Je-imperfectives across languages

The most widespread pattern of forming secondary imperfectives in Slavic is exemplified by the following Old Church Slavonic type:
  • pasti, padǫ (perfective) → padati, padajǫ (imperfective)
  • obrězati, obrěžǫ → obrězati, obrězajǫ
  • sъzьdati, sъziždǫ → sъzidati, sъzidajǫ
  • narešti, narekǫ → naricati, naricajǫ
  • razoriti, razoŗǫ → razaŗati, razaŗajǫ
  • osnovati, osnujǫ → osnyvati, osnyvajǫ
  • počiti, počijǫ → počijati, počijajǫ
That is, these verbs get the suffix -a- both in the infinitive/aorist and present (-a-ti, -a-j-ǫ).

There is, however, a smaller type exemplified by:
  • narešti, narekǫ → naricati, naričǫ
  • skočiti, skočǫ → skakati, skačǫ
  • dvignǫti, dvignǫ → dviʣati, dvižǫ
  • povinǫti sę, povinǫ sę → povinovati sę, povinujǫ sę
  • stati, stanǫ → stajati, stajǫ
  • dati, damь → dajati, dajǫ
That is, the suffix -a- in the infinitive/aorist and the suffix -j- (often obscured by phonetic changes) in the present (-a-ti, -∅-j-ǫ).

This latter type has been mostly eliminated in younger languages, yet Serbo-Croatian still has a number of verbs of it, like sastajati se, sastajem se, or kretati, krećem, or zatezati, zatežem, or naricati, naričem (and, of course, the very widespread secondary prepisivati, prepisujem).

I have two questions in this regard. (1) Does this type survive in other languages (aside from prepisujem-type that does)? (2) In Serbo-Croatian, is there evidence that this type expanded over time by attracting new verbs from the -am-type?

[P. S. Please, do not move this to the etymology forum.]
 
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  • jasio

    Senior Member
    There is, however, a smaller type exemplified by:
    • narešti, narekǫ → naricati, naričǫ
    • skočiti, skočǫ → skakati, skačǫ
    • dvignǫti, dvignǫ → dviʣati, dvižǫ
    • povinǫti sę, povinǫ sę → povinovati sę, povinujǫ sę
    • stati, stanǫ → stajati, stajǫ
    • dati, damь → dajati, dajǫ
    That is, the suffix -a- in the infinitive/aorist and the suffix -j- (often obscured by phonetic changes) in the present (-a-ti, -∅-j-ǫ).

    (...)

    I have two questions in this regard. (1) Does this type survive in other languages (aside from prepisujem-type that does)?
    Would Polish do?
    • Dać / dam -> dawać / daję
    • Stać / stanę -> stawać / staję (This one is tricky, as there are more prf and imprf forms, like stoję, and because of vowel changes its not always clear what belongs to what).
    • Dźwignąć, dźwignę -> dźwigać, dźwigam *)
    • skoczyć, skoczę -> skakać, skaczę
    *) In Polish oral vowel + "-m" suffix often replaces nasal vowels in certain phonological contexts, for example słyszę (hear, 1st ps, impf) vs. słucham (listen, 1st ps, impf).
     
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    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Polish verbs like "znam", "dźwigam", "umiem" are etymologically equivalent to the first type ("znajǫ", "dvigajǫ", "umějǫ"). The first person singular ending "-m" was borrowed from a small set of highly frequent athematic verbs like *dati and *byti. The rest of the paradigm just went through regular sound shifts (znajesz > znaesz > znász > znasz).

    If "dwigać" kept the original (?) paradigm, its conjugation would look like "dźwiżę", "dźwiżesz", "dźwiże" etc.
     
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    Thank you all for the replies.

    Among the Polish examples, skoczyć, skoczę → skakać, skaczę belongs to this type, while in dać, dam → dawać, daję and stać, stanę → stawać, staję the infinitive has w instead of the expected j (these two stems actually come from separate verbs — stawać, stawam and *stajać, staję — combined here into one paradigm). Dźwigam is indeed an etymological aje-verb in Polish.

    In the Slovene examples, the first two do belong to this second type, while metati, mečem is a primary verb (not an imperfective of mesti, metem as it might look).

    I'd probably reformulate my first question. While modern Slavic does retain scattered traces of this second type of derived imperfectives, is there any other language, besides Serbo-Croatian, where these verbs still form a type noticed by grammarians (that is, given among the rules and not in the list of irregular formations)? If there is, then are these verbs just survivors of a once more productive type, or are some of them newly formed? As to Serbo-Croatian, I've read that the latter is true, that is these verbs are often new, though my impression is that it's wrong and they (at least the examples cited) are old. So…
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    In Polish the '-w-' infix (more precisely -a_vowel+w-) is quite regularly used to convert perfective verbs into their imperfective counterparts or gives them a repetitive flavor - often in words in which there is -j- in other languages, and in some cases the infix is replaced by a - j- in personal forms. Dawać, wsłuchiwać się, bywać, czytywać, pisywać, grywać, przegrywać, wygrywać, dopisywać, podpisywać, opisywać, polewać, dolewać, opluwać, etc. Some of them are inflected regularly - dolewam - while others have - j- perhaps with a vowel change (pisuję, daję).

    I know that in case of aspectual pairs there are no strict rules, and the -w- does not work all the time this way either, just to my naive eye it does not look like a random exception. Though merging two distinct inflection patterns could do indeed.

    But, ok - if they do not meet your criteria, then they don't.
     
    In Polish the '-w-' infix (more precisely -a_vowel+w-) is quite regularly used to convert perfective verbs into their imperfective counterparts or gives them a repetitive flavor - often in words in which there is -j- in other languages, and in some cases the infix is replaced by a - j- in personal forms. Dawać, wsłuchiwać się, bywać, czytywać, pisywać, grywać, przegrywać, wygrywać, dopisywać, podpisywać, opisywać, polewać, dolewać, opluwać, etc. Some of them are inflected regularly - dolewam - while others have - j- perhaps with a vowel change (pisuję, daję).

    I know that in case of aspectual pairs there are no strict rules, and the -w- does not work all the time this way either, just to my naive eye it does not look like a random exception. Though merging two distinct inflection patterns could do indeed.

    But, ok - if they do not meet your criteria, then they don't.
    There are two etymological types here:
    (1) dawać, bywać is old (compare Lithuanian dovoti, dovoju; buvoti, buvoju ~ būvoti, būvoju)​
    (2) pisywać, pisuję is new, not even common Slavic: it was finalized already in separate Slavic languages (even within East Slavic alone, Russian has -pʲisyvatʲ, -pʲisyvaju, Belarusian has -pʲisvaʦʲ, -pʲisvaju, Ukrainian has -pısuvatı, -pısuju): Polish combines an innovative infinitive in -ywa- with the inherited present in -uj-
    (this present type otherwise has its own inherited infinitive in -owa-: miłuję, miłować — the type that is old as well, compare in Lithuanian mielauju, mielauti — here u is part of the suffix au, which in Slavic becomes u in a closed syllable but remains ov before the a of the Slavic infinitive).​
    In the type dawać, bywać, etymological is the conjugation bywać, bywam. As to the former verb, in Old Church Slavonic we find synonymic pairs dajati, dajǫ (predominant) and occasional *-davati, *-davajǫ (attested, but not in the infinitive and present singular first, hence with asterisks): in this particular case, Polish, as I have written, has combined the infinitive from one verb, dawać, and the present from another, daję (the same in Russian: davatʲ, daju).

    My point is: what in modern Polish may be interpreted as a pattern you mention, is actually a result of a rather tricky development, the alternation -w-/-j- being its unexpected outcome…

    I realize it all has turned out somewhat confusing, but I can't figure out right now how to explain it more clearly ,-(
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Yeah, I think this is what he is after :) But they need to be -ę, -esz, not -am, -asz.
    Given that almost all Slavic languages lost nasal vowels entirely, I do not think that @ahvalj would expect a nasal suffix in any other sense than 'etymologically nasal'. Even in Polish the nasals merged, then separated again based on a different criteria, and nowadays seem to pass away. Besides, if persons other than the first sgl do count, there is a true nasal in 3rd pl ('dojeżdżają').

    Anyway, virtually all cases I can think of from the top of my head seem to belong to the -w- type, which we already discussed is something else than he's looking for. In some cases there is a vowel swap instead (dogodzić -> dogadzać), but it does not seem to be derived from '-j-' either. "Dojeżdżać" and a few other derivatives of "jeździć" were the only verbs which came to my mind as possible descendants of that -j- type. Plus "skakać" - though it does not include '-j-', but was shortlisted and in modern Polish is inflected exactly as in the example (apart for some regular pronunciation shifts).

    BTW - "prepisivati, prepisujem" seems to be close to 'przepisywać, przepisuję" (along with a bunch of similar words derived from pisać), but I understand that they were excluded upfront.

    Anyway, it's confusing indeed.
     
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    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    Plus "skakać" - though it does not include '-j-', but was shortlisted

    That's covered by

    (often obscured by phonetic changes)

    as skaczesz is from *skak-ješi.

    I've been thinking a lot to find any other examples in Slovenian, but nothing comes to mind. All the -ywać (Polish) or -ivati (SC) are -ovati/-evati in Slovenian (prepisovati, prepisujem).
     
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    As a clue: I am seeking imperfective verbs that have the infinitive in -ati/-at/-ať/-ać and the present (third person singular) in -e/-ie, like in my above Serbo-Croatian examples kretati, kreće, or zatezati, zateže. Ideally, they just have to be mentioned in grammars of the respective languages as a (rare) way to form imperfectives from perfective verbs (that is krenuti → kretati, kreće).
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    As a clue: I am seeking imperfective verbs that have the infinitive in -ati/-at/-ať/-ać and the present (third person singular) in -e/-ie, like in my above Serbo-Croatian examples kretati, kreće, or zatezati, zateže. Ideally, they just have to be mentioned in grammars of the respective languages as a (rare) way to form imperfectives from perfective verbs (that is krenuti → kretati, kreće).

    Going by your examples of kretati, kreće, zatezati, zateže. There is a verb metnuti 'to place,put', which is conjugated as metnem, metneš and so on. However, in dialects of Bosnia there are forms
    infinitive: metnuti
    conjugation: metim, metiš, meti....
    So you could have a case of Standard BCS on metne, where in Bosnia it would be, on meti. What is interesting that imperative has one form in Standard BCS which is metni, while Bosnian dialects exhibit meti or meći.

    metnuti→metne,meće (being metne where actions is finished, while meće means that action is still taking place, if however you want to say that the action is finished you would say metio).

    The BCS verb metnuti has a cognate in Slovene metati (a wild guess, although I'm not that sure), since there is no root form without a nasal in BCS, unless you count metiti as a dialectal form.
    Let's strike Slovene metati for a moment as a cognate, Slovene is here interesting to, because it has.
    metati-mečem, mečeš... 'to throw', past tense would be really weird to use. What is going on in Slovene as well is
    mesti 'to sweep with a broom'-pomesti 'implying that you're going to sweep with a broom', but than you have pomesti-pometem. While there is metati 'to throw', metati-mečem.
     
    Mʲetnútʲ, mʲetnú, mʲetnʲót : mʲetátʲ, mʲečú, mʲéčet actually constitute an aspectual pair in Russian. But we can find imperfectives like this in all modern Slavic languages. My question is whether they still form a substantial class anywhere outside Serbo-Croatian… (I mention Serbo-Croatian because it is the only language where I encountered this class accounted in standard grammars as a pattern to form imperfectives).
     

    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    Let's strike Slovene metati for a moment as a cognate, Slovene is here interesting to, because it has.
    metati-mečem, mečeš... 'to throw', past tense would be really weird to use. What is going on in Slovene as well is
    mesti 'to sweep with a broom'-pomesti 'implying that you're going to sweep with a broom', but than you have pomesti-pometem. While there is metati 'to throw', metati-mečem.

    There are several verbs that look similar in Slovene but with different conjugational patterns:

    (pf vreči, vržem) - impf metati, mečem (to throw)

    pf razmetati, razmečem - impf razmetavati, razmetavam (to throw around)

    pf (odvreči, odvržem) - impf odmetavati, odmetavam (to throw away)

    pf pometati, pomečem - impf ?? (to scatter, throw around)

    pf pomesti, pometem - impf pometati, pometam (to sweep)

    pf umesti, umedem - impf mesti, medem (to churn butter)

    pf zamesti, zametem - impf mesti, metem (to snow)

    pf zmesti, zmedem - impf mesti, medem (to confuse)
     
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