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(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 perfectiveness marker). 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_.') kry@s: j. 'mach' wust


Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>