(in)perfective imperatives (was: past tense imperative)
|From:||J. 'Mach' Wust <j_mach_wust@...>|
|Date:||Monday, April 18, 2005, 13:05|
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 14:50:46 +0300, Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...> wrote:
>René Uittenbogaard wrote:
>> Another thought crossed my mind: are perfective verbs in Russian ever
>> used in the imperative? What do they mean? Examples?
>Yes, perfective verbs are used in imperative, and even more often than
>imperfective, because this form is considered more polite. No other
>difference is usually meant, except if any perfectivizer (a prefix or a
>suffix changing an imperfective verb into a perfective one) adds something
>to the meaning per_se.
>IA (imperfective aspect) / PA (perfective aspect):
>_Pishi! / Napishi!_ "Write!"
>_Rabotaj! / Porabotaj!_ "Work!" (PA adds "work for a while")
I have been said that even though the perfective imperative is more polite,
the imperfective imperative will be used when it is a severe commitment,
e.g. in _marry me!_ or in _give me a loan of a million dollars!_ Is this
true (it was in Serbian, not in Russian, but for what I know the
perfective-imperfective distinction is common to all Slavia)?
That observation was followed by the amazing remark that in imperatives, the
German "gradation particle" _mal_ (derived from _einmal_ 'once') is used in
the same conditions as the Slavic perfective imperative (and not only in
imperatives; it was a hypothesis that _mal_ might be developing into a
Impolite: Gib mir die Butter. 'Give me the butter.'
Polite/unmarked: Gib mir mal die Butter. 'Give me _mal_ the butter.'
Nonsense: *Heirate mich mal. 'Marry me _mal_.'
(Note that _mal_ is not a clitic of the verb; its position is variable and
it topicalizes the following phrase, e.g.:
Gib mal das Buch deinem Vater. 'Give _the book_ to your father.'
Gib das Buch mal deinem Vater. 'Give the book _to your father_.')
j. 'mach' wust