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Thread: When to use на + verb of motion; example: налетать

  1. #1
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    When to use на + verb of motion; example: налетать

    Hello All,

    On this page
    Verbs of Motion - Russian Language Lesson 16
    Is this example sentence
    Он налетал 5000 миль. He has flown 5000 miles.
    I'm baffled by this. I would have chosen залетел or пролетел (see another similar sentence there: 'Он пробежал 4 мили. He ran 4 miles')
    Why use the imperfective ?
    When is 'на' used with a verb of motion, and what sort of meaning(s) would it have?

    Thanks!

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    "Налетал" here means that by then it was in total. I think prefix "на-" makes it perfective.

    Налетал, набрал, насобирал, накопил.

    Here more: https://explorerussian.com/russian-verb-prefix-ha/
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    That's a good link, thanks.

    So, налетать means 'to fly onto/up against'. That makes sense.
    I couldn't see anything about the prefix making it perfective, in fact 'налететь' is listed as the perfective. This is backed up by this entry here: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%B...B0%D1%82%D1%8C

    Maybe the website I took the sentence from made a mistake? Or is it possible that the Russian sentence translates to 'He flew (maybe back and forth) for 5000 miles', but they didn't make that clear?

    Also, If I had rewritten it as
    Он залетел 5000 миль.
    Он пролетел 5000 миль.
    Would either/both of these sentences mean 'He flew 5000 miles'

    Thanks for the reply and link.

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Your choice here has to be: to have covered (a distance of).

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    > Also, If I had rewritten it as
    > Он залетел 5000 миль.

    It's wrong. "За-летел" implies crossing some border. For example "залетел на территорию", "залетел в ангар", "залетел так далеко как никогда не залетал". It's perfect verb. Also there is slang meaning 'она залетела' - 'she has got unwanted pregnancy' which is clearly derived from idea of 'crossing border'.

    > Он пролетел 5000 миль.

    It's correct, but 'пролетел' tends to be used in context of mentioned event or time period. For example "он пролетел 5000 миль в этот день". It's strange to see it without such context. In contrast, 'налетал' has implied context 'for all life' (however it can be changed easily).
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    Thanks Alex,

    'За' seems to mean 'to go past, or beyond' here then. I knew about 'она залетела', but hadn't thought of it as 'crossing a border.' In English we can say 'he/she crossed the line' meaning that they transgressed, broke some moral code, fell below expected standards of behaviour. Is that sort of how 'залетела' works in this sense?

    I can see how 'пролетел' would need the extra context.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grafrich View Post
    'За' seems to mean 'to go past, or beyond' here then. I knew about 'она залетела', but hadn't thought of it as 'crossing a border.' In English we can say 'he/she crossed the line' meaning that they transgressed, broke some moral code, fell below expected standards of behaviour. Is that sort of how 'залетела' works in this sense?
    Not exactly, but near it.
    First of all in russian we have 'он перешёл черту' in the same meaning as english "cross the line" idiom. "Пере-" as "over-" in "overpass".
    But prefix "за-" produces another idiom in similar sense: "он зашёл слишком далеко" which is "went too far" in english.
    And "Зашёл" and "залетел" do really have similar mental image derived from prefix "за-" meaning "crossing some border". This "border" can have different nature: "он зашёл в реку по пояс", "птица залетела в окно", "мяч залетел за забор", "он зашёл в гости" and so on. But there is point of interest (time/place/behaviour and so on) which was "overpassed" and perfect form of verb implies it.
    There is no moral evaluation in "она залетела", just idea of overpassing and maybe flying as some quick or high/important act.
    There is noun "залёт" with much broader meaning "very bad situation / circumstances", for example "вот это залёт!".


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    "But there is point of interest (time/place/behaviour and so on) which was "overpassed""

    That makes sense, it ties together the different meanings of this one.

    I'm surprised that "она залетела" doesn't have some blame or judgement, or at least ridicule attached to it; usually slang language tries to pack as much punch as possible!

    Are my translations here correct, btw?

    "птица залетела в окно" the bird flew into the window (through the open window?
    "птица налетела в окно" the bird flew into the window (closed window... и свернула себе шею?)

    Thank you for your time Alex, it's appreciated as ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grafrich View Post
    "птица залетела в окно" the bird flew into the window (through the open window?
    Yes, it' correct.
    Also it can be said as "влетела В окно".
    "птица налетела в окно" the bird flew into the window (closed window... и свернула себе шею?)
    Welll, it is not correct.
    "На-лететь" is not very close to "за-лететь" (and it's not the same as 'на-летать').
    Well, it's perfect verb, but mental idea is not about crossing border (reaching border), but about strike in object/border from the flying state.
    Налететь is about man who run fast in the crowd and hit with the chest another man. He is "налетел на" - like flying object falling from the skies hit something.
    'Spaceship налетел на asteroid' is another good example.
    But all of this requires particle "на". Implying "hit from above".
    "налететь в" is incorrect.
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    Okay, so "птица налетела на окно" would be okay?
    Or
    "птица налетала на окно, но поворотила(сь), и поэтому не сворачивала себе шею"
    I think the difference between 'за' and 'на' is fairly clear to me now.
    Thanks for that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by grafrich View Post
    Okay, so "птица налетела на окно" would be okay?
    Or
    "птица налетала на окно, но поворотила(сь), и поэтому не сворачивала себе шею"
    I think the difference between 'за' and 'на' is fairly clear to me now.
    Thanks for that!
    I'd have conveyed that thought like this:

    Птица налетела на окно, но боком, поэтому не свернула себе шею.
    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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    Thanks iCake, I was hoping to convey the idea that the bird was about to hit the window, but swerved at the last moment, and flew off unharmed. Your version has it hitting the window sideways? I think.
    'не свернула себе шею.' I thought that actions that didn't happen are expressed using imperfective verbs, is that different here because ''свернуть себе шею" is a stock expression?

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    Quote Originally Posted by grafrich View Post
    Thanks iCake, I was hoping to convey the idea that the bird was about to hit the window, but swerved at the last moment, and flew off unharmed. Your version has it hitting the window sideways? I think.
    'не свернула себе шею.' I thought that actions that didn't happen are expressed using imperfective verbs, is that different here because ''свернуть себе шею" is a stock expression?
    Yeah, sideways, but that's effectively the same thing as "swerved at the last moment", because it is difficult to imagine that the bird was flying sideways the whole way. And actions that didn't happen being an imperfective choice? Sorry, I'll be blunt here, it's plain wrong to think of it like that. Happen or didn't happen has barely anything to do with verb aspects.
    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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    Властелин iCake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grafrich View Post
    Thanks iCake, I was hoping to convey the idea that the bird was about to hit the window, but swerved at the last moment, and flew off unharmed. Your version has it hitting the window sideways? I think.
    'не свернула себе шею.' I thought that actions that didn't happen are expressed using imperfective verbs, is that different here because ''свернуть себе шею" is a stock expression?
    Oh, just realized that your version doesn't have the bird actually hitting the window? If so, then налетела is a wrong choice there, because that would mean that it did fly into the window's frame or glass.
    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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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Вот тут хорошие переводы:
    https://context.reverso.net/translat...82%D0%B5%D0%BB
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