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Thread: Words about ending, finishing, etc.

  1. #1
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    Words about ending, finishing, etc.

    I am working on building my vocabulary, and I am trying to make some sense out of words in this category. What are the shades of meaning?

    Very important for my brain is to understand the prefixes and roots and how they shade the meaning. Or are they just arbitrary?

    Final...

    заключительный
    законченный
    окончательно

    To conclude, finish...

    заключать
    закончить
    окончить

    The end, conclusion...

    заключение
    окончание
    конец

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    You have posed a good question, but one that is very difficult to answer. There are two points.

    1. Roots with meaning.
    2. Prefixes and suffixes.

    The basic Slavic root is CVC(C)- where C is consonant and V is vowel. Most Russian words are made up of a root and prefixes and suffixes.

    In your examples, we have:

    заключительный
    related word: ключ- key

    законченный
    окончательно
    related stem: кон- end

    за - ключ - итель - #н - ый
    meaning
    за- (I don't know what за means in this context- ау! русские помогите!)
    ключ - key, conclude
    итель - one/smthing that does the action of preceding verbal root (cf. писатель, учитель)
    #н - suffix
    ый - adjectival suffix, masc. sg. (at the lowest level it would be expressed as -ой)

    за -
    кон- ending or beginning
    (falling apart here in my explanation because I can't give you historical information, such as the protoslavic suffix -ik-)
    anyway, just believe
    кон#ч-
    -нн- normal past passive participal formation
    -ый (see above)

    Notice that окончательно is similar to this latter one. So you have two main roots, different, "key" and "end/beginning". Only the second two of your examples are related. The first is from a different root.

    As far as shades of meaning go, you will have to learn 100 words with each prefix, and then you will be able to grasp the shades of meaning. Of course, there will always be words like написать, which consists of prefix na-, root p'is write, infix -a- (verb marker), and -t' (desinence - infinitive marker) in which the prefix has absolutely zero semantic meaning, and serves only to make the infinitive писать perfective. Other times на- does have a meaning "on/onto".

    At the stage you are at now, learn the roots. Do not waste your time trying to figure out the prefixes and infixes because they are less defined. You want to learn that the root пись has something to do with writing, so you will be able to recognize and even guess at words like подпись, надпись, летопись, письмо, скоропись, недописанный, выписать. HTH.

    So whenever you see a word with кон you will think about "end", and for one with ключ you will think about "key". You can always lock somebody in the slammer and that will be the end of him.

  3. #3
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    I am not a linguist, so my opinion may very well be just a product of my imagination. It seems to me that за- in this context indicates certain closure, achieving the goal. There is no such word as "ключить" (at least in modern Russian), but "заключить" could mean both "закончить" and "запереть". Sorta like when you say that you "locked smbd up", the up bit plays the same role as the prefix за-. Certainly, if I understand any of it correctly.
    I've got a TV, and I'm not afraid to use it

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    so adoc provided a good example, saying that за means closure. But more often than not the prefix за- relates to starting something -- зачать means to begin/conceive, and закурить means to light up/have a smoke, and with many (non motion) verbs за- means 'to start action X'. With motion verbs it means "go behind". As I said, there are only very general rules for prefixes, and the only way to get the hang of them is through experiencing a hundred or so. Then you will start to get the feel of за. and над and по and при and so it goes.

  5. #5
    Старший оракул
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    Once again, to quote the brilliant Nicholas Maltzoff...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The prefix за- expresses:

    a) The beginning of an action: петь - запеть (to sing), дрожать - задрожать (to tremble)

    она запела мою любимую песню. - She started to sing my favorite song.

    This type, however, is limited to a small number of verbs. Normally, the beginning of an action is expressed with auxiliary verbs.

    он начал работать. - He started to work.
    она стала хорошо учиться. - He started to study well.

    b) The completion of an action: мерзнуть - замерзнуть (to freeze), сохнуть - засохнуть (to dry up)

    река замерзла - The river has frozen.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also, this prefix will have different meanings when it comes to motion verbs.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, that helps.

    Would you say, then, that закончить and окончить are synonyms?

  7. #7
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    I think the main difference between the two is that you use окончить to talk about graduating from school or college.

    оканчивать университет

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