Twin Verbs Primer

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Phreddy
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Twin Verbs Primer

Postby Phreddy » Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:44 pm

Twin Verbs Primer

On the ‘Verb a day’ thread it has been indicated even argued that there is a need for learning the twin verbs together. I am inclined to agree but not on that thread. Малко по малко (Malko po malko) little by little, as we say here!
I don’t think that simply learning them as shown in the books without further explanation is helpful either but to go into all the complications of ‘aspect’ is also too confusing so I propose that we start a new thread with the aim of learning the twins with a simple usage in the present tense.
Here (below) is an example, tell me how that suits any interested parties!
If there is any call for it I will start/continue the thread.
I will also do a shadow thread that deals with a simple future tense using the same verbs. Again, sample below.
Perhaps someone else will volunteer to do another with the simple past.
That would probably deal with all the problems of ‘aspect’ at a low level without using the dreaded word – some hopes! Anyway it is a start and it would bring an awareness of that side of the grammar. I would add here that I am only half a step in front of all this or maybe level pegging. BK’s input would be of invaluable help here!
I also know that this will only scratch the surface of ‘aspect’.

Phreddy

Example Post 1:

Twin Verbs and the present tense.

Sticky: All verbs are twinned. Not all verbs have a twin that is different, they are – identical twins! Both verbs have the same meaning.

The verbs in Bulgarian are governed by something called ‘aspect’ which has two parts perfective and imperfective.
It is not intended to explain aspect here except to note that perfective indicates a completed or finished action. With certain exceptions this does not occur in the present tense since all actions are on-going or incomplete and so are imperfective.

The first verb of the pair given in this thread is the imperfective verb and is the one shown in the dictionary where only one is given or is the first shown where both are given.

The second verb, the perfective, has the same meaning as the first and in the present tense is used wherever one would use the expression ‘to do something’ eg: to go, to live etc.
For the sake of completeness, there are two other occasions where the perfective verb is used:
After conditional words such as когато ‘when’ and ако ‘if’ showing that something will occur (and will be finished or completed);
Where са да (in order to) or just да on its own is used. Each shows the intention for an action to be completed.
To avoid complication, it is not my intention of using the second or third condition in this thread.


Today’s pair: To Buy: Купувам (Да) купя

I buy (am buying) bread Купувам хляб
I want to buy bread Искам да купя хляб

Can you supply further examples buying other items and using other ‘persons’ ie not first person singular that I have used?


Example Post 2:

Twin Verbs and the simple future tense.

The future tense is made by putting Ще in the sentence before the verb.

Before using the future tense it is first necessary to learn and understand some terms.
The future tense has two aspects or views: Perfective sometimes called Terminative or Completed and Imperfective sometimes called Incomplete or Continuous.
Perfective refers to a completed task or a single task – a one off “I will buy a car tomorrow”
Imperfective refers to an ongoing task “I will buy a newspaper every day”
It is these distinctions that form the basis of the decision as to which of the pair to use.

Today’s pair: To Buy: Купувам (Да) купя

Утре ще да купя кола – Tomorrow I will buy a car
Ще купувам вестник всеки ден – I will buy a newspaper every day.

Can you supply further examples buying other items and using other ‘persons’ ie not first person singular that I have used?

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Postby Milka » Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:36 pm

Hi Phreddy,

Having been a newbie learner last year when the Verb a Day thread was started I agree that that thread needs to stay as uncomplicated as possible. I was eager to learn but the pace moved too quickly at times, talking about stuff my Teach Yourself books hadn't touched on, and I had to abandon following it.

A year on I've read about twin verbs and now appreciate what Balkankiwi and others where trying to say. 'Then' was too soon but now...

:smt039 Count me in as joining your lessons!

M

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Postby Phreddy » Sat Jul 07, 2007 9:08 am

Thanks Milka,
I was in the same situation, all one wants to know is some simple 'cat sat on the mat' stuff. I will approach the Twins with the same basic view. When people are ready to move on they will.

Phreddy

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Postby balkankiwi » Sat Jul 07, 2007 1:19 pm

Hi Phreddy,

I think its good what you're trying to do here. I wonder though if those explanations you provide will help or hinder progress in our collective understanding of when and how to use the differing aspects of Bulgarian verbs.

For me at any rate, there is little of value in these technical labels "perfective" and "imperfective". They may speak volumes to philologists but I suggest that for mere mortals like us here in MyBg, they are not at all helpful in creating a mental image of the two forms of a Bulgarian verb.

For what its worth though, here is the explanation provided in the very first Bulgarian language book I bought, back in 1994 - "Teach Yourself Bulgarian", then in its first edition:

"In Bulgarian, an action can be seen from two different points of view, or aspects: either as incomplete and still going on, or as momentary and complete. We refer to [the former] as imperfective and [the latter] as perfective verbs. In fact, you can think of each verb as having a 'twin' with which it forms an 'aspectual pair', and when you come across a new verb you should try and [sic] learn it together with its twin."


Which is all very well and good, but try to remember 24 hours later, say, which form of a verb is the perfective and which form is the imperfective and there's every chance you'll get it back to front. Because we really don't think of verbs as being "incomplete", or "momentary" - let alone as "perfective" or "imperfective". Because, being native English speakers, we've never had to think in this way.

So, in English we say "I go to Sofia" (or more typically we use the verb "to be" and the present participle of the "doing" verb - ie, I am going to Sofia). But to express an intent to do this, the "action" verb doesn't change - "I intend to go to Sofia tomorrow". Or "At the moment I buy (am buying) apples" and "This afternoon I want to buy apples."

Ok, so its different in Bulgarian but, as I observed above, its not helpful to try to learn the "perfective" and the "imperfective" forms of Bulgarian verbs. Because these obtuse terms don't really tell us native-English-speaking foreigners which is which.

So, I've settled on thinking in terms of the "simple" form and the "da" form of the verb. Here's why -

The "simple" form (ie, the imperfective) - the form you'll normally see in the dictionaries: We use this to make a simple statement about what we're (or of course someone else) doing. Think of it as the answer you'd give if someone asks you what you're doing right now. So - "В момента аз купувам ябълки" (At the moment I'm buying apples).

The "da" form (ie, the perfective) - I call it this because this form of a Bulgarian verb must be preceded by да, the Bulgarian equivalent of "to", that little word we use to join two verbs (which I just did!). And the most common use we Bulgarian learners will make of the "da" form is when we want to express a present state of mind about a contemplated future action. Take the verb "to pay" - in its simple form, its "плащам" (plashtam), so "В момента плащам моята сметка" (At the moment I'm paying my bill). But the "da" form is "платя". So if we want to say, eg, "This afternoon I want to pay my bill", we have to say "Този следобед искам да платя моята сметка".

Now Phreddy, as you rightly point out, there are further refinements to the rule but my thinking is that if we can get our collective heads around this basic difference in usage of the two aspects of a Bulgarian verb, we'll be well on our collective way.

I'll pause here for breath - and any reactions to the above ramblings ...

Cheers,
BK

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Postby helray » Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:32 pm

Ooooh eck Phreddy, I'm really trying :?

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Postby Phreddy » Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:20 pm

Hi BK,
I mostly agree but all the books and the people (those who learned grammar) use Perfective and Imperfective.
Following your argument about learning the twins from another post - something like: "...if they cannot be bothered or it is too difficult..." - then the same applies to P and ImP (I think).

I might add that my wife agrees with you whole heartedly. She gets lost with nouns and verbs but we persevere. I don't know a lot more but one has to have a universal term and we are in the universe og Bulgaria so P and Imp are the terms.

Let's plough ahead and see if it helps. I suspect that we will soon know.

Phreddy

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Postby Phreddy » Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:22 pm

What's the problem Helray?
I will try to help.

Phreddy

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Postby balkankiwi » Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:19 pm

Phreddy wrote:Hi BK,
I mostly agree but all the books and the people (those who learned grammar) use Perfective and Imperfective.
Following your argument about learning the twins from another post - something like: "...if they cannot be bothered or it is too difficult..." - then the same applies to P and ImP (I think).


Phreddy


I see Phreddy that u are tight with модерацията and that political correctness is reigning here - as well it (probably) should. Ok, I've given this "twin verbs" thing my best shot. I was just trying to explain what helped me to grasp the point. I think it was not bad stuff actually. But enough rebuffs are enough. I'm not motivated to spend more time on it. I wish you all the best.

Cheers,
BK
:)

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Postby Sagitarius » Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:38 pm

Please Balkankiwi, don't retire. I loved your explanations!! Along with Phreddy's I am finally getting my head round the 3 verb groups and the 'aspects'. After 9 months of kindergarten my 4 year old daughter is fluent in BG and I am desperatley trying to catch up with her.

Also to all the contributers to verb a day, which I have been reading for the last 2 days. A big thank you. It gets lonely trying to study from the text books and then try out your phrases at the village shop to puzzled expressions. :?

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Postby balkankiwi » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:23 pm

Saggitarius,

Lovely of u to say a few words :) I'm only replying (a) because of my ego and (b) because of your reference to your daughter.

Since I have a daughter here who turned 3 at the end of May and who speaks Bulgarian as a first language and who now speaks it a bl**dy sight better than me! On the weekend, when I was in her home town (I won't go into all that), I said to her "Kati, bix iskala da otidish s men do dvorata za uchilishteto?" Which was to say, "Would you like to go with me to the school playground?" (which is next to her apartment in Troyan, and where she often plays with other neighbourhood kids). And she corrected me - saying in a loud voice "DVORA!". You see, the noun is "dvor" (yard) not "dvora". And so adding the definite article ("the yard") makes only "dvora" not "dvorata". And thus I was corrected by a 3-yr-old Bulgarian speaker.

It is for such reasons that I am motivated to impart my own experiences with the Bulgarian language. But I am still not motivated to impart more on the twin aspects of verbs. Но все пак ... :)


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