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I understand that in the expression “Мне везёт”, it is not the transitive verb “везти́” (to carry by transportation - unidirectional) that is used but it is the intransitive verb “везти́”, meaning to succeed, which can only be conjugated in the third person singular (neuter).

  1. But what was the implicit historical subject of such a construction?

  2. And what would be its literal translation: could it be translated by “it is transported to me” or it has historically and etymologically nothing to do with the transitive verb to transport?

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  • Impersonal sentences are quite an old feature of Russian language and there is no agreement among the specialists if there ever was an explicit subject (like "it" in English) in those sentences.
    – Alexander
    May 9 at 19:16

4 Answers 4

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"Везти" with the meaning of "bringing luck" comes from the noun "везение", and it probably isn't connected etymologically to its homonym "везти" = to carry. I think it's just a coincidence that they're identical.

There's a hypothesis that it came from French ("avoir de la veine" = to be lucky). Read here: https://vk.com/@algoritmy_vezeniya-otkuda-k-nam-prishlo-vezenie

Another speculation is that it's connected to the verb "вязать" (to weave), and in that case it might refer to the Slavic mythology and Mokosh goddess, who was a "weaver of fate". Full explanation here: https://rus.stackexchange.com/questions/19779

My personal hypothesis is that it comes from the stem "ведать" (to know), and more specifically its derivative "ведьма" (witch). The reason I think this, is that "luck" implies good things that happen to you by chance (not because you deserve them), and it wouldn't surprise me that it could be seen as a contract with the devil or black magic.

And another version, which sounds a bit crazy even to me, deals with the fact that "везение" sounds a lot like "Вельзевул" (Beelzebub). Again, it's all about the devil's schemes, haha.

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The implicit subject is "it" as in English "It's late", "It's cold". The literal translation is "It's lucky to me". But you can't put Russian это in this sentence because it would mean "this is lucky to me".

If you insist that some Russian pronoun be inserted here, the most fitting would be "оно", as in here "Повезло-то оно, повезло (...)", or here "(...) вот оно, повезло (...)"

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Везти́. Общеслав. индоевроп. характера (др.-инд. váhati «везет» / «идет», лат. veho «везу» и т. д.).

https://lexicography.online/etymology/%D0%B2/%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%B7%D1%82%D0%B8

If we accept that the ancient synomyn is - «идет», then it means that something comes to you without any effort, just "for free".

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The phrase "Мне везёт" can be reconstructed as "Something, such as fate, brings me luck" (compare with other constructions without a specific subject, such as "It's late").
However, the meaning of the word везти, associated with luck, is fixed in the language and in no way relates to the etymological meaning of carrying something.

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