Abstract and concrete verbs in Russian

CitizenEmpty

Senior Member
English & Korean
I'm still confused with this. What are exactly abstract and concrete verbs? (giving examples would be welcoming) Are both of them imperfective? How do you call abstract verbs and concrete verbs in Russian? Thank you.
 
  • Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    This term "abstract verb" is applied to some verbs of motion in Russian, and they are always imperfective: плавать, бегать, ходить, летать and so on, as opposed to their "concrete" pairs: плыть, бежать, идти, лететь.
    In Russian they are usually called итеративные глаголы. Also abstract and concrete verbs are interpretated as глаголы неоднонаправленного движения and глаголы однонаправленного движения, such as:
    ползать - to creep in one (concrete) direction;
    ползти - to creep in various (not concrete) directions.
     

    punctuate

    Senior Member
    Russian
    ползти - to creep in one (concrete) direction;
    ползать - to creep in various (not concrete) directions.
    Hm... Каждую неделю я хожу в аптеку. The second is rather directionless than inherently meaning many different directions. The first, of course, means a specific direction... well, wrong: rather a specific action with all attributes of a specific action, like a specific goal. (Вопросы и ответы Mail.ru: "Зачем я каждый день иду домой, если утром опять на работу?" – (с) Google Search)
     

    JSV

    Senior Member
    Let me add some more examples that, possibly, could help to understand the difference. The most clear ones are ходить and идти. What is the difference between the following phrases:

    1.1) I walked around for ten minutes with glass of martini in my hand; - Я ходил вокруг в течении десяти минут с бокалом мартини в руке;
    1.2) I went for ten minutes with glass of martini in my hand; - Я шёл в течении десяти минут с бокалом мартини в руке;

    The difference is that in first case there was no specific direction (or goal) of walking or done usually. In the second case person went somewhere (to specific direction or with specific reason).

    2.1) ходить - walk around or just walk for walking, not to get to specific location, walk usually; (He walks barefoot and he likes it)
    2.2) идти - go somewhere, to specific direction or with specific reason; (I go to train station to salute friend of mine)

    3.1) плавать - swim around or just swim for fun without specific direction or reason, or swim usually; (We were swimming in pool with friends for 4 hours)
    3.2) плыть - swim somewhere or to get to far bank, for example; (I'm swimming to the far bank)

    4.1) бегать - run around or just run for fun without specific direction, run usually; (I run for 10 km every day to be in good shape)
    4.2) бежать - run somewhere or for some reason; (He runs very quickly to catch last train)
     
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    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Hm... Каждую неделю я хожу в аптеку. The second is rather directionless than inherently meaning many different directions. The first, of course, means a specific direction... well, wrong: rather a specific action with all attributes of a specific action, like a specific goal.

    Yes, this is just another application of the abstract/concrete pairs of verbs - repeating/single actions:

    Хожу в аптеку - repeatedly.
    Иду в аптеку - now.

    Not sure, but maybe historically it derives from the "summation" directions in time.
     

    punctuate

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Yes, this is just another application of the abstract/concrete pairs of verbs - repeating/single actions:

    Хожу в аптеку - repeatedly.
    Иду в аптеку - now.
    That depends on what differences one deems most important and most repeating in different usages, and what hints are implied by a verb always. Honestly, I could not say that иду домой is not a repeating action in the example from mail.ru, so the opposition repeating/singular looks stretched to me. While I can't think of a single instance when the opposition between a generic activity and a specific action is not followed or at least where it is contradicted, always with different additions of meaning in each particular case.
    Not sure, but maybe historically it derives from the "summation" directions in time.
    Sorry? I don't seem to understand. In habitual life and in habitual thinking, uncontrolloed by сознание (self-awareness?) with all its learned knowledge, we don't seem to operate and don't need to operate with such definite, belonging to logic, categories as time, space, directions in space, summation... Also, the action of иду happens in the space in different directions, too (иду в аптеку does not imply that the drugstore is straight before me, it implies that how I walk should be considered in light of my specific goals and destinations, not for the purpose of considering what one could say of me as a human).
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    T]Sorry? I don't seem to understand. In habitual life and in habitual thinking, uncontrolloed by сознание (self-awareness?) with all its learned knowledge, we don't seem to operate and don't need to operate with such definite, belonging to logic, categories as time, space, directions in space, summation...
    And with all that human language is logical, which gives us opportunity to describe it in logical terms.

    Also, the action of иду happens in the space in different directions, too (иду в аптеку does not imply that the drugstore is straight before me, it implies that how I walk should be considered in light of my specific goals and destinations, not for the purpose of considering what one could say of me as a human).

    Agree. One way, one goal - concrete verb is quite to the point.
     

    punctuate

    Senior Member
    Russian
    And with all that human language is logical, which gives us opportunity to describe it in logical terms.
    Yes, I expressed myself badly, too. I meant that it would be strange if the evolution of meaning depended on such far from the field of habitual decisions terms as general properties of space and time. (I hope I understood you correctly). Speculation against speculation.
    Agree. One way, one goal - concrete verb is quite to the point.
    I am not arguing with the terminology, just willing to expand on its meaning.
     
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