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Thread: Weird usage?

  1. #1
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    Weird usage?

    Why does the author use стрелял in "Неизвестный убийца стрелял из пистолета в "Мерседес", в котором ехал Руслан Ямадаев..." and not the perfective?
    исправьте мои ошибки :P

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    prob. cuz he took a few shots, not just one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    prob. cuz he took a few shots, not just one.
    No, not because of that. It's just the narrative style in Russian...

    For example: Я звонила ему, он сказал, что сейчас приедет.
    That doesn't mean that I called several times.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    So is it more or less the same rhetorical device as we'd use in English, "Unknown killers shoot into a Mercedes carrying (so and so)..."

    Albeit using the present tense...in English this gives the action a more real and actual and unfolding or urgent feel.

    Is that the same feeling the imperfective gives in this case?

    I'm kind of wondering what impression this lays upon a Russian.
    исправьте мои ошибки :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trzeci_Wymiar
    Why does the author use стрелял in "Неизвестный убийца стрелял из пистолета в "Мерседес", в котором ехал Руслан Ямадаев..." and not the perfective?
    Unless you provide more context, we can't give a proper answer. Here's the scoop. Even completed past actions are often given in the imperfective if the result of the action isn't relevant to the immediate context. This is called общефактическое употребление несовершенного вида "the general-factual meaning of the imperfective." At first guess, I'd say we have imperfective here because the point of the passage is that someone shot at Ямадаев; and the perfective is not used because the writer is not commenting on whether he successfully or unsuccessfully hit Ямадаев. When the result of the action is discussed, perfective is needed.

    A well known example: он поступал в университет "he applied to the university." We use imperfective because we aren't commenting on the success or failure of his action.

    If that sounds like a subtle or vague description, it is. Mastering when to use imperfective and perfective is, I think, the most difficult part of Russian. Trickier than case. Trickier than preposition selection.

    For discussion of the general-factual meaning, see O. P. Rassudova "Aspectual Usage in Modern Russian." (Russkiy Yazyk 1984)

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    Quote Originally Posted by doninphxaz
    When the result of the action is discussed, perfective is needed.
    It isn't needed, actually. "Неизвестный стрелял в пассажиров мерседеса, один из них убит, другой тяжело ранен".

    It's a style used in titles, reports (both media or police) and so on, "телеграфный стиль". You just enumerate facts: стрелял, попал. Of course, you can use perfective as well.

    You can also use present time, when you tell a story:
    Вот как всё происходило: мерседес останавливается на перекрёстке, к нему подходит неизвестный...
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Полуношник
    Quote Originally Posted by doninphxaz
    When the result of the action is discussed, perfective is needed.
    It isn't needed, actually. "
    I'll take issue with that. As a generality in Russian, when a clause directly addresses the result of the action, that action is expressed by a perfective verb. In

    Неизвестный стрелял в пассажиров мерседеса, один из них убит, другой тяжело ранен.
    the first clause is a general description of what happened without direct focus on result; thus it is in the imperfective. The following two clauses discuss results of that situation and thus use perfective past passive participles that express that focus.

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