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Comment from: Joke [Visitor]
Thanks. These posts explained a lot.
01/05/11 @ 02:17
Comment from: Arseny [Visitor]
ли must always be the second item in its clause - it's absolutely wrong! ли stands AFTER FIRST STRESSED WORD, e.g.
Должен ли я - 2nd position
Не должен ли я - 3rd position
А не должен ли я - 4th position
Ну а не должен ли я - 5th position etc.
Ли can be on any position (from 2nd to last) but always after first stressed word in clause (there are some exceptions to this).
There is interesting lecture about particles in russian

Don responds:


Thanks much for the link. The lecture was interesting, and I was unaware of that website, which I hope to explore in the future.

You took issue with my contention that ли is always the second item in its clause. Please bear in mind that the target audience of this blog is first- and second-year students of the Russian language in English-speaking countries, particularly in the US. For such students my rule is a good starting place. When teaching beginning language courses, a good teacher makes gross generalities so that the student can begin to create and understand the target language at a basic level. As time goes on more complex and accurate rules can be given, and, hopefully, eventually the student will begin to develop instincts for the language that no classroom rule really has ever properly explained. If one gives too complicated a rule too soon, the student experiences frustration.

My rule stated that ли is always the second item in its clause, not the second word. By item I meant to imply that we do not necessarily count words. Before ли a verb or noun or adjective can appear, or a negated verb/noun/adjective, or a prepositional phrase, or a negated prepositional phrase, or quite a few other things. If in the second year a student can understand those aspects, then he will have no problem when he encounters more complex items before ли in spoken or written Russian.

Wishing you the best, Don.
01/05/11 @ 02:44

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