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Thread: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

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    Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    Hello

    According to my teacher, нельзя + СВ глагол means невозможно, that is, it denotes an impossibility, whereas нельзя + НСВ глагол means "forbidden". 
    This distinction does not seem to be mentionned by any dictionary I put my hands on, so I would guess it is easily derived from the big aspect picture. May I ask you how ?

    Thanks !

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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    I reviewed several examples and found that this rule is usually correct. But it is not a big problem to find exceptions. "Нельзя сидеть на двух стульях одновременно" - НСВ глагол - means impossible.

    I have no good idea how it can be derived. Though you can use mnemonic rule that if it is impossible to do, it is impossible once and forever - a single action is impossible. But if it is forbidden, it is forbidden each time you do it, namely many times.
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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    "Rules" like this are generally complete nonsense that will not help you much in learning the language. It doesn't even make sense to categorize uses of the word нельзя into only two categories. For example, would you categorize the word "can't" in English into only two categories?

    When I have questions about some words, I like to do a search on google and see how the words are being used in the language. This is one of the best ways to improve your knowledge:

    В столицу нельзя ни въехать, ни выехать - it is not possible to enter or to leave the capital (perfective used because reference to the impossibility of completing the action of entering the capital)

    В международной политике, дипломатии и международном праве нельзя рассуждать категориями «побед» и «проигрышей» - in international politics, diplomacy, and international law, one should not think in terms of "wins" and "losses" (imperfective used because it is referring to a general principle)

    Нельзя позволить экономическому кризису парализовать борьбу с ВИЧ - We must not allow the economic crisis to paralyze the fight against HIV (perfective used because the reference is to a single concrete case)

    Но все больше людей понимают, что в Россию ехать нельзя! - More and more people are realizing that Russia is not the place to go! (imperfective used because reference is general)

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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    Thanks for your answers. I understand that any attempt to describe the semantics of this word with such a naive rule is doomed to failure. Nevertheless, since you guys manage to understand its meaning in any case, there must be a way, I guess it just can't be that simple. Since there does not seem to be any conclusive gloss of the word "нельзя" anywhere, it seems that I'll have to learn from examples (and I recognize that yours are very helpful ) until I get somehow an intuitive grasp. 

    As for the word "can't", true it has more than two meanings, but I believe it can't mean anything either. Long ago, I downloaded a document dealing with this matter, "modaux.doc", which I ought to read someday, my inability at english being a real burden.

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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    The use of нельзя is a matter of grammar, whereas dictionaries only talk of semantics, phonology, and morphology.

    Here is an excerpt from my favorite reference grammar:

    Нельзя combines with the imperfective infinitive in the meaning of inadmissibility and the perfective in the meaning of impossibility.
    Нельзя входить (imp.) You can't go in (it is forbidden)
    Нельзя войти (pf.) You can't get in (because, for example, the door is locked)
    . . . .
    Note that the imperfective infinitive may be used with нельзя in the meaning of impossibility in a frequentative context: Нельзя мыть машину каждый день It is impossible to wash the car every day.

    Возможно/невозможно denote only possibility or impossibility (not permission/prohibition):

    Возможно/можно поставить точный диагноз
    It is possible to make a precise diagnosis.

    Невозможно/нельзя решить эту задачу.

    It is impossible to solve this problem.

    Terence Wade, A Comprehensive Russian Grammar.

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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Douglas
    "Rules" like this are generally complete nonsense that will not help you much in learning the language. It doesn't even make sense to categorize uses of the word нельзя into only two categories. For example, would you categorize the word "can't" in English into only two categories?

    When I have questions about some words, I like to do a search on google and see how the words are being used in the language. This is one of the best ways to improve your knowledge:
    Firstly, teachers / grammar books do not present these as absolute 'rules'; they are general guides. Aspect of verbs in Russian is such a complex topic.

    For example, would you categorize the word "can't" in English into only two categories?
    Why would you do that? English doesn't have a aspect system that divides verbs into pairs; you seem to suggest that someone has just arbitarily decided to categorize нельзя into two categories just for fun. That's like saying "The rule that Russian has six grammatical cases is rubbish; for example would you say that English has six cases?"

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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    Нельзя + НСВ means forbidden as well as impossible even in the same sentence. You should keep a context in mind. There is no generic rule.

    For example:
    - У тебя машина пыльная
    - Нельзя мыть машину каждый день
    - Your car is dusty
    - It is impossible (it's too expensive) to wash the car every day.
    But
    - Я собираюсь мыть машину.
    - Нельзя мыть машину каждый день
    - I'm going to wash my car
    - It is forbidden (by the manufacturer) to wash the car every day.

    Нельзя + СВ usually means impossible. It's not a rule but I cannot find an example to dispose.
    Машину нельзя вымыть сейчас It is impossible to wash the car right now (it's raining, for example, or we run out of water).

    But in speech нельзя + pf. may be used to accent that it's forbidden no matter what you think of, usually when your child still annoys you
    Папочка, ну можно мне съесть мороженое? Daddy, please, may I eat an ice-cream?
    Нельзя съесть мороженое! Don't you dare!

    Please, sorry my poor English.
    Don't hesitate to correct my mistakes
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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    *бится головой о стену*
    I can hardly make sense of salex-v's examples. 
    Would you say that in the second case, the owner's claim to wash his beloved car implies that he could do so (in the sense that there is no physical impossibility), discarding the meaning невозможно and leaving room only for that of forbidding ?

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    Re: Нельзя + СВ/НСВ

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubr
    ьётся головой о стену*
    I can hardly make sense of salex-v's examples. 
    Me too, so don't be sad.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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