felt better than I expected.
Last edited by Saim on 2020-03-21, 16:46, edited 3 times in total.

LanguageMongoose
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Joined: 2020-03-02, 17:49

Re: [Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian] Discussion Group

Postby LanguageMongoose » 2020-03-21, 15:41

Thank you for your detailed response!

In light of what you say above, it seems more fitting to think of nego as meaning "than" in that case. I can kind of think of prije nego što as meaning something like "before ...-ing".

I'm curious, in this case would "Popravlja kravatu prije ulaska u ured" work as well (and would it have more or less the same meaning as my original sentence)?

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Saim
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Re: [Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian] Discussion Group

Postby Saim » 2020-03-23, 11:41

LanguageMongoose wrote:Thank you for your detailed response!

In light of what you say above, it seems more fitting to think of nego as meaning "than" in that case. I can kind of think of prije nego što as meaning something like "before ...-ing".

I'm curious, in this case would "Popravlja kravatu prije ulaska u ured" work as well (and would it have more or less the same meaning as my original sentence)?


You're welcome! I was a bit worried it might be too much so I'm glad it helped.

As for the sentence popravlja kravatu prije ulaska u ured, yes, my sense is that that's fine and that they're more or less interchangeable. I think the form with the noun might be a bit more common in newspaper articles and public announcements, but it's not especially formal.


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