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скажи and говори

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by terredepomme, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    I think I get the distinction between perfect and imperfect aspects of a verb but what is the difference between a perfect and a imperfect imperative? Since an imperative is usually implied as the present action I don't see how it can have a perfect aspect.
    Is there any difference in nuance or can it be used interchangeably?
     
  2. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    Actually, this is poetic language of the XIX century.
    Не говори: так вянет младость (младость is an obsolete word) is okay. Don't pronounce: so youth fades.

    Не скажи: так вянет младость is not okay just because не скажи is a bit too colloquial.

    However, Скажи: так вянет младость is okay.

    Цветку скажи and цветку говори have the same meaning in this case.

    Note also that a poet juxtaposes twice-said не говори which underlines imperfect action and then once-said скажи which implies single action...
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  3. Ptak Senior Member

    Moskau
    Rußland
    "Не говори" is a poetic language??

    "Не скажи" is not colloquial, it's just that it has no meaning "don't say" in Russian. When we need to say "don't say" we say "не говори".
     
  4. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    In this case yes it is.

    It looks too colloquial only in the context Не скажи: так вянет младость.
    But Не скажи: надо менять шины is okay.
     
  5. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I think the difference between the two aspects reflects here the poet's attitude to the different ways of world perception pessimistic lamentation and optimistic sanity. A pessimist, looking at the withered rose, is mourning over the flower and his own youth (говорит, что так вянет молодость и проходит радость жизни). An optimist does exclaim: say goodbye to the dead flower, point at to the new flower (скажи, укажи).



    Не говори:
    Так вянет младость!
    Не говори:
    Вот жизни радость!
    Цветку скажи:
    Прости, жалею!
    И на лилею
    Нам укажи.
     
  6. 過客 Junior Member

    Русский
    Hello,
    No, nobody restricts an imperative to be applied to the present; when you use a perfective imperative, it is of course applied to the future, always (specifically, to a future action considered as a single event without an internal structure), because in Russian we always always consider present actions to have duration, that is, to be imperfective (which is quite logical, in my opinion).

    To the example: "цветку скажи" ("say to the flower") here means you advise a person to say that to the flower once, and you don't wish to go on to describe the internal structure of the action — what you're interested in is the fact of saying that should be done (of course, in the future, because it's stupid to advise to do anything in the past, and because we rather bother about internal structure of actions performed in the present).

    "Не говори" means you don't want the person to say that everytime, that's why the imperfective aspect. This is a common trick with negation; and I'd say, it often plays jokes with nouns as well, changing their scope (just to compare with, not wishing to go off-topic: "я видел черепаху в пруду" — "I have seen a tortoise in the pond"; "я не видел черепах в пруду" (please note the genitive, here plural) — "I have not seen any tortoises in the pond").

    Also, please note, the aspects are called "perfective" and "imperfective"; that are the terms you may want to search the Russian forum for in the hope to find out some more info, relevant to the question. :) (it seems to me, I did; I also added the word "imperative" to feed the searching machine with the three words).

    Best wishes :)

    PS: I agree with Maroseika. But then, the use of imperfective after negation often is not an option, but rather a grammatical requirement (for example here). The perfective aspect after negation in imperative sentences looks rather special (it is used, for example, for advices, as is described in one of early threads I have found).
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  7. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    не говори and не скажи may be found as set phrases in everyday speech:

    - Цены растут каждый день.
    - Не говори. (intonation goes down). It means I agree with you and I understand your concern.

    - Цены растут каждый день.
    - Не скажи. (intonation goes up). It means I disagree with you. I have different experience.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  8. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    говори may imply ability to talk, for instance говори!=do speak!
    скажи doesn't imply that. скажи! = tell me what you know; what's on your mind, what do you think about it?

    Negations:
    не говори! is a negative imperative from both скажи and говори
    не говори куда идти is the only correct wording.
    не скажи куда идти is not correct at all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  9. Ptak Senior Member

    Moskau
    Rußland
    What is poetic in that poem is words like "младость", the objects like rose and dawn, the rhymes, and so on. But "не говори" itself is not poetic at all!

    I never understand what you mean while saying about a sentence "is okay". My mind starts boiling! "Не скажи" and "не говори" have two different meanings in Russian, and the sentence "Не скажи: надо менять шины" might really "is okay", only your "is okay" is not informative at all here. You forgot to write that "не скажи" doesn't mean "don't say" in this sentence; it might mean, as you pointed out below, "I disagree with you. I have different experience", but not "don't say"! If you say "не скажи нет, скажи да", it is not "colloquial", it is just clumsy and illiterate! As well as Не скажи: так вянет младость is!

    In Russian "Don't say no, say yes" would be "Не говори нет, скажи да".
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  10. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    Show me any sentence in any poem with "не скажи" then.:)

    "Не скажи" is a particle and this particle is used in colloquial speech mostly.
    http://www.gramota.ru/spravka/punctum/58_480
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  11. Ptak Senior Member

    Moskau
    Rußland
    "Then"? Why "then"? :confused: And why should there be "не скажи" in that poem, to prove that "не говори" itself is not poetic?? :eek:

    Oh my God! Where did I write that it is not used in colloquial speech? I wrote that it has no meaning "don't say". And that "Не скажи: так вянет младость" instead of "Не говори: так вянет младость" is not "colloquial" but is just illiterate and can't be used (if only you don't want to change the whole meaning of the sentence and of the poem itself).

    There is no logic in your posts, grinski.
     
  12. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    It's pure bright and shining logic. :) Since не скажи is colloquial, which I have always stated (and not "don't say" as you wish to ascribe to me as saying), one cannot find it anywhere rather than in everyday speech. Poets would always use не говори instead and it was my original thought when I tackled the phrase.

    Moreover I can imagine some salon talk among Russian nobility of the past centuries saying to each other Не скажи: так вянет младость as well as Не говори: так вянет младость but only on the verge of correctness.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  13. Ptak Senior Member

    Moskau
    Rußland
    No, no, and no.

    One can't be used instead of another because they don't mean the same; they're not the same not only stylistically, but also semantically.

    P.S. Also, if the expression itself doesn't seem 'poetic' to you, it does not mean that it can't be used in a poem. It's the same as asserting that since the word навоз (dung) is not poetic, it can't be used by a poet. I can easily give you an example of a poem with this word. Just ask.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  14. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    I agree with poster of post #6 (unfortunately I cannot read your screan name since it appears as two squares on my screen). The Imperative is not limited to the Present Tense, and the Perfective aspect is not limited to any tense either. The Perfective Aspect has a totally different function in Russian than the Perfective Aspect in English. Some of the functions may overlap, but it has addtional functions as well.

    It is not such a good idea to study various aspects of verbs and grammatical structure from poetry, or lyrics samples. Many more things are allowed in poetry which are not allowed otherwise, from a grammatical point of view.
     
  15. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    All these posts are quite confusing but I think I kind of get it. The negative form, Не говори is generally more acceptable because the person is saying that right now and the poet wants that person to stop(hence speech time=reference time) and скажи is generally more suitable as the positive form because that person is not saying it yet(hence speech time<reference time). Am I right?
     
  16. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    I am not sure if the reasoning is right. It is not that simple in my opinion, and mostly based on habitual use. You can tell one: говори, go on, please talk. Say whatever you want to say. It has a different meaning and function then. This will be more like talk, and скажи is like tell me. Не говори is more like don't say that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  17. Ptak Senior Member

    Moskau
    Rußland
    I just want to make sure that you get it right so that you don't sound unnatural or funny in the future when speaking in Russian. Не говори is not just "more acceptable" than "не скажи"; it's the only form for saying "don't say" in Russian.
    Не скажи means more or less "I disagree with you".
     
  18. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    I see. говори would be "say whatever" because the action of saying is not limited to a definite thing or a definite time span. The definitive form скажи would be requesting to say a more definite thing, like an answer to a question etc. Am I right?
     
  19. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    In Russian говори is like: talk to me, say something, continue talking. Cкажи is tell me.
     
  20. 過客 Junior Member

    Русский
    Ah, not always. For example:
    - Говори, откуда взялась эта щука!
    ('Tell me now where this pike is from!')
    — this sentence is rather just more rude than "Скажи, откуда взялась эта щука?" (er... "I'd like to know, where this pike is from?"). The second may be more ironic, or something like that.

    As I said in #6, such matters were often discussed before. A lot of reading! (And not too much, I think).
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  21. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    Не скажи:
    Так вянет младость!
    Не скажи:
    Вот жизни радость!
    А цветку проговори:
    Ты прости, ведь я жалею!
    И на лилею
    Нам укажи.

    I rehashed the poem and it doesn't sound weird (for a poem). In ordinary speech it won't sound good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  22. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    What poem is it, by the way, the original one. I think it was a beautiful poem even with the strange verb forms. It was probably just an old poem. Of course, I like your version, Grinski, too, but I have a feeling that it is a famous poem to begin with, I just cannot think who wrote it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  23. Ptak Senior Member

    Moskau
    Rußland
    The verb forms in it are ordinary, not strange.

    It's Pushkin.
     
  24. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, you are right. The verbs are regular in this poem. It is a noun mladost that is obsolete and may sound strange in contemporary everyday speech.
     
  25. 過客 Junior Member

    Русский
    To me, the "rehashed" version does sound very weird. Especially for a poem.

    (Of course, not because the original author was Pushkin, and not because "corrections in the poem are impossible" (corrections in the poem are possible; for example, substituting the second "не говори" with "не повтори" doesn't really change anything); and in fact, I came to know who is the original author only now, before adding this elucidation.

    Rather, it is because: a) "не скажи" is just wrong grammatically in the "rehashed version" (assuming that it was intended to mean "don't [ever] say this"), or, otherwise, its meaning, whatever we'll take it is (either "Don't say this [once]" :)confused: usually we don't use the verb «сказать» for this purpose; it's rather "не проговорись как-нибудь, что видел меня здесь") or "I don't agree", at which Ptak pointed (and we usually use the wording «не скажи» in this very meaning)), does not fit the poem at all; b) because "А цветку проговори, «ведь я жалею»" sounds just stupid (I'm really sorry to tell this), there's an exact word for this kind of stupidity in Russian, "сюрно"*).

    * "сюрно" means something like "sweety" to me. I have also heard, though, it might mean "surrealistic". :eek:
    I think that the word "младость", by sounding Church Slavonic, in the XIX century sounded just as archaic as it sounds today. The normal form at that time would be "молодость" too, I think. Anyway, all of that is not a salon talk or anything in the kind, at all; it's poetry, where the ways of thought are somewhat different from "normal" talk, the ways are more condensed, general and metaphorical (and more straigt and clear, by the way — in good poems, of course), and also vocabulary may be different too. (That is, poetry is a good source for learning a language, if one would like to learn with pleasure, looking at interesting and good ways of making thought and feel :) ).
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  26. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    I absolutely agree with you. I knew it was a famous poem but I was not 100% sure if it was Pushkin and my search in the cyrillic does not work with browser. There is nothing really to correct in this poem. It is great the way it is, but it is not one of the best ways to learn grammar from poetry.
     
  27. grinski Senior Member

    Far East
    Russian
    I see some sense in my poem. But I won't elaborate on this since it is far from the theme of discussion. Grammatically sentenses are correct which is enough.
     

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