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Comment from: Andrey [Visitor] · http://chinafilm.tv/
This post is correct but I'd like to make a remark:

— Извините, вы не Таня?
— Нет, я не Таня.

— Извините, вы не Таня?
— Да, я не Таня.

In both cases the speaker does not sound much like making an assumption so the answer is not very appropriate and there's a chance that you won't be understood correctly. But if you make this look more like supposition, it will turn out just fine. Consider these:

— Извините, вы, наверное, Таня?
— Нет, я не Таня.

— Извините, вы, наверное, не Таня?
— Нет, я не Таня.

— Извините, вы, наверное, не Таня?
— Да, я не Таня.
05/18/10 @ 01:04
Comment from: Edgar [Visitor]
Excellent post, Don. I have made that kind of error many times in the past. Sort of reminds me of the difficulties that non-native speakers have in English with the definite versus indefinite article-which ironically we consider so simple that it is often chapter I in language texts. (should be chapter 99!)
I'd appreciate a reinforcement or follow-up on this lesson. Thanks.
05/18/10 @ 17:03
Comment from: Yegorka [Visitor]
That's right. Notice that you have to always clearly define the answer in Russian. You shouldn't translate answers to such polite questions with one word. It leads to confusion. The one who is asking will have to ask again: “Да-нет или да-да?”. And despite of fact there are just two options given in this question, responded will have to answer clearly this time.

That may be one of many reasons why Russian soldiery don't ask polite questions. Subordinates can only answer “Так точно!” (Yes, sir!) or “Никак нет!” (No, sir!). If the question is polite then the answer won't be clear.

At drilling our sergeant played jokes with this: “Не устали?”. We could say “Так точно” or “Никак нет” but he could treat both options as “Не устали”.
05/18/10 @ 23:20
Comment from: dimmik [Visitor] Email
{From native russian speaker point of view :) }
— Извините, вы не Таня?
— Да, я не Таня.

This dialogue sounds odd to me. At least in Moscow region (where I live) the only "correct" negative (she is not Tanya) answer would be
- Нет, я не Таня
And positive (she is Tanya)
- Да, я Таня.

Answer "Да, я не Таня" may be appropriate for question like "Я правильно понял, что вы не Таня?"

And "Нет, я Таня" would be good answer for smth like "Извините, вы не Лена?"

Don responds: I actually ran dialog #1 by an educated native speaker of Russian before posting it to the blog. By no coincidence, her name is Tanya. She confirms that for her the dialog is entirely possible. Certainly this approach to answering questions is part of the older norm for Russian; for instance, consider this page from a Soviet-era textbook.

That said, I do not doubt that the dialog is odd for you. Native speakers sometimes disagree on what sounds best/odd/not odd in their language.
05/21/10 @ 02:30
Comment from: Петро [Visitor]
Вам скорее ответят:
- Да нет, я Таня.
- Да нет, я не Таня.

11/15/12 @ 01:55

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