zaczęła

elroy

Imperfect Mod
US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
Studiuje język i literaturę hiszpańską. Interesuje się literaturą, filmem i muzyką. Teraz zaczęła interesować się Michelem.

This is from a short text describing a girl. I'm quite perplexed as to why the verb in red is in the past tense. This is not a narration, but a general description of the girl. In English, I would have said "She is now beginning to be interested in Michel" and not "She began to be interested in Michel."

Could you explain this mysterious tense change? Does it have a certain stylistic effect? Would the present tense be permissible?

All thoughts would be appreciated. :)
 
  • Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Past and present can easily intermix in Slavic languages. In this case, the past tense - zaczęła means 'have just started".
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Teraz zaczęłam - I've just started, acabo de empezar.
    Teraz zaczynam - I'm starting, I'm about ot start.

    Near past: Teraz/właśnie zaczęłam czytać tę książkę. - I've (just) started reading the book.
    Genuine present: Teraz zaczynam cie rozumieć. - I'm coming to understand you.
    Near future: Za tydzień zaczynam nową pracę. - I'm starting a new job in a week.

    Natives? :eek:
     

    glisssta

    Member
    poland polish
    Jana has right. I wouldn't describe it better;) The difference between "zaczyna interesować się" and "zaczęła interesować sie" in this context is really slight: "zaczyna" means being in the process, with "zaczęła" we are sure that she IS interested in Michael.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Past and present can easily intermix in Slavic languages. In this case, the past tense - zaczęła means 'have just started".
    Just a smile correction Anatoli: has started. It doesn't imply the justness to me though, so I'd not use it here; although, the implication of recentness is quite strong here. The present perfect does the job here very well. :)


    Tom
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I had a suspicion that the past tense was used here with a present perfect meaning, because that's the only thing that would make sense, but of course I wasn't sure. If this isn't asking too much, could some of you give some other examples using other verbs in which the past tense would correspond to the present perfect in English? I want to see if I can get a feel for when it can be done. :)
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Well, I am afraid there isn't a fixed set of them as theoretically most of them could be used in the Present Perfect tense.
    (Właśnie) wyszedł do szkoły.
    He has (just) left to school.

    Teraz wyprowadził się poza Warszawę.
    (This time) he's moved outside Warsaw.


    Teraz podjął studia doktoranckie.
    He has enterred into postgraduate studies.

    :idea: I'm not sure if what I'm going to write in a moment is always valid so please be careful when applying this, but it seems to me that all most verbs that imply commencement can be used with teraz + past tense and this will be translated by the Present Perfect.


    Tom
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    :idea: I'm not sure if what I'm going to write in a moment is always valid so please be careful when applying this, but it seems to me tha all most verbs that imply commencement can be used with teraz + past tense and this will be translated by the Present Perfect.
    Sounds like a good rule of thumb. Thanks for the examples. :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top