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Irregularities in Russian verbs; 1st conjugation

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mattyman
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Joined: September 12th, 2010, 11:15 pm

Irregularities in Russian verbs; 1st conjugation

Post by mattyman » June 26th, 2019, 9:23 pm

Hi all, just have a quick question about Russian verb patterns.

For verbs with infinitive ending in '-ать' the basic pattern for fully regular verbs is to drop the -ть & keep the 'a' in the stem. For example читать, stem=чита-, conjugated; я читаю, ты читаешь etc. There are many '-ать' pattern verbs that drop the whole -ать ending and have consonant stems & are subject to stem changes according to spelling rules; one example писать (с, х>ш), non-past stem=пиш-; conjugated=я пишу, Ты пишешь etc.

The main question
The main question I want to ask is this; is there a convenient way of telling which '-ать' pattern verbs drop the entire -ать ending vs. just the -ть?

Sub-patterns
Sub pattern; stems ending in с, х>ш, in т, к>ч, in г, д, з>ж, in ст, х>щ. For '-ать' pattern verb without ending stress, these changes occur in all six forms. However, this only applies for verbs that drop the whole '-ать' ending. Again, the question is which ones drop the '-ать' ending vs. just the '-ть'?

Another pain in the butt about '-ать' pattern verbs is that there's a subtype that have ending stress; letter 'ё' instead of 'е' in the Ты, Он/она/оно, Мы & Вы forms. One sub-pattern I have recognized is that verbs with a single syllable that drop the whole '-ать' ending seem to have this pattern. Again, is there a rule to tell which verbs drop the '-ать' ending vs. those that just drop the '-ть'? If I could find one it would be tremendously helpful.

The second, verbs with infinitive ending '-ить' are generally a lot easier to predict since they all drop the '-ить' ending and add their conjugated endings. The stem changing sub-pattern discussed above only affects the first person 'я' form (thank goodness). Also, there's another sub-pattern with '-ить' pattern verbs, those that end in labial consonants adding 'л' into the step in the 'я' form, for example любить; я люблю.

So, for those pesky first conjugation '-ать' pattern verbs, is there a way of telling which ones drop the whole '-ать' ending? If there is, I would be dead chuffed. Thanks in advance.

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Contrarian Expatriate
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Re: Irregularities in Russian verbs; 1st conjugation

Post by Contrarian Expatriate » June 26th, 2019, 10:35 pm

I'm sure native speakers like @Ladislav can weigh in more heavily on this one, but the only atb verbs that come to my mind are those of the oвать/евать variety. For these, you drop the oва or ева and replace it with y. For example:

Танцевать - to Dance
я танцую
ты танцуешь

There are also other common irregular verbs that deviate from the pattern, but you just have to memorize those. Example:

искать - to search
я ищу
ты ищешь

The best resource in the net that I found is http://masterrussian.com/verbs/conjugations.htm because it breaks down the conjugations and evn uses accents which is not always the case on other sites.

One tip, learn how to use both imperfective (for present, ongoing actions, or past continuous actions) and perfective (for future actions and for completed actions) aspects of each verb or you won't be speaking coherently.

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Shemp
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Re: Irregularities in Russian verbs; 1st conjugation

Post by Shemp » June 26th, 2019, 10:59 pm

Waste of time and effort learning a language by rules like you are doing. There are some patterns in the verb irregularities, but those patterns themselves are not regular, so not much help in my experience. Just listen to podcasts and practice speaking and eventually verb conjugations become second nature. Main thing is a good dictionary for your smartphone to verify conjugations and stress whenever unsure. I use ABBYY app with the Universal and Learning en-ru and ExplanatoryBTS ru-ru add-on dictionaries. Only the latter shows stress for all forms, which is why you need it even if you aren't advanced enough to use an ru-ru dictionary for definitions. Free dictionaries for that app are junk, you must buy add-ons if you are serious.

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Contrarian Expatriate
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Re: Irregularities in Russian verbs; 1st conjugation

Post by Contrarian Expatriate » June 26th, 2019, 11:30 pm

Shemp wrote:
June 26th, 2019, 10:59 pm
Waste of time and effort learning a language by rules like you are doing. There are some patterns in the verb irregularities, but those patterns themselves are not regular, so not much help in my experience. Just listen to podcasts and practice speaking and eventually verb conjugations become second nature. Main thing is a good dictionary for your smartphone to verify conjugations and stress whenever unsure. I use ABBYY app with the Universal and Learning en-ru and ExplanatoryBTS ru-ru add-on dictionaries. Only the latter shows stress for all forms, which is why you need it even if you aren't advanced enough to use an ru-ru dictionary for definitions. Free dictionaries for that app are junk, you must buy add-ons if you are serious.
I would agree that it is not a very efficient way of learning Russian because of the many exceptions that need to be pointed out. About the only language without rule exceptions is Esperanto which is a developed language that no country has actually adopted, just clubs of speakers all over the world.

Americans who go thru the process of learning Russian have grit and balls. Next time I'm in Kiev, you and I should meet up over a brew to trade notes. But no discussion of obtaining Ukrainian residency allowed!

mattyman
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Re: Irregularities in Russian verbs; 1st conjugation

Post by mattyman » June 28th, 2019, 9:50 pm

What I've found helpful is learning the most irregular common verbs as vocab & flash-carding them. If they've got any stem changes or stress patterns that sound different from the infinitive I'll mark them in brackets.

As for the original question I don't know if there's a convenient rule to ascertain which verbs drop just two letters and which ones drop the last three. For now, when I make flashcards I mark the step in brackets. So it looks like for now for the sake of vocab I'll have to have a conjugation tool open to check whenever I encounter new vocab.

@ contrarian
I've discovered that sub-pattern too. A lot of words of foreign origin have that sort of pattern.

Apparently Russian has only four properly irregular verbs (endings that are mixtures of both conjugation patterns or exceptions); imperfective Бежать, есть, хотеть & perfective дать, all the other irregularities are stem changes with otherwise regular endings. Spanish has only 3 types of stem changing verbs; o>ue, e>ie, e>i, Russian's got bucket loads of them. Good news is хотеть is one of those basic sentence construction verbs that can be used by an infinitive (хотеть+infinitive (vocab item)). I like those sorts of sentence constructions when learning any language. Anything where the vocab item is an invariable form is tremendously useful, saves a lot of hassle.

As for learning for speaking and listening, you guys are absolutely right, too much focus on grammar is not going to help; basic phrases, sentence constructions and everyday vocab & dialogue are much more important, same with all languages. However, it does make things easier with learning any language to recognize sub-patterns to give you an idea of how they might be conjugated when learning items as vocab.

On that note I've found this youtube channel and website, Russian with Max, have any of you guys heard of it? On his site in the introduction section he does mention that he feels so much material for learning Russian is too grammar focused. He's absolutely right. If you haven't discovered it I highly recommend taking a look. Lots of realia, gestures, lots of questions and responses, everyday situations, very TEFL style.

By that way, verbs ending in -оть, ыть, -чь -ти, -сть, -зть are also part of that pesky 1st conjugation taking those same endings, fortunately a lot of these endings mean the verb has some irregularity giving some fore-warning. I've heard that many verbs ending in -ти (such as идти) take on the ending stressed variation ('ё' instead of 'e') in the Ты, Он/она/оно, Мы & Вы forms (according to ielanguages.com). Still, this is probably not a hard and fast rule.

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Contrarian Expatriate
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Joined: December 3rd, 2009, 6:57 am

Re: Irregularities in Russian verbs; 1st conjugation

Post by Contrarian Expatriate » June 28th, 2019, 10:19 pm

The way I was taught was I was required to memorize the conjugations of the 10 or so extremely common verbs that are used in everyday speech. By the time I knew them all, I was able to just figure out the rest in everyday use. For some verbs common to my interests, I just looked up the conjugations, and for others I use the infinitive form constructions (Mne nada, Mne nuzhna, Ya Dolzhen) so I don't have to use conjugated forms.

Everyone has his individual, preferred learning style, but it is best to mix it up when you can to hasten your facility of the language.

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