Russian chodit´ vs Polish chodzić

Lorenc

Senior Member
Italian
The Russian verb chodit´ (ходить) almost always corresponds to Polish chodzić, but it seems to me that there are differences in some cases. Specifically, in Russian chodit´ can be used with the meaning 'going to a place and coming back'; for example (I'll write Russian in Polish translitteration):

wczera ja chodił w magazin => dosł.: 'wczoraj ja chodziłem do sklepu'
wczera ja chodiła k swojej podrugie Anie => dosł.: 'wczoraj ja chodziłam do swojej koleżanki Ani'

It seems to me that in such cases Polish uses być, but never (?) chodzić: wczoraj byłem w sklepie, wczoraj byłam u swojej koleżanki Ani. Any thoughts?
 
  • zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Wczoraj byłem w sklepie.
    Wczoraj poszedłem do sklepu.

    'Chodziłem' can't refer to a single action.
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    'Chodziłem' can't refer to a single action.

    Well, yes, but the point is that "going to the shop" in Polish is a single, unidirectional process but in Russian is evidently perceived to be a multidirectional process (going there and coming back). If you ask me, it is Russian that uses its verbs of motion 'weirdly'. Here's another unrelated example: 'ja poszoł/poszła!' to mean 'ja (już) idę'.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Well, yes, but the point is that "going to the shop" in Polish is a single, unidirectional process but in Russian is evidently perceived to be a multidirectional process (going there and coming back). If you ask me, it is Russian that uses its verbs of motion 'weirdly'. Here's another unrelated example: 'ja poszoł/poszła!' to mean 'ja (już) idę'.
    In Polish you use two verbs to express the concept of "going". If you describe a single trip (forth and back) you always use "iść" (imperfective) and "pójść" (perfective): Wczoraj poszedłem do sklepu (a single trip, perfective).
    Wczoraj chodziłem po sklepach (imperfective, because the action was repeated). I was in many shops yesterday, I went from shop to shop.
    We wouldn't use "ja" in these sentences in Polish because the verb in the past indicates the person (which Russian doesn't).
     
    Last edited:

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thanks. Your considerations therefore confirm that this use of chodzić/chodit´ differs in Polish and Russian.

    It also indicates the gender of the subject (which Russian doesn't either).

    What do you mean? Russian verbs in the past do indicate the gender (in the singular, though admittedly not in the plural), just like in Polish (chodił/chodiła/chodiło => chodził, chodziła, chodziło)
     
    Last edited:

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thanks. Your considerations therefore confirm that this use of chodzić/chodit´ differs in Polish and Russian.



    What do you mean? Russian does verbs in the past do indicate the gender (in the singular, though admittedly not in the plural), just like in Polish (chodił/chodziła/chodziło => chodził, chodziła, chodziło)
    You are right, I made an error here. Sorry, a moment of confusion.
     
    I think the verb used in Russian is not itself relevant here: it is just a particular case of the Russian use of imperfectives (in the past and future) to denote actions that began, lasted and then were cancelled, like in kto otkrywał okno? “who had opened and then has closed the window?”. This construction is not very widespread since due to the extreme poverty of the tense system it too often creates ambiguity, but when contextually clear it is quite possible with a number of verbs.

    P. S. An example of the future tense: kto budiet otkrywať okno, sleditie, cztoby pticy nie zaletali — here budiet otkrywať okno implies the same action but projected into the future: “who will open the window for a while (e. g. for ventilation) to close it afterwards”, that is not a continuous, or repeated, or incomplete action, as typical for imperfectives, but a "cancelled perfective". Ideally, of course, a special set of tenses should have developed to express all this, but alas…
     
    Last edited:

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I think the verb used in Russian is not itself relevant here:

    I'm not sure I follow what you're saying... I'm specifically comparing Russian chodit´ and Polish chodzić, and it turns out that in at least one situation (namely: having been to a place) their usage differ. It doesn't seem to me that this fact is indicative of a general difference in Polish/Russian imperfective verbs.
     
    Then I hope to get an explanation from Polish speakers…

    In Russian you can imagine a number of imperfective verbs with the meaning of a single canceled action:
    • w proszłom godu ona letała w Italiju (she went there by plane and returned)
    • no ty że ubirała so stoła (you cleaned the table but it is full/dirty again)
    • ja wieď diełał uroki (I insist I prepared my homework, despite no sign of this I can present).
    P. S. And concerning verbs of motion, you can use any semantically appropriate imperfective verb there to denote a single reversed action:
    • wczera ja chodiła k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja zachodiła k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja jezdiła k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja zajezżała k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja biegała k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja zabiegała k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja nawiedywałaś k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja letała k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja zapołzała k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja zabriedała k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja zaskakiwała k swojej podrugie Anie
    • wczera ja goniała k swojej podrugie Anie.
    P. P. S. And, by the way, this "reversed perfective" in its turn seems to be a particular case of the aorist use of the Russian imperfectives. When in a context both a perfective and an imperfective can occur, the perfective may mean an actual past (= perfect, = I have something done, = lo tengo hecho) versus a past that is just mentioned, expressed by an imperfective (= aorist, = I did, = lo hice): ja pojeł “I have eaten (= I am not hungry); he comido” vs. ja jeł “I ate (= just mentioning the event); comí (not comía: not a Romance imperfect with its repetitive or processual meaning in this case and neither estaba comiendo)”.

    The difference between wczera ja poszła k swojej podrugie Anie and wczera ja chodiła k swojej podrugie Anie primarily seems to be in the absence of the actual meaning in the latter: wczera ja poszła also may mean that I am not there today, but it is not quite explicitly stated, whereas wczera ja chodiła implies that I am certainly not there at the moment.

    What I am trying to argue is that the verb chodiť itself is not a bearer of any special semantic valence comparing to its Polish counterpart. It is the Russian imperfective that is less specialized for denoting non-punctual actions than in Polish. The language has several oppositions, and the perfective (which is marked) is always used in Russian to convey a punctual action or the one that retains its significance for the present, whereas the imperfective (which is unmarked) conveys the rest, that is everything that is not expressed in that context by the perfective. That means: when in a context the perfective is used for a resultative ("lo tengo hecho"), the imperfective is used for an aorist, even if a single punctual action is implied ("lo hice"), and when the perfective is used for an aorist ("lo hice"), the imperfective is used for an imperfect ("lo hacía") or continuous ("lo estaba haciendo"). So many troubles due to the ruined tense system ,(
     
    Last edited:

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Then I hope to get an explanation from Polish speakers…

    Me too. In the meanwhile, I'll share some thoughts. I understood what you wrote only partially, but I think you've raised an important point. Regarding your sentences, I think all the corresponding Polish sentences using an imperfective verb are wrong (either with multidirectional or unidirectional verbs).

    Specifically (imperfective/multidirectional verbs):
    1. wczoraj chodziłam do swojej koleżanki Ani.
    2. wczoraj jeździłam do swojej koleżanki Ani.
    3. wczoraj biegałam do swojej koleżanki Ani.
    4. wczoraj latałam do swojej koleżanki Ani.

    In my perception these sound very wrong in Polish when referring to a single-trip event.
    Versions with imperfective/unidirectional verbs:
    5. wczoraj wpadałam do swojej koleżanki Ani.
    6. wczoraj zajeżdżałam do swojej koleżanki Ani.

    These, too, sound wrong to me. I thought the the key-point which made the Russian sentences in the first group possible was the multi-directional character, but the examples you gave indicate that it is not so.

    What I am trying to argue is that the verb chodiť itself is not a bearer of any special semantic valence comparing to its Polish counterpart. It is the Russian imperfective that is less specialized for denoting non-punctual actions than in Polish. [...]

    If what you say is correct, which I'm sure it is, you are highlighting a relevant difference in the use of aspect between Polish and Russian. I've consulted several grammars of Russian for Poles, and of Polish for Russian, but I haven't found any description of this fact. For example, the only thing that ref. [I. Maryniakowa, Gramatyka konfrontatywna rosyjsko-polska : morfologia ze słowotwórstwem (1993)] has to say on the subject is p. 194 "W języku polskim nie ma istotnych różnic w zakresie znaczenia i tworzenia kategorii aspektu w stosunku do opisanego systemu języka rosyjskiego." (In Polish, there are no significant differences in the meaning and creation of the category of aspect in relation to the described system for Russian.)
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Changing the subject slightly, a Polish person on a different internet forum said that all sentences of this type should use "mojej" and not "swojej", e.g. 'Wczoraj wpadłam do mojej kolezanki Ani.' and that "do swojej" is absolutely impossible.
    The same person also gave as an example this sentence:
    Wczoraj bylem u MOJEJ kolezanki Ani i sie dowiedzialem, ze u SWOJEJ babci na wsi spadl snieg.

    To me this sentence sounds doubly dubious, not only for the "mojej/swojej koleżanki" part, but also because to me "u swojej babci" can only mean "at my own granma's", not "at my friend's granma's" which in the given context seems the most logical option.
    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited:

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The key factor in Russian is returning back, which is always presumed in these phrases and which exactly allows using the multidirectional verb (with the general meaning of making a trip - which seems specific to Russian and other East Slavic languages; after all, it's not something intuitive and immediately obvious from the general structure). On the other hand, "я вчера ходил к другу и сейчас всё ещё у него" DOES sound wrong too (since you have arrived but there was no returning back). As for using imperfectives per se for a single action, I agree with ahvalj.
     
    Last edited:

    Piotr_WRF

    Senior Member
    Polish, German
    In Polish, the imperfective can be used for a single action like in the examples in Russian when there's appropriate context.

    For example:

    Kto otwierał okno?
    Who opened the window (and then shut it) (, although it was forbidden to open it)?

    Kto jechał samochodem?
    Who took the car (, drove somewhere and returned, but the engine is still warm and I explicitly told everyone that I don't want anyone to drive it)?
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I think the verb used in Russian is not itself relevant here: it is just a particular case of the Russian use of imperfectives (in the past and future) to denote actions that began, lasted and then were cancelled, like in kto otkrywał okno? “who had opened and then has closed the window?”.

    I've finally found a rather detailed description of this use in 'Wade, A Comprehensive Russian Grammar', section 259 'Use of the imperfective past to denote an action and its reverse'. The whole matter in Russian is much clearer now. As to Polish, I haven't found any specific reference to this use (although general notes of the type 'imperfective aspect is used for single-actions which did not result in a change in the state of affairs' should apply in these cases). I've asked a few Polish people, but I received rather contradictory replies. I'll report here below the examples sentences given by Wade (in Polish transcription) as well as a literal Polish translation. I'd like to know if they work in all cases in Polish too.

    1. She had a book out of the library (and has now returned it)
    Ru Ona brała knigu w bibliotiekie.
    Pl [Ona] brała książkę w bibliotece.

    2. It is so cold in my room today. Someone has probably had the window open in here [the window has been opened but is now shut again.]
    Ru U mienie w komnatie tak chołodno siegodnia. Nawiernoje, kto-to otkrywał zdieś okno.
    Pl W moim pokoju jest tak zimno dzisiaj. Na pewno ktoś otwierał tutaj okno.

    3. He got up in the night (and went back to bed again)
    Ru On wstawał noc'ju
    Pl [On] wstawał nocą

    4. The child woke up, but now he is asleep again
    Ru Riebionok prosypałsia, no siejczas on opiat' spit
    Pl Dziecko budził się, ale teraz znowu śpi

    5. One of them raised his arm. I liked the look of them and stopped. The one who had raised his arm [and then lowered it back down] thrust a dark-skinned face through the car window
    Ru Odin iz nich podniał ruku. Ich lica ponrawiliś mnie, i ja ostanowiłsia. Tot, kto podnimał ruku, prosunuł w maszynu smugłoje lico.
    Pl Jeden z nich podniósł rękę. Ich twarze mi się spodobały, i zatrzymałem się. Ten, kto podnosił rękę, wsunął do samochodu smagłą twarz.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Changing the subject slightly, a Polish person on a different internet forum said that all sentences of this type should use "mojej" and not "swojej", e.g. 'Wczoraj wpadłam do mojej kolezanki Ani.' and that "do swojej" is absolutely impossible.
    The same person also gave as an example this sentence:
    Wczoraj bylem u MOJEJ kolezanki Ani i sie dowiedzialem, ze u SWOJEJ babci na wsi spadl snieg.

    To me this sentence sounds doubly dubious, not only for the "mojej/swojej koleżanki" part, but also because to me "u swojej babci" can only mean "at my own granma's", not "at my friend's granma's" which in the given context seems the most logical option.
    Any thoughts?
    Russian can use both "моей" and "своей" here, the latter being slightly preferred. But Poles may have the ideas of their own about reflexive possessives. :)
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Wczoraj bylem u MOJEJ kolezanki Ani i sie dowiedzialem, ze u SWOJEJ babci na wsi spadl snieg.

    To me this sentence sounds doubly dubious, ...
    To me this sentence is completely wrong, not only dubious. Until now I was convinced that such an error could only be made by a speaker of a Romance language. A relative of mine, for example, living in France from early childhood, and speaking only rudimentary Polish, used the expression "Swój ojciec powiedział (son pére a dit)". I tried to explain to him the principles of using the pronoun 'swój', but it was over his comprehension. It seems that these rules began to be beyond comprehension of native Polish speakers. In my opinion it is caused by the imfluence of English.
     

    rotan

    Senior Member
    Polish
    1. She had a book out of the library (and has now returned it)
    Ru Ona brała knigu w bibliotiekie.
    Pl [Ona] brała książkę w bibliotece.

    2. It is so cold in my room today. Someone has probably had the window open in here [the window has been opened but is now shut again.]
    Ru U mienie w komnatie tak chołodno siegodnia. Nawiernoje, kto-to otkrywał zdieś okno.
    Pl W moim pokoju jest tak zimno dzisiaj. Na pewno ktoś otwierał tutaj okno.

    3. He got up in the night (and went back to bed again)
    Ru On wstawał noc'ju
    Pl [On] wstawał nocą

    4. The child woke up, but now he is asleep again
    Ru Riebionok prosypałsia, no siejczas on opiat' spit
    Pl Dziecko budził się, ale teraz znowu śpi

    5. One of them raised his arm. I liked the look of them and stopped. The one who had raised his arm [and then lowered it back down] thrust a dark-skinned face through the car window
    Ru Odin iz nich podniał ruku. Ich lica ponrawiliś mnie, i ja ostanowiłsia. Tot, kto podnimał ruku, prosunuł w maszynu smugłoje lico.
    Pl Jeden z nich podniósł rękę. Ich twarze mi się spodobały, i zatrzymałem się. Ten, kto podnosił rękę, wsunął do samochodu smagłą twarz.

    Piotr is right, this only works with appropriate context
    Examples 3 and 4 don't work if you ask me
    The 5th one would probably work if we replaced "kto" with "ktory" (or "co", but this would be colloquial)
    It would then tell the listener that you still mean the same person
    "Ten ktory podnosil reke"
    "Ten co podnosil reke"

    As natives, we will obviously get what you mean, but to me, "ten kto podnosil reke" refers to "anyone who raised their hand" more than "the one who raised their hand"
     
    Last edited:

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Piotr is right, this only works with appropriate context

    Yes, that much is clear, but then the question is 'what constitutes appropriate context?' This whole discussion shows that the appropriate context triggering past-imperfective for single actions is different in Polish and Russian...

    As natives, we will obviously get what you mean, but to me, "ten kto podnosil reke" refers to "anyone who raised their hand" more than "the one who raised their hand"

    Ok, but what about verbal aspect? Ten, który podnosił rękę, wsunął do samochodu smagłą twarz. or Ten, który podniósł rękę, wsunął do samochodu smagłą twarz. ?
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    To me this sentence is completely wrong, not only dubious. Until now I was convinced that such an error could only be made by a speaker of a Romance language

    To me this shows that asking grammatically-illiterate people about non-trivial grammar issues is a very risky business (bordering with being a total waste of time).
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    "Swój ojciec powiedział (son pére a dit)".
    Well, that's obviously wrong, since the possessor is normally the subject, and here it would be recursive ("the one who's the father of his own"? :)). However, Lorenc initially provided an entirely different grammatical context ("bylem u mojej/swojej kolezanki"); I wonder what precisely would be wrong with "swojej" here (the zero 1p.sg. subject, probably?).
     
    Last edited:

    rotan

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, that much is clear, but then the question is 'what constitutes appropriate context?' This whole discussion shows that the appropriate context triggering past-imperfective for single actions is different in Polish and Russian...
    "appropriate context" would mean that it's correct to use both perfective and imperfective forms as long as it doesn't evidently change the meaning

    For example, in 5, I personally don't care whether that person kept their hand raised for some time or put it down immediately, even though you mention it, because there's more action happening which also seems to be much more important
    What matters is the fact of raising the hand itself, so both verbs work for me, but if this information is somehow important, use "podniosl" with your context

    This is an example of not evidently changing the meaning:
    Context: You and your friend witness a boy bringing a letter to someone in your neighborhood:
    - Widziales tego chlopaka?
    - Ktorego?
    Possible answers:
    1. No tego co teraz list zanosil do sasiada
    2. No tego co teraz list zaniosl do sasiada
    3. No tego co teraz list niosl do sasiada
    Despite using different forms, all of them mean the same to me, because I don't care if the letter was delivered, I care about seeing him with the letter, so I will be easily understood even when using 2.

    ... and this is an example of doing it:
    - Przez caly ten czas okno bylo otwierane
    (the window was repeatedly opened and closed the entire time)
    - Przez caly ten czas okno bylo otwarte
    (the window was open the entire time)
    Here, the meaning changes drastically

    However, examples 3 and 4 would actually make sense, but only on their own, they are incorrect with your English context
     
    Last edited:
    Top