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In the following sentence:

Одна из вещей, которая делает Фенча немного сложнее, - это количество неправильных глаголов. Если вы изучаете такой язык, как испанский, правила довольно просты, но когда дело доходит до французского, им нравятся неправильные глаголы и исключения из правил так же, как и английскому языку. Неправильные глаголы - это определенно то, с чем люди сталкиваются, когда дело доходит до изучения французского языка.

Source: https://www.lingopressbooks.com/ru/french/how-hard-is-learning-french/

I think the meaning is "When it comes to French, it uses a lot of irregular verbs and exceptions from the rules, as much as in English.

But I don’t understand why английскому языку uses dative form. It does not even have к or по. So why is it in the dative form?

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  • The phrase sounds odd to me indeed. Also, "Фенча" is also very odd and makes me think that the whole text is machine-translated.
    – Petr
    Jan 21, 2023 at 6:38
  • Google translation is not perfect and can't be used as a textbook.
    – V.V.
    Jan 21, 2023 at 8:52
  • ...Especially if the English source itself has typos such as: One of the things that make Fench slightly more difficult.
    – mustaccio
    Jan 21, 2023 at 13:58
  • @V.V. Sorry I didn't even know it was from a translation. I got the article by googling in Russian.
    – Blaszard
    Jan 21, 2023 at 23:03
  • You are not to blame. The answer is very simple: нравится demands the dative in impersonal sentences нравится кому? Им и русскому языку (which sounds a bit unnatural because of the personification of the latter)
    – V.V.
    Jan 22, 2023 at 7:17

2 Answers 2

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This text is written by a person with a less than perfect command of Russian, and is rife with mistakes.

The literal meaning of английскому языку нравятся исключения is "English likes exceptions". This is indeed how you put "someone likes something" in Russian, and the dative would be justified here, had the subject been an animate noun.

However, it doesn't work for inanimate nouns, so this phrase doesn't make a lot of sense.

Apparently, it's supposed to mean something along the lines of "When you're learning Spanish, the rules are rather simple, but in French, as well as in English, they are more inclined to use irregular verbs and exceptions to the rules".

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The dative case can be used to emphasize the subject of perception, the one who experiences something.

  • "Мне весело/тепло/легко" = literally "to me [it's, it feels like] fun/warm/easy".

Compare:

  • "Я хочу мороженого" = "I want ice cream", with the connotation that I actively want that ice cream. I'm the source of that desire. I'm the actor (agent).
  • "Мне хочется мороженого" = "I want ice cream", with the connotation that I'm experiencing the desire to have ice cream. I'm not necessarily the source of that desire, I'm only feeling it. I'm the experiencer.

In your example, it's just an impersonal way to say "French likes irregular verbs as much as English does", with "French" and "English" assuming the role of experiencer rather than the role of active subject.


Edit:

Why does this sentence use dative form?

I can't say for sure. In my opinion it's not the most natural way to convey that idea (so does the whole text look somewhat broken). The verb "нравится" implies impresonation of English and French, which makes the whole sentence a bit childish.

Impersonal sentences can make the narration sound matter-of-factly, which fits well with the textbook style.

  • "Французскому языку, как и английскому, свойственно использование неправильных глаголов" - impersonal, dative, highly bookish.

Compare to:

  • "Во французском, как и в английском, много неправильных глаголов" - impersonal, colloquial and easy.

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