Forming adverbs from (-ский) adjectives

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by SSRM, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. SSRM Member

    London, England

    I was wondering if it's possible to make an adverb out of every adjective which bears the suffix (-ский) merely by abstracting the final (-й) and then, either adding the prefix (по-), or simply leaving the word with an (-и) suffix? Is it possible to do this with absolutely every single (-ский) adjective?

    Is it possible, for example, to do the following:

    альтруистический -- альтруистически / по-альтруистически

    Is there any variation in tone between, for example:

    (1) Он вёл себя как альтруист
    (2) Он вёл себя альтруистическим способом
    (2) Он вёл себя альтруистически
    (3) Он вёл себя по-альтруистически

    I.e. is one formulation more common in everyday speech, is one way more common in writing, is there any difference in the formality or are they all fairly similar and neutral in tone?
  2. gvozd Senior Member

  3. gvozd Senior Member

    I wish it would be so simple but alas!:(
  4. Sobakus Senior Member

    I can't think of any instance where this can't be done. The adverbs with or without по- are pretty much interchangeable, the prefixed ones having a slightly more colloquial shade to them.
  5. Moro12 Senior Member

    I thought over the question and came to some conclusion. Hope it could help you.

    I easily found examples where adverbs по--ски are not possible:
    • периодический (periodical): по-периодически is not possible, we say периодически (periodically)
    • мелодический (melody) по-мелодически is not possible, theoretically мелодически sounds right, but I am not sure it is ever used
    • мифический (mythical) по-мифически is not possible, theoretically мифически sounds right, but I am not sure it is ever used
    • кристаллический (crystalline) по-кристаллически is not possible, neither кристаллически is
    • логический (logical) по-логически is not possible, we say логически (logically)
    • альтруистический (altruistic) по-альтруистически is not possible, we say альтруистически (altruistically)
    and many others.

    Following are the observations I made:
    1. Probably (although I am not 100% sure) no adjectives in -ический can form adverbs по--ически. However, some of them can form adverbs -ически.
    2. The meaning embedded into adverbs по--ски adverbs can be explained with the formula "in <some people's> manner", "the way as <some people> do", the corrsponding adjectives in -ский usually refer to a specific group of people:
    • по-русски - lit.: as Russians do
    • по-английски - lit.: as Englishmen do
    • по-президентски - lit.: as presidents behave, in president's manner
    • по-товарищески - lit.: as comrades (friends) do
    • по-московски - lit.: as people in Moscow do
    • по-царски - lit.: as Tsars behave
    • по-детски - lit.: in a childish manner
    3. Adverbs in -ски (without по-) express some more generic meanings:
    • периодически = periodically
    • классически = in a classic way
    • логически = logically
    • теоретически = theoretically
    • фантастически = fantastically
    As for your example with "альтруистический", I do not feel like "по-альтруистически" sounding natural. I would rather say "альтруистически". Although it is hard to explain, this word does not refer just to a specific group of people. It rather refers to kind of an attitude to the life in general.

    Maybe some other native speakers can find better explanation to this.
  6. Moro12 Senior Member

    I think my point with referencing to a specific group of people is more or less right.
    And my observation about the non-existence of по--ически adverbs is not quite correct.

    Just two more examples to illustrate that:
    космический (cosmic, spacial) - по-космически can be possible in a specific context.
    Imagine a science fiction novel about a space travel. I can think of a possible phrase:
    Попрощаемся по-космически! - Let's say "good-by" as space travellers do (in space traveller's manner).
    Despite this being a very special case, I can easily feel that "космически" would not work here, but "по-космически" seems to be OK to me.

    Another example: "зверски" (from the adjective "зверский" - brutal, terrific; which itself is a derivation of "зверь" - beast). Note: there is no -ический here!
    One can say:
    Он зверски избил его. = He brutally beat him.
    I think по-зверски would not suit here. But, if we modify the word order, the following phrase
    Он избил его по-зверски.
    seems to be OK for me, with some addition of connotation "He beat him as a beast would do".
    (A beast is not a human of course, but it is used figuratively).
    Он избил его зверски.
    may also be correct, but a bit unnatural.

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