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Below are two uses of that in the sense of настолько. In the first example, it just means not very, but in the second one, it means (emphatically) to the extent you’re implying(!). How is this distinction made in Russian, if at all. Would it involve the use of particles or intonation or both?


— Do you think your neighbors across the street would be interested in buying insurance from me? Should I approach them?
— I don’t know them that well.

VERSUS

— Do you know your new neighbors across the street yet?
— Kind of... we met them last week.
— Do you think they’d be willing to take your dogs for the weekend so you can come camping with us?
— I don’t know them that well!

https://voca.ro/1j4X4Nt4F0v7

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    I might be missing something, but doesn't "that well" in both your examples mean "well enough to"? In the first case, "well enough to solicit business", in the second one "well enough to ask to watch the dogs"?
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 15:44
  • @Quassnoi: No, in the first one it means "well" in general. In other words, he couldn't possibly know whether they'd be interested in buying insurance because he just doesn't really know them; and in the second, he doesn't know them well enough to ask them to watch the dogs, as the speaker's suggesting. By stressing "that," he's referring directly to the suggestion that he ask them to watch the dogs.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 18:34
  • Sorry, I still don't get the distinction... Each example seems to ask a question with a very specific goal: aproaching them about insurance / asking them to take the dogs. So how come one of them is about "knowing them in general", while another is about "knowing them enough for that particular goal"? What makes the first question generic rather than specific?
    – Igor G
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 16:47
  • What makes the first one generic is the neutral intonation. In the second example, THAT is highly stressed, which is a device we use when we attribute THAT (in the sense of настолько) to something in particular. For instance, if you're walking through a park and see a very heavy man, you can point and ask your friend, "I'm not THAT fat, am I?" If you said this in a neutral tone, if would just mean "not very fat in general" and would't imply a referent. The same thing here: stressed THAT has a referent: "well enough to ask them to watch my dogs". Listen to my recording and you'll hear it.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 16:51

3 Answers 3

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I believe it should be like this: the emphasis imparted by the particle же, and its position in the sentence (final), which adds a logical stress.

Do you think your neighbors across the street would be interested in buying insurance from me? Should I approach them? — I don’t know them that well.

— Как ты думаешь, твои соседи напротив не купят у меня страховку? Не подкатиться ли мне к ним? — (Не подскажу.) Я не настолько хорошо с ними знаком.

— Do you know your new neighbors across the street yet? — Kind of... we met them last week. — Do you think they’d be willing to take your dogs for the weekend so you can come camping with us? — I don’t know them that well!

— Ты уже познакомился с соседями напротив? — Типа того... познакомились на прошлой неделе. — А они не присмотрят за твоими собаками в выходные? А ты бы с нами махнул на природу? — Мы, конечно, знакомы, но не настолько же!

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  • And there’s my answer! Thank you so much – that’s exactly what I was looking for.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 11:59
  • You wouldn't be able to record that for me, would you? On vocaroo.com?
    – CocoPop
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 16:58
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    I tried to translate the dialogues, but I AM sorry all technical things are beyond my abilities. In Russian I call it "технический дебилизм".( Joking.)
    – V.V.
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 17:42
  • No problem))) Thank you for your wonderful answer!
    – CocoPop
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 17:42
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You can always just say what you mean explicitly:

  1. Я их не очень хорошо знаю.
  2. Я их не так хорошо знаю, как ты думаешь!

Besides the emphasis, a more substantial difference between the two examples lies in different meanings of to know:

  1. To be able to predict [their] behaviour
  2. To be be friends with [them] / be close to [them]

These slightly more idiomatic versions make the distinction more clear:

  1. Я с ними мало общаюсь.
  2. Я с ними еще не настолько близок! (...чтобы просить о помощи)
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    The distinction between the meanings of "know" is a very good point
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 20:06
  • That’s a good point in the case of KNOW, but it doesn’t really answer my question. What if the conversation were the following: — I know you like your beer, so I ordered you a pitcher. — I don’t like it THAT much! (=enough to drink a whole pitcher)
    – CocoPop
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 16:55
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I'm not sure if the meanings of "that" in your examples are that different.

Either way, "not very well" would be не так хорошо; не так уж хорошо; не так чтобы очень хорошо:

  • ― Знаком, да, ― подтвердил Томас. ― Не так чтобы очень. Я читал справку о нем.

  • С современной хореографией на берегах Невы зрители знакомы не так уж хорошо.

"Not well enough to", with a dependent clause, would be не так хорошо, чтобы; не настолько хорошо, чтобы. Note how it differs from не так чтобы хорошо, which can't have a dependent clause.

  • Я не могу переписать их самостоятельно ― мелкий почерк, скоропись, по-французски. Я не настолько хорошо знаю язык.

  • Хиротаро этого фильма не знал и вообще не настолько хорошо владел русским, чтобы уловить насмешку.

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  • The examples are quite different. I don't know if you listened to my recording. In the first one, it's a general "not very well"; in the second one, it's "not well enough for what YOU'RE(!) suggesting (... that I ask them to watch my dogs)
    – CocoPop
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 18:30

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