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Thread: English present participle > Russian past participle? Also свой on it's own

  1. #1
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    English present participle > Russian past participle? Also свой on it's own

    ...и понял, что старик больше не был в поле зрения. Я обвёл кругом малинкого дома на крыше, в любую минуту ожидая видеть его стоя передо меня, руки за спиной, смотря на свой любимы город;- но он не был там.
    ...and realised, that the old man was no longer in view. I walked around the tiny building on the roof, expecting at any moment to see him standing in front of me, hands behind his back, looking at his beloved town; - but he was not there.

    3 questions about my sentence:-
    1) In English, 'expecting' (present active participle, I think...) would be used here, so is ожидая the correct participle to use here? I have a strange feeling that I should be using a past active participle, not a present one in Russian.
    2) Is imperfective ' видеть ' correct here? I chose it as it's part of a sentence describing something that didnt happen, which, if I remember correctly, dictates use of imperfective aspect.
    3) Is свой okay here? It isn't in the same clause as 'его', and in fact the subject is not mentioned by name in the sentence at all.

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    Почтенный гражданин xXHoax's Avatar
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    I'm not native Russian so I'm not 100% on that half of the discussion. Grain of salt recommended.

    English doesn't distinguish between basically any of the Russian participles, all of the active ones are -ing ending in English. (the others are -ed/-en, bent, shaken, etc.)
    I'd like some confirmation on this; I believe past active and present active differ only in what they can refer to. The adverbial participles are made to match with a verb, in the same way adjectives do to nouns, SOOoo, the idea is that a past adverb matches a past conjugated verb, and a present adverb to a present verb. Thus, I propose your sentence should include ожидав and so on.

    Perfective and Imperfective probably way over my head, but a small voice in my head whispers увидеть would fit here.

    I believe that should be передо мной , not menja, because he is staying in place before him, rather than moving into the space before him [something "standing" doesn't really involve].

    In that clause, the one who смотрит is the one whose beloved town it is. It may be that свой doesn't ever refer to participles, and that it always goes all the way back to the main conjugated verb's subject of the sentence: я. IDUNNO, Very good question.

    он не был там , this may be correct, we'll wait for a Russian on this one as well, but I think it would sound more Russian as: но его там не было [word order up to you]. Same change with старик in the previous sentence

    Comma placement is... Unsure at best for me. I believe the golden rule is ONLY ever place commas to segregate verb-like-things in camps. The idea being, that adverbial participles can have their own objects [things in the accusative case and whatnot] so in order to draw boundaries we place commas, so that when you're mixing up word order you know how much of the words can be linked to which verb-like-thing.

    The sentence without any changes but comma placement could be:
    ...и понял, что старик больше не был в поле зрения. Я обвёл кругом малинкого дома на крыше, в любую минуту ожидая видеть его, стоя передо меня руки за спиной, смотря на свой любимы город;- но он не был там. (the last 5 words are artistically set apart so comma versus semicolon, the difference is up to you)

    руки за спиной is in the nominative plural.... This may be a problem. In english we shove word phrases in there indiscriminately, however I think this could cause confusion in Russian on minor levels. Perhaps tie the phrase down to a preposition like: с(o) его/своими руками за спиной, though that still doesn't seem quite perfect =/

    смотря and стоя can not be a adverbs here because they are referring to 'его' not обвёл, therefore they would be an active past participle declined in the accusative-animate.

    ... И понял, что старика больше не было в поле зрения. Я обвёл кругом на крыше маленького дома, ожидая в любую минуту увидеть его, стоявшего передо мной с руками его за спиной, смотревшего на его любимый город; а его там и не было.

    The specifics of vocabulary are beyond me though I propose:
    дома perhaps здания

    обвёл perhaps обходил? Though I think обходить/обойти mean more around a specific obstacle than around an area. I would put my money on imperfective, whichever verb, due to all the detail added to the word being so... Temporally extensive.

    и can also be a particle [not participle ], in a fantastically useful way. Wiktionary's explanation:
    (preceding a verb) Emphasizes the truth of the following verb. Note that "есть ‎(jestʹ)" is also used, which is usually omitted.
    Which is basically saying if быть is the verb emphasized, it is not uncommon to see есть brought back out of omission.
    In our case the verb is быть in the past tense, which doesn't get omitted anyway.

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    ...и понял, что старик больше не был в поле зрения. Я обошёл вокруг {маленкого дома|домика} на крыше, в любую минуту ожидая увидеть его стоящего передо мной, с руками за спиной, смотрящего на свой любимый город;- но его там не было.
    Note, that "но он не был там" is legal phrase, but it doesn't match well to this surrounding. It's more about "Does he travel to Africa? - Нет, он не был там."

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    Почтенный гражданин xXHoax's Avatar
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    Он не был там.
    ~He hasn't been there.

    Его там не было
    He wasn't there.

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    'Я обошёл вокруг домика на крыше, в любую минуту ожидая увидеть его стоящего передо мной, с руками за спиной, смотрящего на свой любимый город;- но его там не было.'

    кругом:- when to use this vs вокруг?
    видеть:- why увидеть (perfective)?
    он (не был там) > Его там не было:- why его and было, grammatically? To me, that reads as 'him wasn't there'...
    I forgot to add, thanks for the explanations of который, etc. All makes sense to me.

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    Почтенный гражданин xXHoax's Avatar
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    Not sure on the вокруг vs кругом

    Увидеть because the whole event is wrapped up, seeing happens and it's over. Sort of like: he is not hoping to be seeing him, he's hoping TO SEE him, as a solitary whole event. Imperfective and perfective are super abstract, admittedly, though are not without reasons.

    его is used because Russian allows the Genitive case special power when talking about absences and nonexistence. Often can be found cases where what you would think would be the subject, is put in the genitive, and the verb is conjugated as "impersonal", which just looks like third person singular. Certain verbs do this when the person in question isn't logically actually DOING anything, emphasizing that it's out of their control. A good example is спаться - to sleep.... Or.... To be slept... спать with cя added--

    Ему не спалось - he didn't sleep, here it's an impersonal verb [whose subject you can think of as some sort of omitted "it" if it floats your boat], and the dative is used. These sort of constructions make more logical sense when you regard the cases in their raw conceptual sense. Dative is a bit more attributive.
    It was not slept to him, sleep didn't come to him

    Он не поспал - he didn't sleep - but here it's more as though he just didn't go to bed and stayed up

    One of the Genitive's many traits deals with absence.

    У меня есть карандаш
    У меня нет карандаша [some teachers explain нет as sometimes being a combination of не есть ]

    I have a pencil
    I don't have a pencil

    У меня был карандаш
    У меня не было карандаша

    I had a pencil
    I didn't have a pencil

    Usually it's a good idea to think of things in a sentence by sentence grammatical sense, when learning Russian. In this case however, try to think of things in abstract inherent meanings. Imagine you were born in this language where you have these cases, using it for years, and it follows that theses cases would start to form a small mind of their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grafrich View Post
    кругом:- when to use this vs вокруг?
    I am unsure too. Maybe 'кругом' is slowly dying now and is giving this role to 'вокруг'... I am not sure. Anyway it sounds strange for me 'обошёл кругом домика'. I find 'кругом' suitable for 'Кругом не было никого' or 'он повернулся кругом' - as whole place all around or as 180 degrees of turn, but not in this role. However, dictionaries say that old russian writers used it in this way, so, maybe, my point of view is biased by local tendentions.

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    Властелин iCake's Avatar
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    I think that the only real difference between вокруг and кругом is that the former can DIRECTLY specify a place around which the "circle" is. To clarify:

    Вокруг дома никого не было. It's a very good sentence meaning that there was no one around the house.
    Вокруг никого не было/Кругом никого не было - Also 2 good phrases meaning that there were no one around.
    Кругом дома никого не было - No, this is bad. Кругом cannot be used to specify a location. I think it points at your location by default or at a location around which the action is being taken.

    In other, more grammatical words - вокруг can be both a preposition and adverb, кругом is an adverb only, at least in its modern usage. As I also remember examples of its prepositinal usage in "old" texts, as @Alex80 noted above. However, I think this is either regional or "folk talk".

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80
    Anyway it sounds strange for me 'обошёл кругом домика'.
    That's because it's a badly composed sentence. "обошёл кругом домик" would sound a whole lot better, don't you think? Note: that кругом would relate to the verb in that case and not to домик, adverbial relation.

    Now that I think of it, this preposition adverb thing opens up some room for creativity.

    Они уселись кругом вокруг костра - this would totally make sense Although, no one would say it like this as кругом becomes absolutely redundant in that case. But that still makes total sense
    xXHoax likes this.
    I do not claim that my opinion is absolutely true.
    If you've spotted any mistake in my English, please, correct it. I want to be aware of any mistakes to efficiently eliminate them before they become a habit.

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    Ok, thanks. So maybe I'll just stick to using 'вокруг', as it seems to be more current, and a tiny bit more versatile. Not sure why I chose 'кругом' anyway. My vocabulary choices often seem a bit random to me, in hindsight.
    он (не был там) > Его там не было:- I hadnt thought of его as genitive in this sentence, it makes sense, whereas thinking of as accusative doesnt.

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