Off topic: She beat up her daughter because she was drunk.
Thread poster: Jaspal Singh

Jaspal Singh
India
Local time: 01:45
English to Panjabi
+ ...
Sep 25

Who was drunk in this sentence, mother or daughter?

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:15
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Could be either Sep 26

Jaspal Singh wrote:
"She beat up her daughter because she was drunk."
Who was drunk in this sentence, mother or daughter?


It could be either. In the English language, you'd need more information. In "she threw a brick at the window, and it shattered" we can be fairly certain that the brick didn't shatter. But mothers and daughters can both do violent things to each other when sober or drunk.

By the way, how do you know that the first "she" is the daughter's mother? You're assuming that the first "she" and "her" refers to the same person, but it doesn't have to be so, in type of sentence in English. (-:


Jaspal Singh
Michele Fauble
Philippe Etienne
MollyRose
Morano El-Kholy
 

Sandra Cravero  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 17:15
Member (Jun 2019)
English to Spanish
Ambiguity: could be both Sep 26

You need to gather the answer from the context, sometimes.

In fact, when writing, it's recommended to avoid ambiguity. If you can ask the author of this text, you'd better do that.
I hope it helps.


Jaspal Singh
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
First I assumed the mother, but immediately began to wonder Sep 26

Just seeing the heading of your thread without the discussion certainly made me wonder.

My first thought was that the mother was drunk, and therefore out of control, so she beat up her daughter.
Then I wondered - it was equally possible that the daughter was drunk, and the mother was just angry.

Strictly, Samuel is right, and you cannot assume it was her own daughter. I think most people would, however. If it was someone else's daughter, I would write 'she beat up
... See more
Just seeing the heading of your thread without the discussion certainly made me wonder.

My first thought was that the mother was drunk, and therefore out of control, so she beat up her daughter.
Then I wondered - it was equally possible that the daughter was drunk, and the mother was just angry.

Strictly, Samuel is right, and you cannot assume it was her own daughter. I think most people would, however. If it was someone else's daughter, I would write 'she beat up the daughter...'
or rephrase it one way or another.
Possibly I would call her 'the girl' or 'the younger woman', if the mother was also present in the scene, and another woman was doing the beating. Or technically it might be her father…

Context, more context is needed!!!

In my source language, assuming it was written correctly, the reflexive pronoun would be used for the woman's own daughter, and a different possessive pronoun for a third person's daughter. Many speakers have trouble deciding which to use, so it would not be entirely reliable, but it helps.

The reflexive pronoun is gender neutral, i.e. the same for both genders, but the simple possessive is not
- as with English his and her...

Hun tævede sin datter = She beat her (own) daughter.
Han tævede sin datter = He beat his (own) daughter.

Hun tævede hendes datter = She beat another woman's daughter.
Hun tævede hans datter = She beat a/the man's daughter.

Happy translating!


[Edited at 2019-09-26 15:23 GMT]
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Jaspal Singh
 

Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:15
Polish to English
+ ...
the latter Sep 26

"She beat up her daughter because she was drunk." - In my understanding of the English language, both instances of "she" regard to the same person that is the mother.

If you write "She beat up her daughter because the latter was drunk." - This will indicate that it's the daughter who was drunk.

HTH

[Zmieniono 2019-09-26 14:30 GMT]


DZiW
Jaspal Singh
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:15
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
The daughter Sep 26

Just analyze the sentence:

Beat up - who is beating up? - the mother - what is she beating up? - the daughter - why? - because she was drunk.

Voilà!

[Edited at 2019-09-26 15:15 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
English is not that simple :-D Sep 26

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Just analyze the sentence:

Beat up - who is beating up? - the mother - what is she beating up? - the daughter - why? - because she was drunk.

What is the problem here?


Which of them was drunk?
Don´t accept everything you may read in grammar books - most speakers and writers of English have never read them!
English as she is spoke just ain´t like that!


MollyRose
Rachel Waddington
Daryo
Morano El-Kholy
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
German to English
+ ...
It's ambiguous Sep 27

If this were in a real translation situation, especially one where the law might become involved, you would want to ask the client for more information. Sometimes context might help. "Daughter was starting to booze heavily with her friends. Mother got fed up. She beat up her daughter .... " etc. would be context. But heck, they could both be drunk! You would want to write a footnote / alert the client in regard to the ambiguity.

In regard to grammar rules - last person mention
... See more
If this were in a real translation situation, especially one where the law might become involved, you would want to ask the client for more information. Sometimes context might help. "Daughter was starting to booze heavily with her friends. Mother got fed up. She beat up her daughter .... " etc. would be context. But heck, they could both be drunk! You would want to write a footnote / alert the client in regard to the ambiguity.

In regard to grammar rules - last person mentioned is the person being referred to - unfortunately people whose texts we translated are not necessarily sticklers of grammar, and are not always clear writers.
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Daryo
 

Paweł Hamerski
Poland
Local time: 22:15
English to Polish
+ ...
it does not matter who - I think I can translate it with the same degree of Sep 27

ambiguity into my language

Christine Andersen
 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:15
Serbian to English
+ ...
Read the whole paragraph / section / document? Sep 27

from just that one sentence alone you can't be sure.

Even trying to figure out what's more probable won't work.

But you could draw reasonable conclusions from what happened before, and especially from what happened after - any mention in the following text of who ended up in the hospital?



[Edited at 2019-09-27 14:10 GMT]


 


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She beat up her daughter because she was drunk.

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