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Thread: Perfective, imperfective ... um, what?

  1. #1
    Увлечённый спикер Lindsay's Avatar
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    Perfective, imperfective ... um, what?

    I am starting to encounter terms like perfective, infinitive and other grammar terms, and I have no idea what they mean. I've tried googling and I can find definitions, but I still don't really understand what they all are. I'm not even talking about Russian at this point, I don't even understand them as they relate to English!

    Can somebody please recommend a website or book that explains these terms in a practical way - e.g., "if you are talking about something you did last week you use the ____ form of the verb" or something like that.

    Thanks,
    Lindsay

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  3. #3
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    In short infinitive is a basic form of verbs which is used in vocabularies. In English infinitives are "to be", "to do", "to take" etc.

    Perfective and Imperfective are aspects of Russian verbs. Each Russian verb belongs to one of those aspects. Very roughly Imperfective Russian verbs have functions similar to English Present and Continuous tenses while Perfective Russian verbshave functions similar to English Perfect tenses. (Russian produces new verbs where English just changes tense.)

    I think such information about English you can find in any English school grammar book.
    Kiev disorders is an internal Ukrainian social phenomenon with unclear perspectives. Military occupation of Crimea is an international aggression act with bad long-term consequenses for everyone. Irresponcible malevolence and dishonest tendency to justify the latter with the former is a sign of fundamental moral disability of Russian society.

  4. #4
    Властелин
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    Perfective Russian verbshave functions similar to English Perfect tenses.
    Вот это имеет отдалённое отношение к правде.

  5. #5
    Подающий надежды оратор
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    the problem is if you ask a Russian what the other word (in the pair perfective/imperfective) they won't know As a foreigner learning the language we are taught to learn them in pairs, but that wont' work for you on the street of Novgorod. And after you explain, or give examples, they won't be able to give you an exactpair because as soon as one starts adding prefixes it becomes perfective (but not necessarily the dictionary pair) not to mention other ways it gets complicated

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    Почтенный гражданин alexsms's Avatar
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    Hi, Lindsay. Yesterday somebody recommended me this site: Englishtips.org: Learning English Together

    It's both in Russian and in English. There you can find and download a lot of of grammar gooks. Regarding you questions, any grammar book might help if you need to understand the idea of 'perfect', 'infinitive', etc.

  7. #7
    Властелин
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    This is all not very good. В таблице на МR предложения типа "Я встал, умылся, позавтракал и пошёл на работу" или "Иван Грозный умер в 1584 году" куда надо поместить?

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    Почтенный гражданин
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    The concept of perfective/imperfective seemed frightening to me at first, when I undertook the goal of learning this language. But, in practice, it wasn't terribly complicated, although I am still guilty of choosing the wrong aspect for the wrong situation. Aspect of the Russian Verbs <-- Here's the explanation on masterrussian.com, with some examples.

    The terms that really threw me, personally, were those that are used in declensions (nouns): nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, prepositional and instrumental cases.. For a great while I missed the obvious, that these names were self-descriptive - nominative = name (nom) , accusative = accusatory (i.e., accusing the dir. object), genitive = [of the] source (genesis), dative = recipient (Latin "datus" = "given") prepositional = used in prepositions, instrumental = [descriptive of] the instrument used ... my terror for the terms ceased when I came to this realization.

    Everyone has their own learning style, but it behooves me, when encountering strange verbiage like this, to remember it but to hesitate to dissect its meaning, until later when I can conceptualize the term on all fronts - as you can tell, etymology is important to me..

    well! - I'd meant to be more helpful with this post, but I can explain further if anything requires elucidation..
    luck/life/kidkboom
    Грязные башмаки располагают к осмотрительности в выборе дороги. /*/ Muddy boots choose their roads with wisdom. ;

  9. #9
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Here's some more: see pages 284 through 289

    http://newstar.rinet.ru/~goga/biblio/lipson/lipson.html





  10. #10
    Увлечённый спикер Lindsay's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone, I sort-of have it but clearly it's not something one just understands immediately!

    So ... is this right or wrong ...
    "I am seeing a movie next week". "Seeing" is imperfective, as it implies the flow of time during the event.
    "I will see a movie next week". "See" is perfective, as it refers to the complete action.

    Thanks,
    Lindsay

  11. #11
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Lindsay, we do not have perfective/imperfective verbs in English so your examples with see and seeing are not correct. We do have the perfect tense (present and past as in I have seen, I had seen). These are missing in russian and give them as much grief as perf/imperf give us.
    Perfective focuses on the RESULT of the action, imp. focuses on the action itself.

    Я буду читать газету завтра. I will read the newspaper tomorrow.
    Я прочту газету завтра. I'll get the newspaper read tomorrow. I'll read it through.
    Вы будете делать это завтра. You'll do it tomorrow.
    Вы сделаете это завтра. You'll get it done tomorrow.

    Я ездил в Москву. I went to Moscow.
    Я ехал в Москву. I went to Moscow.
    In the first, the focus is on travel, so the verb may or may not have been repeated. Usually means round trip, even with a prefix as in Они съездили в Москву. (but motion verbs is another can of worms!) I don't even know whether you can say Они съехали в Москву. Кто-нибудь не подскажет?

    In the second, the focus is on the result, I went, and I am still there.
    Lampada likes this.

  12. #12
    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika View Post
    ...I don't even know whether you can say Они съехали в Москву. Кто-нибудь не подскажет? ...
    Нет, так сказать нельзя. Нужно: Они переехали в Москву. То есть поменяли город проживания.

    А съехать можно с квартиры: Они уже здесь (в этой квартире) не проживают. Они давно отсюда съехали.
    Он съехал (выбыл) и мы не знаем его новый адрес.
    Когда вы съезжаете с этой квартиры? -- Скоро. Ждём, когда новый дом достроют.

    Ещё можно съехаться: Они уже давно встречаются и решили съехаться ( и решили жить вместе ). Обменяли две свои квартиры на одну большую и недавно съехались.
    Наконец-то все съехались (все приехали) - можно пикник начинать.

    Галстук съехал набок. Шапка съехала на глаза. (Из Ожегова)
    Очки съехали на кончик носа.

    "Съехать с катушек"
    (идиома) = Сойти с ума.

    Съехать можно с горы на лыжах, на санках. Да съезжай уже, чего ты ждёшь? --Страшно, гора очень крутая.
    У машины спустило колесо и водитель съехал на обочину (дороги).
    Водитель не справился с управлением и машина съехала в кювет.

    Неудачно съехали: http://video.meta.ua/911141.video



  13. #13
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    This is all very confusing. You are all mixing up a lot of different concepts from English in order to explain this. I am pretty clear on the concepts of English grammar, even if it is not my native language, while still a bit shaky on the Russian ones, so the following may include errors. But I hope to show at least that it is of little use to try and find relations between the concepts of English and Russian grammar, and it is better to try and come to terms with the foreign grammar and its ideas and implications directly.

    First off, perfective and imperfective are aspects of verbs. In English, simple and progressive are similar, but not identical aspects. They are not tenses.

    English has past perfect, past, present perfect, present, future and future perfect tenses. Each of these has simple and progressive aspects. The simple form of a verb is not marked in a special way (eg. go, went, gone), the progressive form uses a conjugated form of "to be" plus the present participle (am going, was going, have been going, will have been going etc.).

    Russian has past, present and future tenses. Verbs with an imperfective aspect form all three tenses. Verbs with a perfective aspect only form past and future tenses. That's a very important difference. Many pairs of perfective and imperfective verbs seem to be derived from one another, but not in a regular fashion as in English. For example, most of the verbs of motion such as идти have perfective partners with по-, for example пойдти, but купить (buy) is perfective and покупать is imperfective. And there are a lot more prefixes, and prefixed imperfective verbs dervied from prefixed perfective verbs, and unrelated pairs like говорить / сказать and so on. You can see common tendencies in certain transformations but that's all.

    Frequently an English progressive form from any tense corresponds with a Russian imperfective form because neither focuses on the action as being complete but rather as going on. Likewise, an English simple form may correspond with a Russian perfective form when it focuses on an action as completed. But the English simple form can refer to the present tense, whereas the Russian perfective verb cannot, and it has other uses as well, some of which are covered by imperfective verbs in Russian. Furthermore, an English verb only has one infinitive, one imperative, one present participle and one past participle, whereas both perfective and imperfective verbs in Russian have infinitives and imperatives with different uses, and imperfective verbs tend to form active and passive present participles and imperfective verbs tend to form active and passive past participles.

    Examples:

    Меня зовут Робин. The verb is звать, "to call", it is imperfective. This is not a single action but a general one. "They are generally calling me Robin" so to speak. But in English it is "my name is Robin" or "they call me Robin" or "I am called Robin", all of which use the simple aspect of the respective verbs (be / call). English uses simple verbs for general, repeated actions.

    Он позвал меня поужинать. In this sentence the perfective word for "to call" is used, позвать. This is a single completed action, "he called me to dine". "To dine", in Russian поужинать, is also a perfective verb, here infinitive, referring to a single completed instance of dining. English uses the simple form "called" to indicate that the action is complete.

    The English verb "to call" also has the meaning of "to use a phone", in Russian "звонить / позвонить". Он позвонил means "he called", a single completed action. Он часто звонил" is a series of actions, часто is a watchword which implies that you are supposed to use an imperfective verb. In English, however, you can say "he often called" which implies that he does so no longer, or "he has been calling often", which implies that he is still doing so, or even "he has called often" which implies a series of completed calls still going on. Tense adds complexity here, but one should not confuse the English perfect tense with the Russian perfective aspect.

    The English perfect tense implies that something started in the past and is still going on when it uses progressive aspect. "I have been learning Russian for three years". In Russian I can simply use present tense, which restricts me to imperfective verbs: Я учу русский язык уже три года. I cannot use a perfective verb at all because I haven't finished learning yet. In English I can't use present tense to say the same thing: I can say "I am learning Russian" but can't give a time frame, and I can say "I learn Russian" as a kind of general statement as in "whenever I find a minute I learn some Russian".

    The perfect tense with simple aspect implies something which took place in the past and has a result or implication in the present. "I have seen the movie" - I watched the movie in the past (completed activity) and can talk about it in the present (present implication). In Russian I can say "я посмотрел фильм", which uses the perfective verb "посмотреть", but it really just means "I watched the movie" and like this phrase does not necessarily, grammatically, imply anything about the present, which the English perfect tense does.

    I am sure one could write a complete book just on the aspects of English and Russian. Or two books. But I hope I could show that there is no simple "this is like the other" explanation, even if I might have caused more confusion.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

  14. #14
    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Also see this post from chaika: Database of Aspectual Pairs of Russian Verbs

  15. #15
    Увлечённый спикер Lindsay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika View Post
    Perfective focuses on the RESULT of the action, imp. focuses on the action itself.
    That's the best definition I've read anywhere!

    This is a clearly a complicated subject - much more so than I realised - so I'm going to work on the assumption that time, patience and lots of mistakes is going to be the path to getting verbs right!

    Thanks,
    Lindsay

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