All Slavic languages: Consistency of aspect forms

  • Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Are perfective and imperfective pairs the same across the Slavic languages?
    If you mean what I think you mean, I'd say that to a large extent yes. We tried to pin down some differences here but we weren't very successful.

    Jana
     

    vince

    Senior Member
    English
    If you mean what I think you mean, I'd say that to a large extent yes. We tried to pin down some differences here but we weren't very successful.

    I mean the forms, not the usage.

    Let's say that I have a list of 100 Russian imperfective verbs that happen to have their cognates used in Serbian as well.

    Let's say that I know how to form the perfective forms of the Russian verbs.

    Will I have to learn all the Serbian perfectives as well? Or is there a one to one correspondance?
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    I don't know Serbian, but from what I've seen in this forum it's most definitely not going to be a 1:1 correspondance. Because of the various aspect-changing suffixes/prefixes involved, you'll see variability across the Slavic languages. But what you will find are the following:

    1. As you learn, say, Serbian after learning Rusian, in a great many instances the verbal forms will be similar or almost identical in both perfective and imperfective forms. In other cases they will differ, but the verb formation will still obey certain rules that are fairly common cross all Slavic languages.

    2. As Jana noted, the usage of perfective and imperfective forms appears to be fairly uniform across Slavic languages.
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    I concur with Papillon. It is going to be broadly consistent (whatever that means :D) but probably not reliable because the transition from imperfective to perfective often involves a prefix and I am not sure it is easy to come up with it...

    However, this cries out for an experiment! Few of us have mastered another Slavic language well enough to tell, so let's try:

    I am going to write down a group of Czech imperfective verbs and another group of perfective verbs, and then I will have other Slavic speakers guess the other aspects. :)

    Imperfective verbs - guess perfective (usually more correct answers):
    to hang - věšet - ?
    to sleep - spát - ?
    to shine - svítit - ?
    to sing - zpívat - ?

    Perfective verbs - guess imperfective:
    to invent - vynalézt - ?
    to infuriate - rozčílit - ?
    to rip - roztrhnout - ?
    to cook - uvařit - ?

    Now I hope that representatives of various Slavic languages will come and guess (without reading each other's replies before posting if possible ;)).

    Jana
     

    Maja

    Senior Member
    Serbian, Serbia
    I'll give it a go:

    Imperfective verbs - guess perfective:
    to hang - věšet - ověšet
    to sleep - spát - ?
    to shine - svítit - ?
    to sing - zpívat - rozpívat

    Perfective verbs - guess imperfective:
    to invent - vynalézt - nalézt
    to infuriate - rozčílit - čílit
    to rip - roztrhnout - trhnout
    to cook - uvařit - vařit

    Am I close?
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    In my case you have the experiment in the purest form. I don't know any Czech...:(

    Imperfective verbs - guess perfective:

    to hang - věšet - pověšet or povešit (??)
    to sleep - spát - pospát
    to shine - svítit - zasvetit
    to sing - zpívat - zpit

    Perfective verbs - guess imperfective (usually more correct answers):
    to invent - vynalézt - nalezt
    to infuriate - rozčílit - rozčílet? čílit? ok, I have no idea
    to rip - roztrhnout - trahat (?) (sorry Russian forer@s, but what can I do :D :D )
    to cook - uvařit - vařit or uvařivat

    If I get half of these anywhere close, I'll be very happy...
     

    Marga H

    Senior Member
    Poland,Polish
    Hi Jana,
    great idea and good fun:) !I don't know any Czech either.
    Imperfective verbs - guess perfective:
    to hang - veset -zavesit,povesit
    to sleep - spat -?it is a state verb,I think perfective doesn't exist
    to shine - svitit -zasvitit
    to sing - zpivat -zpivit
    Perfective verbs - guess imperfective :
    to invent-vynalezt - vynalezat
    to infuriate - rozcilit -rozcilat
    to rip - roztrhnout -trhnout
    to cook - uvarit -varit
    Will be any prize for the winner?:)
     

    vince

    Senior Member
    English
    If the wrong perfective form is used, will the word still be understood? Or will it sound like a non-existent word?

    Especially those that have an internal syllable added in.
     

    Tolovaj_Mataj

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Slovenia
    If the wrong perfective form is used, will the word still be understood? Or will it sound like a non-existent word?

    Especially those that have an internal syllable added in.

    In Slovene the meaning of the sentence would be understood, but if the wrong aspect is used, every native speaker will immediatelly notice that there's something weird.
    It's interesting that native speakers of Slovene, who usually make lot of grammar mistakes, don't make mistake in choosing the right aspect. It looks like children learn this easily.
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    PERFECTIVE --> IMPERFECTIVE

    Maja
    to hang - věšet - ověšet Excellent (šperky ověšená žena - a bejeweled woman), a less expressive version exists - ověsit.
    to sleep - spát - ?
    to shine - svítit - ?
    to sing - zpívat - rozpívat I wouldn't get it without context. I would think it is an artificial attempt to say "to warm up before a drinking marathon" (i.e. from the verb "pít"), and it is not even a perfective verb. The closest singing-related verb is roZEzpívat (se) - to start singing spontaneously (and other meanigs).

    Papillon
    to hang - věšet - pověšet or povešit (??) Excellent, just wrong diacritics.
    to sleep - spát - pospát Yes! Pospat (short a) exists and is imperfective. It means "to take a nap".
    to shine - svítit - zasvetit No. :) Zasvětit exists (and is imperfective) but has different meanings - to consecrate (a church), to initiate someone (into a secret), to dedicate (one's life to charity) etc.
    to sing - zpívat - zpit LOL! Zpit is a present participle of "zpít se", to get drunk, wasted.

    Marga
    to hang - veset -zavesit,povesit Brilliant.
    to sleep - spat -?it is a state verb,I think perfective doesn't exist I admit that some solutions have a bit different meanings.
    to shine - svitit -zasvitit Excellent. Zasvítit = to shine shortly, to flash.
    to sing - zpivat -zpivit Does not exist but at least sounds perfective ("z" is a common perfective prefix). If I were to guess its meaning, I'd say "to convert something into beer". :cool:

    Jana (a non-exhaustive list)
    to hang - věšet - pověsit, zavěsit
    to sleep - spát - zaspat (to sleep over), vyspat se (to sleep + adverb), prospat + a unit of time (to sleep through some period)
    to shine - svítit - rozsvítit, osvítit, nasvítit, prosvítit
    to sing - zpívat - zazpívat

    ***
    PERFECTIVE --> IMPERFECTIVE

    Maja
    to invent - vynalézt - nalézt No. Nalézt is a (perfective verb), to find (yes, they are cognates).
    to infuriate - rozčílit - čílit Good. :) Čílit exists in spoken Czech (it is a colloquial version of the correct one, see below) and it imperfective.
    to rip - roztrhnout - trhnout No. This exists but is perfective. Trhnout - to tug, to wince. Roztrhnout - to tear apart, to rip.
    to cook - uvařit - vařit Excellent.

    Papillon
    to invent - vynalézt - nalezt No, same as above.
    to infuriate - rozčílit - rozčílet? čílit? OK as above.
    to rip - roztrhnout - trahat Almost!
    to cook - uvařit - vařit or uvařivat Excellent.

    Marga
    to invent-vynalezt - vynalezat Excellent.
    to infuriate - rozcilit -rozcilat Does not exist but sounds imperfective. :)
    to rip - roztrhnout -trhnout No, see above.
    to cook - uvarit -varit Excellent.

    Jana
    to invent - vynalézt - Vynalézat.
    to infuriate - rozčílit - Rozčilovat, colloqually čílit.
    to rip - roztrhnout - Trhat, roztrhávat.
    to cook - uvařit - Vařit.

    All in all, you performed much better in the latter group, as I have expected. It is easier to make the verb more simple.

    If the wrong perfective form is used, will the word still be understood? Or will it sound like a non-existent word?

    Especially those that have an internal syllable added in.
    As you see, it often sounds like another verb or cannot be identified at all. :)

    Thanks for your participation, everyone! :) If you want to inflict a similar test on your Slavic brethern, go for it! I had a lot fun. :cool:

    Jana
     

    MindStorm

    Member
    Russia, russian
    I wonder what results could have been if the verbs were more common to each language... I mean, if I don't know a verb, I can only guess the perfective/imperfective aspect form. But what if I have a similar (or almost similar) sounding verb?

    I can say that I can say (LOL):
    věšet - pověsit
    svítit - osvítit
    because the same verbs exist in Russian
    but prefective for varit in russian sounds like svarit...
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    I wonder what results could have been if the verbs were more common to each language... I mean, if I don't know a verb, I can only guess the perfective/imperfective aspect form. But what if I have a similar (or almost similar) sounding verb?
    OK, I promise to get a couple of verbs that quite similar. :)

    Jana
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    This thread made me think deeper about the whole aspect of aspects in Slavic languages. While the system of noun cases is often cited as the main obstacles/difficulty in learning Slavic languages, I think cases are actually proving to be not all that hard. Part of the reason is that other popular languages, inlcuding Latin and German have them. For langauges that don't, explaining cases is proving quite manageabel.

    It appears that it is the the aspect system that is most difficult to comprehend for non-native speakers. The rules governing imperfective-to-perfective (and vice versa) transition are not straighforward. Perfect.-imperfect. realtionship isn't always 1:1, so that the meaning of the verb can change quite a bit when all you're trying to do is change the aspect of a verb.

    Think of cases where an imperfective verb is changed into perfective by adding a prefix (with a change of meaning), and then back to imperfective by adding a suffix. Quite a handful to learn, if you ask me...


     

    Marga H

    Senior Member
    Poland,Polish
    If the wrong perfective form is used, will the word still be understood? Or will it sound like a non-existent word?

    Especially those that have an internal syllable added in.
    It may also have a different meaning (as you see from Jana's experiment:) )
    I agree with Papillon that aspects are more difficult than cases to learn for nonslavic students (however maybe we should ask THEM ?)
    There are no strict rules and usually there are a lot of verbs making words' family.In English you add preposition after verb (look at,look for,look out) In Polish we use prefixes not only to form perfective aspect but also to form derivatives(zaglądać,oglądać,wyglądać,przeglądać,doglądać)And each verb can have its aspect partner.
    Only if you know a pair of verbs I think it is easy to guess which one of them is perfective or imperfective.
    On the other hand richness and diversity of language make it interesting,don't they?:)
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    I don’t speak Czech at all but I gave myself a stub, here it goes:
    to hang - věšet - zavěšet
    to sleep - spát - vy-/zaspát (I think the first one should be a pronominal verb but I dunno the reflexive in Czech)
    to shine - svítit – roz-/zasví(e?)tit
    to sing - zpívat – vy-/zazpívat

    Perfective verbs - guess imperfective:
    to invent - vynalézt - ?
    to infuriate - rozčílit - čílit
    to rip - roztrhnout - rhnout
    to cook - uvařit – vařit

    I couldn’t come up with imperfective form of vynalézt since (z)nalézt sounds perfective to me…:confused: maybe vynaídyvat no... that sounds too-Polish-like even to my Czech ears :D
    How did it go? :)
    Now, I am going to have a look at the rest of the posts and see the breath-taking results :D ;)
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    I don’t speak Czech at all but I gave myself a stub, here it goes:
    to hang - věšet - zavěšet Does not exist but not too bad. Zavěsit would be fine.
    to sleep - spát - vy-/zaspát (I think the first one should be a pronominal verb but I dunno the reflexive in Czech) Just diacritics wrong. Vyspat se, zaspat.
    to shine - svítit – roz-/zasví(e?)tit Excellent. Rozsvítit, zasvítit.
    to sing - zpívat – vy-/zazpívat Excellent.

    Perfective verbs - guess imperfective:
    to invent - vynalézt - ? Vynalézat.
    to infuriate - rozčílit - čílit Not bad, see about.
    to rip - roztrhnout - rhnout Incomprehensible. :)
    to cook - uvařit – vařit Correct.

    I couldn’t come up with imperfective form of vynalézt since (z)nalézt sounds perfective to me…:confused: maybe vynaídyvat no... that sounds too-Polish-like even to my Czech ears :D
    How did it go? :)
    Now, I am going to have a look at the rest of the posts and see the breath-taking results :D ;)
    Very decent!

    Jana
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I agree with Papillon that aspects are more difficult than cases to learn for nonslavic students (however maybe we should ask THEM ?)
    True, but Romance languages, with their plethora of moods and tenses, come very close to Slavic aspects.
     
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