10

These are some examples. Could you explain them, and mark the invalid ones?

  • Mi iras tra la strato.
  • Mi iras tra la straton.
  • Mi iras trans la strato.
  • Mi iras trans la straton.
13

I'd like to change the examples slightly to this, so not by strato, but by parko.

Mi iras tra la parko. (I am going through the park.)

Usually you don't use the direction marker -n here, but it's not completely forbidden. You could use it for example to emphasize that you are going straightly through the park and straightly aiming the exit at the other side in order to proceed. But if you follow the rule "No -n after tra" you are always ok.

Mi iras trans la parko. (I am walking around at the other side of the park)

The preposition trans without accusative of direction "-n" indicates a place. So no direction indicated.

Mi iras trans la parkon. (I am going to the other side of the park.)

Here we have the accusative of direction after trans, so we indicate a direction. We don't know however, if it's through the park, around the park or through an underground tunnel.

  • After double-checking the definition in PIV, I'm confident that you can't put an accusative after tra. Since tra doesn't describe a location (but rather motion), there can't be motion toward that location. So, I would say "but it's not completely forbidden" is false. – Tomaso Alexander Sep 26 '16 at 23:35
  • PMEG says it's allowed. – Johannes Mueller Sep 27 '16 at 6:05
  • Very interesting. It seems you are correct about PMEG. In fact, I see that PIV also says that it's possible. At least some editions of PIV contain a note saying that Zamenhof advised against it. (PMEG reference bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/rolmontriloj/rolvortetoj/…) – Tomaso Alexander Sep 27 '16 at 15:31
9

Trans means "on the other side of".

If you're on one side of the street and then you iras trans la straton - you will then be trans la strato (on the other side of the street.)

(Trans la strato describes a location on the other side. Adding the -n (trans la straton) means there is motion toward that location.

In contrast

Tra includes the idea of passing through the inside of something.

The phrase mi iras tra la strato implies that we're thinking of the street as a place of activity with buildings on either side, perhaps with kiosks and apple carts here and there, and not just as a surface. We're inside of this space and are traveling around in it.

Finally - tra la straton/stratojn is not a phrase that I recall ever spontaneously using, and initially I could not find any examples of it in use. Given the definition of tra in PIV as indicating motion (not location), the object would not normally take an -n. PMEG says it can take an -n but rarely needs to. PIV includes some examples of it with an -n, but at least the 1970 version of PIV includes a note saying that Zamenhof advised against it.

  • I don't agree with the edit that was made to this answer. Trans means "on the other side of". It does not mean "crossing to the other side of". Mia domo situas trans la strato means that it is located on the other side - not that it is located crossing to the other side. Do I just edit my answer back to the correct version? – Tomaso Alexander Sep 27 '16 at 15:37
  • After reading some meta posts, I followed the advice there and edited my answer. – Tomaso Alexander Sep 28 '16 at 14:03
6

Prepositions can be rather tricky. I understand you find these confusing since they look so similar. Their meaning though, is very different:

tra - through

trans - across

A teacher of mine used a very good example, where both "tra" and "trans" are suitable:

Mi iras tra la koridoro. (I am going through the corridor, from one end to another.)

Mi iras trans la koridoro. (I am crossing the corridor. Imagine opening a door, crossing the corridor, and then entering a door on the opposite wall of the first one).

I've seen trans la strato and trans la rivero. But it is not common to use "tra" with these. (unless you imagine a street as something one can be inside of, or is talking about swimming through a river) Instead there is laŭ la strato/rivero (laŭ - along), and en la strato/rivero.

Since some prepositions themselves imply direction one does not use the accusative n-ending with them. "Tra" is one of these. On the other hand, it is not clear whether or not trans implies direction. I've learned that it does, while PMEG says the opposite.

  • On the contrary, tra la strato(j) is very common. Off the top of my head, I recall that it was used in at least two Kajto songs. The phrase (if you count both plural and singular) gives 35 hits in the Tekstaro. – Tomaso Alexander Sep 26 '16 at 10:39
  • 1
    Tra la rivero is much less common, but also quite possible. From La Faraono: La remistoj de l’ ŝipo, en kiu Egipto naĝas tra la rivero de la eterneco, estas la dioj – Tomaso Alexander Sep 26 '16 at 10:43
  • I edited my answer slightly. I disagree with you regarding tra la stratoj being very common, but I was wrong when claiming it is not used at all. – Antonia Montaro Oct 1 '16 at 21:16

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