Slovene: streljati

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Gavril, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA

    According to the dictionary definition, Slovene streljati seems to mean "shoot (a gun or other weapon)", without necessarily hitting your target (or perhaps even aiming at a target). Is this correct?

    If so, why is streljati an imperfective verb (as opposed to ustreliti, etc.) -- isn't shooting normally a momentary, and therefore perfective action? How can you be "in the process" of shooting a weapon?

    My understanding of the perfective/imperfective contrast is still very incomplete, so I may well be missing something.

    Najlepša hvala,
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    I dare to answer being a Russian native, because absolutely the same situation is in Russian: this verb (стрелять) also is imperfective and also doesn't imply hitting or even aiming the target. However what's a problem being in process of shooting? Especially taking into account, that primarily this verb refered to shooting from a bow (streljati < strela - arrow)? So originally streljati = to throw arrows, which is far not as momentary as pulling a trigger of a pistol.
    By the way, cf. streljati and streliti.
  3. GrayRogue Member

    From the perspective of an ordinary speaker I can only say that streljati would refer to someone shooting more than once in a row and ustreliti would mean to shoot just once (irrelevant of hitting or missing the target). For example (I put all the examples in present tense):

    Lovec ustreli zajca. - The hunter shoots the rabbit. (perfective)
    Lovec ustreli v zrak. - The hunter shoots/fires into the air. (perfective, he fires only one bullet into the air and that's it)
    Lovec strelja v zrak. - The hunter shoots/fires into the air. (imperfective, he fires more than one bullet or, should I say, he is constantly firing bullets into the air, therefore this is regarded as a process of shooting and lasts longer than just shooting one bullet)

    Perhaps one good example could be:
    Lovec strelja v tarčo. - The hunter shoots at the target.
    Lovec ustreli tarčo. - The hunter shoots the target.

    I am no expert at my own language and am also not yet familiar with all the expressions, therefore my explanations are very simple. However, I hope this helps clarify things a little until someones with better knowledge provides you with a better answer. :)
  4. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Ah so, streljati is iterative (i.e., it refers to repeated shooting) whereas ustreliti refers to a single act of shooting. That makes a lot more sense.

    What confused me is that the dictionary didn't present streljati and ustreliti as a pair, as it does for many other verbs (for example, for meriti "measure", it explicitly gives izmeriti as the perfective counterpart). It defines ustreliti as "to shoot (hit)", suggesting that a direct object is required, but your examples with v zrak show that this is not the case.

    Very helpful, thanks!
  5. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Some verbs, by nature, don't have a perfect pair. If you aimed at someone, it could have ended up by shooting him, missing him or not firing a bullet at all. Thus, ustreliti has more focus on the target, but streljati on the rifleman.

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