Russian 'phrasal' verbs are called...?

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by McBabe, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. McBabe Senior Member

    Paris
    English- British
    Hi everyone,

    I am at a slight loss as to what you would call what I would call phrasal verbs in Russian.

    For example, (подумать), передумать or обдумать. Whilst 'подумать' is the perfective of 'думать', the others are not just perfectives of 'думать' (I believe!) but have other meanings which correspond to different English translations, in a similar fashion to English phrasal verbs or German separable verbs.

    However, what are they called? Is calling them phrasal verbs linguistically acceptable?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    I am not sure what you are talking about is phrasal verbs.

    Phrasal verbs are combination of a verb and a prep or a verb and an adverb, which gives it a stable and new meaning.

    In Russian, I think, it is different.
     
  3. Saluton Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    I don't think there is a term for verbs like those, other than "глаголы с приставками". And no, you shouldn't call them phrasal verbs.
     
  4. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    Well, these Russian verbs have at least one important feature of the phrasal verbs: their sense cannot be deduced from the sense of the "stem" verb and sense of the prefix. At least not always.
    However category of perfectness doesn't distinguish between prefix nuances: roughly speaking, action is either complete or incomplete.
    Therefore all the verbs you enumerated are perfective, but each one has its own imperfective "pair":
    подумать - думать
    обдумать - обдумывать
    передумать - передумывать

    By the way some verbs don't have their perfective pair (such as лежать, быть, принадлежать) or imperfective pair (such as крикнуть, промолчать, развеселиться).
     
  5. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    Well, Russian name for phrasal verbs does exist, and it is "фразовые глаголы".

    However, it is mostly used to describe this phenomenon in languages other than Russian.
     
  6. Saluton Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    I meant the verbs that the OP was asking about, not phrasal verbs. And the term фразовые глаголы sounds ridiculous to me, by the way, even though it may exist. Фразовый means относящийся к фразе, or should mean, at least. A verb plus a preposition is not a фраза.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  7. Sobakus Senior Member

    Well, the logic of both English and Russian phenomena is similar, but I don't think there's any special name for the Russian one. Adding prefixes/prepositions(which were probably the same and don't differ that much even today) to verbs is a common Indo-European feature, it has been lost in English and substituted with basically the same model, only the prepositions now come after the verbs.
     
  8. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    Ridiculous it may be, it still exists.

    http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Фразовый_глагол

    It also seems to be the accepted way of calling the English phrasal verbs when referring to them in Russian in textbooks and teaching material.

    PS. BTW, many a terminology specific word sounds ridiculous, whether linguistic or from other fields. Especially when translated. I guess when having to come up with new and descriptive names for scientific phenomena, learned men don't care much for aesthetics and audial pleasantries.
     
  9. McBabe Senior Member

    Paris
    English- British
    I was fearing this as I had not encountered a term in my trusty comprehensive Russian grammar :(

    It is not a disaster if there is not a term, it is just that I was just explaining to an anglophone friend why Russian is difficult (for us), and so I started to list difficulties, such as cases, aspects etc aaaaand...'phrasal verbs'.

    As Maroseika said: "...these Russian verbs have at least one important feature of the phrasal verbs: their sense cannot be deduced from the sense of the "stem" verb and sense of the prefix. At least not always."

    This is the case largely for English phrasal verbs and German separable verbs (trennbare Verben). As these verbs in all three languages work on the same principle, I was hoping there would be a way of referring to them in Russian...nothing comes to mind?

    I do apologise for writing in English but my Russian is not good enough for this kind of discussion, and my attempt would surely just hurt your eyes :)
     
  10. Natalisha Senior Member

    Russian
    There are no phrasal verbs in Russian, but you can use the term "словообразующие приставки" referring to prefixes.
     
  11. yoysl Junior Member

    Vilnius
    English - US
    Phrasal verbs are called "phrasal" because they are separable; i.e., they operate on the phrase level, not because the preposition+verb combination constitutes a phrase by itself. E.g. in English you can say "Turn off the light in the bathroom" or "Turn the light in the bathroom off." To turn off is still one verb, but you can put other phrases in between "turn" and "off" -- you can't always do this with phrasal verbs, but usually you can.

    Russian "prefixed verbs" (NB. in English many people refer to verbs with prefixes in Slavic as "prefixed verbs" -- I think this answers your original question) do not have this quality of separability; they do not operate on the phrase level. Either way, you know in German it is not always easy to determine what a new verb means based on knowing the root verb and its adverbial affix ... it is easier to think of the new verb as a separate lexical item. The same is true in Russian; while it is immensely useful to know the meanings of the roots (more useful even than in English) and the typical forms of imperfective and perfective pairs, it does not always help you figure out the meaning or the aspect (perf./imp.) of the verb in question. Like with most features of language learning, things like this just take time to get the hang of.
     
  12. McBabe Senior Member

    Paris
    English- British
    Completely :) Prefixed verbs it is!

    Thank you all for your help.
     
  13. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    кричать, молчать, веселиться?

    Perfective and imperfective verbs in Slavic languages seldom form a pair of the same meaning. (See the thread Perfective of помнить? ).
    This is difficult to understand by non Slavs, and even the native speakers often do not really can explain how the things work, even if they use the verbs intuitively correct.
     
  14. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I guess it depends on what exactly "pair" means.
     
  15. yoysl Junior Member

    Vilnius
    English - US
    All true. Also, быть, strictly speaking, is usually perfective in Russian, in the sense of буду, будешь, и т. д. It is imperfective in the есть (and суть) sense, which has all but ceased to be used in modern Russian (but is still used in other Slavic languages, such as Polish jestem, jesteś, etc).

    Even if a perfective verb appears to be an imperfective verb plus a prefix, this does not necessarily mean that these are strictly aspectual pairs. For example, писать is imperfective. Its perfective counterparts are написать (to finish what you were writing) and пописать (to write for the time you intended to write for, even though you did not finish the entire project). However, списать is not the perfective of писать, even though it looks like it should be. Cписать means 'to copy' and is the perfective of списывать. It is not easy to distinguish these pairs, especially because some verbs can be the perfective of multiple imperfectives and vice versa. For example, пописать can also be the perfective of пописывать.

    Prefixes can do two things in Russian. First, they can simply perfectivize the verb; i.e., they mark the completion the action. Second, they can add additional semantic meaning to the word (which is analogous to what adverbs and prepositions do in phrasal verbs in Germanic languages). E.g., the на- in написать simply perfectivizes писать. The с- in списать gives the verb an additional meaning (in particular, 'from' -- 'to write from' in a sense means 'to copy'). It is not easy to tell when a prefix will perfectivize and when it will change the meaning. In general, на- and по- are perfectivizing prefixes and others have more semantic meaning, however this is certainly not always the case.

    The issue is really that perfectives imply something about the completion of an action, while imperfectives do not imply anything, per se. Because of this, the semantics of the verb have to change somewhat when the perfective is formed.
     
  16. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    No, it is imperfective.
    Perfective couple for "быть" is "стать".
     
  17. yoysl Junior Member

    Vilnius
    English - US
    Стать? Maybe figuratively. Strictly speaking стать is the perfective of становиться.

    Historically the infinitive быть has two conjugations. First, it has the imperfective (есмь, еси, есть, ...), and second the perfective (буду, будешь, будет, ...). In modern Russian the copula is suppressed in declarative sentences; e.g., you would never say "Я есмь студентом." The third person singular does exist in certain set constructions (e.g., "у меня есть") and the third person plural ("суть") is used sometimes in academic writing. Compare this to Polish, where the imperfective of być IS used: "Jestem studentem." The perfective conjugation is still used in Russian: Буду студентом, just like Polish będę studentem. However, in Polish I think these are just called "present" and "future," not imperfective and perfective, so maybe calling it perfective or imperfective is irrelevant here.
     
  18. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    I am not sure where or from whom you are getting your information from, but "буду", as well as "Быть" and all its conjugations of 1st-3rd persons are imperfective.

    Here's a good authority for you, the Ozhegov dict. entry.

    БЫТЬ - наст. нет (кроме 3 л. ед. ч. есть и устар. и книжн. 3 л. мн. ч. суть); был, была, было (не был, не была, не было, не были); буду, будешь; будь; бывший; будучи; несов.
     
  19. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    What do you mean talking about 2 senses? What's the difference between быть in он будет спать and in он будет студентом? In both cases быть means his state in the future, doesn't it?

    Быть is so called non-correlative imperfective nonlimited verb (несоотносительный непредельный глагол), i.e. "absolutely imprefective verb". Such verbs can't and don't have their perfective couples. Action that such verbs express cannot have any critical point where the action would be exhausted, such as: быть, доводиться (кем), стоить, боготворить, владеть and many others.
    Details here: http://www.rusgram.narod.ru/1408-1436.html
     
  20. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    My main point is - it is imperfective, not perfective.
    (быть - стать, you are right, is not really a couple).
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  21. McBabe Senior Member

    Paris
    English- British
    Ahhh the delightful world of aspectual pairs!

    When you read a lot about it, it is very depressing (I imagine I will never master this), but at least what you have all said is interestingly depressing! :)
     
  22. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    Happy New Depression!
     
  23. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Ceterum censeo ...
    I keep repeating: aspectual pairs in Slavic languages is a misconception, created by teachers trying to simplify the teaching of grammar. Only very few verbs can be arranged in pairs with the same meaning.
    Actually there exist:
    perfective only verbs
    imperfective only verbs
    aspect neutral verbs
    "one impefective and many perfective verbs" arrays
    arrays consisting of many imperfective and many perfective verbs,
    subaspectual verbs: iterative (repetitive), habitual (not in all Slavic languages).
    The only way for an English speaker to learn them is to forget about aspectual pairs and remember that the difference in meaning between perfective and imperfective verbs is a norm rather than an exception, and learn each of them as an individual lexical item, using a different word or expression to translate them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  24. McBabe Senior Member

    Paris
    English- British
    Again interesting, but not really helping the depression!!!
     
  25. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Why it cannot? I agree that they don't have perfective counterparts (maybe because Russians didn't need them in conversion), but I do not agree that they are logically impossible. The state of being something, like any other state or action, can be seen as a point: «Мячик полетел вверх, <non-existent verb; бынул?> на самой верхней точке и стал падать», and so it can be expressed with a perfective verb. The only problem is that such verb does not exist in Russian. Звездёнок разгорелся, бынул звездою и погас
     
  26. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Such verbs (непредельные глаголы) can occasionally form perfective derivatives denoting a fast action, which in they turn may form secondary imperfectives with that interrupted meaning: побыл/побывал in your examples.

    Also, the aspectual pairs is one of the things that in manuals look more grammaticalized than they actually are. The manuals represent this distinction as a mature grammatical category, like gender, case, or number, whereas in reality it is still in the process of formation: there are IE languages where this distinction was at the initial stages (Latin, Gothic: prefixed verbs available, but secondary imperfectives still not), those in the middle of the road (Lithuanian: secondary imperfectives like perrašyti/perrašinėti already available, though from a limited number of verbs), those at, say, 3/4 (Russian: with all the inconsistencies), and those closer to completion (Bulgarian and Pashto, where, as far as I understand, the system of aspectual pairs is most pervasive).

    Actually, my example with побыл/побывал shows quite well the ambiguous nature of the Russian apectual distinction: what looks like a pair of a perfective and a secondary imperfective — (быть-)побыть-побывать is in fact a member of another chain: быть-бывать-побывать (a plain stative/its iterative/a derived perfective), so that both побыть and побывать are perfective verbs. Well, that makes the language more interesting for investigation, though of course such things will be levelled in the future as the system becomes more and more grammaticalized.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  27. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    The thing is it's not necessarily fast: «Лишился надежд — что ему оставалось делать?.. <The non-existent perfective verb> на войне, написал воспоминания». But yes, any perfective verb needs outside actions in order to be sensical, while the verbs like «быть» or «владеть», in their default meaning, appear to fill the timeline completely, although they cannot behave like that in practice. So, the meaning of the perfective verb gets to be more or less interrupted.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  28. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    What do you mean with "the system becomes more and more grammaticalized"? What does grammaticalized mean, and why do you expect that the verb system will become more grammaticalized ?
     
  29. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Grammaticalization as a term means a shift from a contextual or lexical to a paradigmatic way of expression. E. g., the infinitive in Russian is grammaticalized: it can be formed from any verb by means of a standard procedure. In contrast, we do not have a grammaticalized verbal noun, like yours on -nie/-cie: while these can be formed from most verbs, and etymologically in the same way as in Polish or Bulgarian, there are enough cases when these forms are absent, have a non-processual meaning, or look artificial, or when they are formed differently (приготовление but подготовка). Plus, they cannot be formed from reflexive verbs. In addition, these nouns do not actually belong to the verbal system since they require the Genitive after transitive verbs (приготовление обеда, подготовка статьи) instead of the pure verbal forms (infinitive, participles and adverbial participles) that retain the verbal agreement by preserving the Accusative (приготовить/приготовивший/приготовив обед, подготовить/подготовивший/подготовив статью).

    The Slavic aspectual system as we know it in the last thousand years still largely lies between the vocabulary and grammar — in particular, because of the lack of a transparent derivational model for the perfective/imperfective pairs. Since, as I had written, the aspectual distinction is a common Indo-European feature (the opposition of plain vs. prefixed or plain vs. a-suffixed verbs is known not only in Slavic), and we can trace several steps of its development in other languages, from a more casual and lexical to a more uniform, we can expect this development to continue in Slavic as well. Over centuries, of course. And In the languages that survive the globalization ,-)

    It appears that I have not properly answered why I expect an increase of grammaticalization in the future. If we look again at the Slavic -nьje/-tьje nouns, the Russian language preserves the most archaic stage, these words being largely part of the vocabulary, not the verbal paradigm, while Polish and Bulgarian, in contrast, have incorporated them to the verbal system, both in terms of regularity and syntactic usage. In Bulgarian in particular this process is obvious since the Old Slavonic was at the same stage as Russian in this respect. I have little doubt that Russian will follow this route: it actually follows already, since the processual usage of nouns on -ние/тие is more active now than it ever was.

    The same can be conjectured about the aspectual opposition. An ideal system would include primary perfective verbs and transparently derived imperfectives (дать—давать, отдать—отдавать), and indeed it is chronologically the newest part of the system. The problem lies in the relationship between primary prefixless imperfectives and prefixed perfectives (делать—сделать), which constitute the historical core of the aspectual opposition. When the prefixed verbs retain a separate lexical meaning (уделать, отделать, заделать, приделать) everything is OK, as they form secondary imperfectives and cause no problems (уделывать, отделывать, заделывать, приделывать). The disturbing part of the system is the existence of prefixed verbs with an empty (сделать) or half-lexical (наделать) meaning, which do not fit the easy rules, and are likely to be subject of further evolution. Nobody knows, of course, how far it will go and where it will stop.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  30. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Thanks for an interesting explanation! As for the grammaticalized endings of the verbal nouns in Polish, the process is not completed, and there exist verbs that don't form such nouns, or where they sound artificially (like "mieć" or "poprzerywać".)
    What future will bring in the evolution of Slavic verbs is actually impossible to prophesize. Most probably each language will follow its own path of evolution. I think that the basic obstacle in the grammaticalization of the aspect in Slavic languages is the multiplicity of meanings of the prefixed verbs, which actually almost never form a regular pattern of aspectual pairs. By the way, why so many teachers tell the students about the alleged existence of "aspectual pairs", which is such a gross simplification. The clear cut division into two aspects is not true, either, as in many Slavic languages there exist many subaspects, or even third or fourth aspect (for example Polish habitual aspect as in "mawiać", or repetitive aspect as in "powyrywać")
     
  31. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    ahvalj seems to suggest a system that uses suffixes for regular (= grammatical) derivation of the aspectual meaning; he uses the repetitive suffixes to show an example of what he had in mind (I can imagine a verb «сделывать», by the way). So the multiplicity of meanings of the prefixed verbs makes no obstacle for his prophecy; instead, the real stumbling stone is people's reluctance to go for regularization. Another obstacle is that repetitive verbs, like «носить», with prefixation do not form perfective verbs, what they result in are instead imperfective verbs («переносить», «проносить», «наносить», «сносить», «уносить», «подносить» etc).
    Pairing helps comparing. I think, this is the only reason. They make examples of comparison; otherwise, they would have to explain languageless ideas, which is usually hard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
  32. A_nushka New Member

    Russian
    Такие глаголы называются приставочными глаголами.
    Часто от одного глагола можно образовать целую группу приставочных глаголов, имеющих разные значения / оттенки значений. Например: думать - обдумать, подумать, передумать, раздумать, задумать, надумать.
    Каждый из этих глаголов образует пары совершенного и несовершенного вида. Например: обдумывать - обдумать, передумывать - передумать и т.д.
     
  33. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    If this is really true in Russian, then you have gone quite far in the direction of grammaticalization! But, is this really true? Do you have absolutely all verbs having a counterpart that is respectively perfective or imperfective, without any differences in meaning? In Polish the original unprefixed verb is widely used as the imperfective version, while the perfective prefixed "counterparts" have usually more specialized meaning. Not all verbs have a pair of imperfective-perfective with the same lexical meaning. For example the verb "spać" (спать) has at least seven perfective relatives, but none of them has the same meaning as the core verb.
     
  34. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    No, this is not true, this is only an approximation. For example, the verb «раздумывать» means a very different thing than «раздумать»: the first means 'to think over', and the second means "to decide something is not worth doing". Also, we do use that system when the perfective prefixed verb has a more specific meaning than the unprefixed imperfective one, and there are many perfective prefixed verbs to match the single unprefixed imperfective verb.

    So, to give the chart, the general system is that the original verbs are imperfective, there are lots of prefixes that make specific perfective verbs out of more general imperfective verbs, and there are variations of the iterative suffix that turn the so-formed perfective verbs into imperfective ones. There are four things that convolute the system:

    1. The simple verbs with an iterative meaning, like the above-mentioned «носить», do not form perfective verbs with the majority of prefixes. They form imperfective verbs instead.
    2. Apart from the prefixal way of making perfective verbs, there is also the suffixal one. To my knowledge, there is only one suffix for this purpose, and this is the suffix «ну», which derives the meaning of a singular action, usually quick. Naturally, the perfective verbs with this suffix can take prefixes, too. (Don't confuse this item with the verbs that have roots ending in «н» followed by the suffix «у», like «тонуть» – to drown (gradually), with the perfective counterpart «потонуть»).
    3. The iterative suffix can be used to form either an imperfective verb out of a prefixed perfective one – but it can't be used together with «ну», – or an iterative verb out of an imperfective one, which contributes to ambiguity. It can be even used to raise the degree of iterativeness of an already iterative verb: see, for example, «нашивать» (out of «носить»)!
    4. Some prefixes may refer to the iterative action as a whole, and so they can form perfective verbs out of the iterative ones – like «поносить» out of «носить» ('to carry things for some time'), or «переносить» in the specific meaning of 'to carry a lot of things'. Most usually, such prefix seems to be «по», sometimes «пере». But see, for example, «понашивать», which is imperfective, meaning 'to carry sometimes, in little portions, and thinking of other things while not carrying a portion'.

    And, of course, it is important to remember that the derived words are still independent lexical units, so you can never really predict what will be the exact meaning of the word to derive.
    Therefore, both Latin and Gothic used the same verbs to mean the two ways of making relation to the timeline of other actions: the first, which incorporates the other actions like in boxes, related to the box of the present action, and the second, which places other actions around the one being told of as if this latter is an electric post along the road.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  35. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Thank you for a very extensive explanation of the situation in the Russian verb system. It seems that both Russian and Polish are at the same stage of grammaticalization, and that the systems are very similar, with few exceptions.

    I haven't, however, understood much of your description of the situation in Latin and Gothic. (I know the basics of Latin grammar and understand Latin texts to an extent, but I don't know Gothic.) Could you give any examples to illustrate your explanation quoted above?.
     
  36. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    I am very sorry for the bad wording; I simply meant – basing on some knowledge of some how Romance language work and on ahvalj's remark – that there should have been no distinction between what is known in Russian the perfective aspect and the imperfective aspect: the same verbs, including those with prefixes, could play both roles. In reality, I know of those languages less than you; I meant to be speaking of the peculiarities of the notion of aspect, not of the peculiarities of those languages.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  37. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    This is "..the peculiarities of the notion of aspects ... " which you described in yor post as ".. used the same verbs to mean the two ways of making relation to the timeline of other actions: the first, which incorporates the other actions like in boxes, related to the box of the present action, and the second, which places other actions around the one being told..." that I am interested in.

    My knowledge of Latin includes the following: Latin formed prefixed verbs using prepositions as prefixes. The prefixed verbs had a new meaning compared to the core verb without prefix, like "spiro" (to breath) ---> con-spiro (to breath together = to plot, conspire). The Latin prefixed verbs are, however, aspect neutral, and it was rather distinction between the tenses imperfectum and perfectum that indicated the aspect: spirabam (imperfectum) and spiravi (perfectum). The same applies to the future tenses I and II spirabo and spiravero.
    The Germanic languages and the Slavic languages also use vebs prefixed with prepositions, but the diffrence between them is that the Germanic languages, like Latin, but unlike the Slavic languages don't mark the aspect by adding the prefix. It would be interesting how it was in the Gothing language.

    By the way, even if the
    Germanic languages don't mark the verb aspect with prefixed prepositions, they sometimes do it with affixed prepositions, for example English "open up" or
    "drink up", copied also into Norwegian as "åpne opp" and "drikke opp".
     
  38. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    All right. I was saying that those languages don't seem to have had this feature that Russian has (as well as the other Slavic languages), so I'm going to illustrate my description. We can get an English phrase – 'I gradually drowned', and see how it can be translated into Russian. There are two general options, the first is to translate it with an imperfective verb, and the second is to take a perfective verb; the options differ very much and have a very different image for a Russian speaker. Let's take an imperfective phrase: «пока я потихоньку тонул, она стирала носки» (~ 'she was washing her socks while I was drowning', if I'm not too mistaken with my English tenses). The imperfective actions proceed: for instance, we can say what was happening while the action proceeded by adding a «пока»-clause. The perfective actions happen, and a «пока»-clause usually cannot be used with them, because it would be an ungrammatical way to say that she was washing her clothes until I drowned (add «не» before «утонул» to make the sentence grammatical).

    So, we can treat the imperfective action as a box that we can fill with whatever actions we want. Or, we can imagine the other time boxes, that are shifted in reference to the current one; for example, see «Сначала я воевал с комарами, а потом долго спал». The perfective action is instead like a milestone along the road: we can't fill it with other actions, but we can say what happened before or after it, for what actions this action was a cause, and what caused this action to happen. So, for example, «я утонул и был счастлив» means that I was happy after I drowned, but «я тонул и был счастлив» means I was happy while I was drowning. «Я потихоньку утонул» refers to my drowning as a whole, it's kind of looked upon from outside so the structure of my action is unimportant, what is important are its physical characteristics – that it was a gradual drowning; and also is important the bunch of its causes, consequences, results, all the overall picture of it.

    By the way, it is surely possible to admit that «я долго что-то делал», for example «я долго спал», but with a perfective verb it'd be meaningless to say that the action proceeded for long time even if it did; so, while «я собрался в дорогу» refers, in fact, to the same action as «я собирался в дорогу» (in the physical world those actions can be the same), one can say «я долго собирался в дорогу», but can't «я долго собрался в дорогу», which the latter is non-sensical. The imperfective action possesses a timepath, in which it can put other actions and see them happening, the perfective action does not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  39. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    The treatise you gave in your post is interesting, but I think it is not the main problem with the perfective aspect in the relation between English and Slavic languages.
    In my opinion the most important problems are as follows:
    For English speakers learning Slavic languagea:

    1. To understand that a verb MUST have either a perfective or imperfective form (looking apart from the few aspectless imported verbs not fully “naturalized”).
    2. To understand that the perfective aspect is expressed by lexical, not morphological means.
    3. To understand that the perfective and imperfective don’t form ideal pairs with the same meaning (misled by teachers that want to spare them the hard part, or not understanding the problem themselves).
    4. To understand the intricacies of usage, when the aspects are used apparently against the rules (for example like in “я бам уже высылал письма“)

    For speakers of Slavic languages translating from English to their mother tongue:

    1. To understand that the perfective and imperfective don’t form ideal pairs with the same meaning (misled by teachers that don’t understanding the problem, or maybe regarding the whole thing as a “no problem” for the native speakers).
    2. To guess if the verb in simple past is meant to denote a perfective or imperfective action.
    For speakers of Slavic languages trying to express themselves in English:

    1. To understand that English doesn’t regard the perfective aspect as an important category in past tense, but the sequence in time is important.
    2. That English present perfect is a present tense.
    By the way, I think that the term “grammaticalization” is not the best one to describe what happens (or will happen) with the way of expressing the aspect. The lexical way of expressing the aspect is also something that belongs to grammar, and is not less grammatical than the purely morphological ways. I would rather call the process “morphologization” if such word existed in English.
     
  40. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Indeed, and I think this part is the hardest – like understanding the difference between «я вам уже высылал письма» (the plain action is presumed) vs. «я вам уже выслал письма» (the change of state is presumed, so the listener will be more likely to think that the speaker is, say, angry that the listener did not answer yet, or that the speaker implies he doesn't have to send any letters anymore), and other intricacies of other usages.
     
  41. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Personnally I don't see where's the big difference between trennbare Verben & untrennbare Verben other than the grammatical particularity of the separable prefix. In older spelling (before the spelling reform of the 90s) you had even lexicalised unities like kennenlernen (after the reform: kennen lernen) and (fahr)radfahren (today: (Fahr)Rad fahren) where the first component is treated grammatically (i. e., syntactically) exactly like a separable prefix. You have some double-prefixed verbs like anerkennen or umbenennen: I have heard that the first prefix in anerkennen is either separable (I treat it like that) or inseparable (which I feel uneasy about).
    I also don't see much difference between verbs like anwenden (separable) & verwenden (inseparable). The semantical difference between them, although palpable, is rather small.

    Neither do I really see why the English grammar makes such a fuss about "phrasal verbs" or verbs using prefixes: yes, you have to learn the meaning, you cannot deduce it completely. Using prepositions as prefixes is a grammatical phenomenon common to all IE languages. Or do you think Spanish rogar, abrogar, derogar & interrogar, French voir, pourvoir & entrevoir, Latin puto, imputo & amputo, or German zeihen & verzeihen are more "similar" in their meaning than any pair of English "phrasal verbs" (a grammatical term which doesn't say much about the fenomenon it stands for, I daresay)?
     
  42. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The situation with contrasting interpretations of Gothic pre-aspectual usage of prefixed verbs is briefly discussed here http://yadi.sk/d/M1svlfpJ65JFu (in Russian, «Сравнительная грамматика германских языков, том IV, 1966»: pages 231–235). Also, there is a complete Russian book on the Gothic prefixed verbs with, as far as I remember, the entire body of the available Gothic material analyzed (a published Ph.D., I guess), but I don't have it scanned.

    I'd like to emphasize once again that Gothic of course didn't possess an aspectual distinction of the later Slavic type (even because of the lack of secondary imperfectives), but it did have examples of non-lexical opposition of non-terminative (primary non-prefixed) vs. terminative (derived prefixed, especially with ga-) verbs, which may serve as an illustration of an early stage of such a development in Baltic, Slavic, Celtic (ro-prefix in Old Irish) or Iranian.
     
  43. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Sorry for the OT, but this is a calque of the awful fashionable construction "ситуация с".
     
  44. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Also, a downloadable Lithuanian academic grammar, where Lithuanian aspectual differences (representing an earlier stage than those found in Slavic) are discussed on pp. 234–237: http://yadi.sk/d/8oLrZezZ3lz4S

    How to write it correctly? Google gives 11 900 000 entries of "situation with".
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  45. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Maybe then the Russian construction is a calque of the English one (but I've never heard or read it in English, so I thought it was a modern Russian "invention").

    Just avoid it: "The contrasting interpretations of Gothic pre-aspectual usage of prefixed verbs are briefly discussed here". You see, you lose nothing.

    I'm of the ones who think much about etymology and if I see that situation comes from Latin situs (site), I think the situation can be "where" (in a given place), but not "with". If we substitute the Latinism "ситуация" with its Slavic counterpart "положение" - wouldn't this
    "положение с" strike you as horrid?
     
  46. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Well, yes and no. Yes — you have explained why, no — because abstract meanings are subject of constant washing out. Say, Russian words for "rather, enough" («довольно, достаточно») still show clear links to their original meaning "sufficiently" and occasionally I hear complaints about their use (e. g., from Sergey Dorenko, on the radio). The German "sehr" originates from Proto-Germanic "sairaz", "ill" (preserved in Finnish "sairas") through the same process («больно хорошо» -> »sehr gut«), etc. So, as in the case of the Slavic aspectual opposition, we're dealing with things in progress ,-)
     
  47. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    By the way, a good illustration of the origin of some abstract Latin nouns is given by Tronskiy: I cannot find a scanned version, but GoogleBooks has the beginning of this paragraph with the page number and first examples: http://books.google.ru/books?hl=ru&id=gB5BAAAAMAAJ&q=гоня#search_anchor The title is here: http://books.google.ru/books?id=gB5BAAAAMAAJ&hl=ru&source=gbs_navlinks_s
     
  48. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    As for the perfective verbs: so far I have encountered two verbs that seem to break the picture: «пустить» and «простить». I'm not sure whether I am aware of the root «ст»; is it the same root as in «стать»? And even if this root is something existent, then I am not aware of the prefix «пу». So, both verbs seem to be simple, contrary to the overall chart. Is there something I misunderstand? I looked these up in Vasmer and here, but I don't seem to find anything that would explain the thing to me.
     
  49. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Ёж, as it usually happens with your posts, I don't quite understand what you want to say. Could you, please, reformulate your question if it is addressed to me?
     
  50. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    My question is whether the perfective verbs «пустить» and «простить» had (etymologically) prefixes, like all other perfective verbs have, except those that are formed with the suffix «ну». Thank you!
     

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