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Tarvos - TAC 2015 Pushkin/Scan

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tarvos
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5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 593 of 1511
01 April 2013 at 10:43am | IP Logged 
About Irregular Verbs

People complain a lot about grammar and irregular structures of verbs and other
morphological items you might encounter in a language. However, I've never found
irregular verbs to be much of a problem in any language (not even the ones I have
studied that have large quantities of them, see also: French) or the ones that have two
big systems of verbs (strong/weak, like the Germanics). In fact there are other things
that real proper usage of verbs hinges on, like aspect/tense choice in context, which
is actually much more difficult because it requires you to extrapolate contextual
information and draw a conclusion and thunk a verb into one of its (usually) many
forms. The most irregular verbs also tend to be the ones you see all the time (être,
anyone) and thus the ones you're going to retain automatically eventually. Really,
irregular verbs are not that big a deal

I find irregular noun plurals much more annoying.

However, some languages do have more complex verb systems than others, and some work a
little counterintuitively. But here is a rundown of how I think you should tackle the
irregular verb sets in all the language I've currently studied. And make a note: I'm
trying to find a way to describe them to make it easy for people, not difficult.
Remember that many people before you learned these verbs and got away with making
mistakes in them! And they manage to speak those languages now.

Dutch

Dutch has one of the easiest verb systems out there in my opinion. The only downside
about Dutch is that it's a Germanic language and thus you have a separate set of verbs
that conjugate according to a vowel shift paradigm, not a suffix paradigm, in the past
tense and in the participle formation (the participles are important because they allow
you to form compound tenses expressing perfectives, and the present perfect is used all
the time in situations where other languages might use an imperfect or a past tense).
The only really irregular verbs are to have and to be, and you gotta learn those
anyway. Some nasty things occur with vowel doubling and some Dutch spelling rules, but
it's nothing you can't overcome with a bit of study.

Verdict: Easy!

English:

English doesn't really conjugate verbs much, it just puts them into a whole lot of
periphrastic constructions. No need to learn a lot of suffixes except the +s in the 3rd
person singular and the forms of to be. The question in English is when do you use what
tense. Forming the actual tenses is not a big deal.

English also has a lot of irregular verbs, but fortunately if you know one form you
know them all (i.e. tear/tore/torn goes for all persons) so it's not that big of a
deal. Those verbs are quite common, so you do have to know which ones end in -ed and
which one take a vowel change, but hey, it is a Germanic language.

Verdict: Easy

French

French verbs are indeed a bit more problematic. Many forms are irregular, there are a
whole lot of tenses, you have a subjunctive, etc etc. In French, it will take some more
time to assimilate the verb system, and the tense choice can be a nightmare for
learners (why are they using an imparfait?) However, most problems are in forming the
forms from a different radical. This is why I maintain it is useful to learn Latin
alongside French, because you will understand where some of those bizarre roots are
coming from. However, the subjunctive is only really important in the present tense,
and some irregular verbs you can just forget about.

And the être/avoir verb usage can be a pain. As are the past participle agreements.

Verdict: doable, but takes some focusing on the weird root changes in some irregular
verbs


German

It's the Dutch verb system with two extra endings in the present and a lack of -ge for
-ieren verbs (-eren in Dutch). Also you don't have the double-vowel spelling rules. The
future tense is a little different and you need to learn some subjunctive forms, but
other than that, German tenses are child's play. German has many stumbling blocks, but
the verb system is not one of them in my opinion. Just watch out for the strong verbs,
although if you know the cognate, you can pretty much insta-guess which verbs take a
vowel change and what that vowel change is supposed to sound like.

Verdict: Easy!

Swedish

Verbs don't even conjugate for person/number, only for tense. Tense formation is really
easy, you do have some irregular paradigms but on the whole this is absolutely nothing
to be scared of. And remember; you only ever have to worry about tense, you just need
to check which verb the group is in. Swedish has 99 problems but a verb ain't one.

Verdict: way too f**king easy

Russian

Russian actually doesn't have many tenses. There's a past tense, a present tense, and
for imperfective verbs, you have a future, but that's it. Note that the present-tense
conjugation of perfective verbs actually has a future meaning semantically (even though
they conjugate as a present-tense verb). The past tense tends to be very easy, root + l
+ vowel sound for gender. Some verbs have an irregular past tense in the masculine
singular, but nothing you won't be able to discover from the infinitive.

The present tense is somewhat more complicated and often verbs do one thing in the
infinitive and another in some of the conjugated forms. Can be annoying to remember
those paradigms, but most of the stem changes feel like palatalisation changes (d to
zh, s to sh, t to tch, etc.) I don't really think it's that problematic in hindsight. I
find aspect more problematic when it comes to Russian verbs, most paradigms are a
little weird when you first encounter them but you'll soon find most verbs follow one
of these patterns and you'll learn them. And if you know all the prefixes conjugating
prefixed verbs becomes extremely logical.

Verdict: Less painful than people make it out to be

Breton

Has like 5 irregular verbs. Most paradigms are really easy, Breton uses a shittonne of
periphrastic constructions though and remembering which is which can be annoying - also
verbs do undergo mutations. But that's a requirement of the phonology and the mutations
and doesn't change the fact that verb conjugation is A. f**kING. JOKE. Breton has many
problems but irregular verb conjugation is not one of them. Just watch out that you put
your initial letters in the correct form after a verbal particle, and remember where
your participles go.

Verdict: Easy

Latin

Yeah there is no way around it, Latin verbs are a nightmare system. I have learned
them, and thankfully it's Latin so recognising is more important than producing them,
but yeah. This one takes time. Latin is a grammatical beast and you will have to table-
trash a bit to get this one right, I'm sorry. But you don't have to worry about
participle agreements thankfully.

Verdict: Okay, having some problems with this one initially is not unsurprising. But
you can learn it.


Hebrew

Doesn't have many tenses as such. Past, future, imperative. Yes there is a present
tense but it's formed from the participle so it's actually more of an adjective
conjugation than an actual verb conjugation. Past and future stem from verb aspects so
a past is simply something that finished, whereas a future is something that has yet to
finish. Nothing problematic there.

But the binyanim and all the root changes are a pain and it is a fairly extensive
system. Logical for the most part, and the suffixing and all is very regular, it's just
too elaborate for my liking. However, actually IRREGULAR verbs are few and far between.
Just because it has a hollow root doesn't mean it is irregular, all hollow roots or
guttural letter changes are almost analogous.

Just remember which binyan the verb belongs to, will you?

Verdict: Mildly annoying, but less extensive conjugation than French and you don't
have to worry about which past tense you need, so it's relatively easy


Romanian

More regular than French, but the weird infixes here and there screw things up. It's a
Romance language, so there's always going to be too many verb forms.

And what's up with the subjunctive instead of infinitive everywhere?

Verdict: French's simplified little cousin.
6 persons have voted this message useful



Марк
Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 3227 days ago

2096 posts - 2972 votes 
Speaks: Russian*

 
 Message 594 of 1511
01 April 2013 at 1:36pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
About Irregular Verbs

People complain a lot about grammar and irregular structures of verbs and other
morphological items you might encounter in a language. However, I've never found
irregular verbs to be much of a problem in any language (not even the ones I have
studied that have large quantities of them, see also: French) or the ones that have two
big systems of verbs (strong/weak, like the Germanics). In fact there are other things
that real proper usage of verbs hinges on, like aspect/tense choice in context, which
is actually much more difficult because it requires you to extrapolate contextual
information and draw a conclusion and thunk a verb into one of its (usually) many
forms. The most irregular verbs also tend to be the ones you see all the time (être,
anyone) and thus the ones you're going to retain automatically eventually.

Here I agree.
tarvos wrote:

Dutch

Dutch has one of the easiest verb systems out there in my opinion. The only downside
about Dutch is that it's a Germanic language and thus you have a separate set of verbs
that conjugate according to a vowel shift paradigm, not a suffix paradigm, in the past
tense and in the participle formation (the participles are important because they allow
you to form compound tenses expressing perfectives, and the present perfect is used all
the time in situations where other languages might use an imperfect or a past tense).
The only really irregular verbs are to have and to be, and you gotta learn those
anyway. Some nasty things occur with vowel doubling and some Dutch spelling rules, but
it's nothing you can't overcome with a bit of study.

Verdict: Easy!

From whose point of view do you estimate Dutch?

tarvos wrote:


French

French verbs are indeed a bit more problematic. Many forms are irregular, there are a
whole lot of tenses, you have a subjunctive, etc etc. In French, it will take some more
time to assimilate the verb system, and the tense choice can be a nightmare for
learners (why are they using an imparfait?) However, most problems are in forming the
forms from a different radical. This is why I maintain it is useful to learn Latin
alongside French, because you will understand where some of those bizarre roots are
coming from. However, the subjunctive is only really important in the present tense,
and some irregular verbs you can just forget about.

And the être/avoir verb usage can be a pain. As are the past participle agreements.

Verdict: doable, but takes some focusing on the weird root changes in some irregular
verbs


To my mind, the most complicated part of French verbs is their polypersonic
conjugation. Another thing is that a lot of difficulties of the French grammar are
created by the French outdated spelling system. The past participle agreement and other
stuff.
When you said that the choice between the Compound Past and the Imperfect could be a
nightmare for learners, you were probably referring to Dutch learners. For Russian
learners it's not that difficult because the Imperfect always corresponds to the
imperfective aspect, The Compound Past might correspond to both aspects but more often
to the perfective one. Native speakers of Romance languages do have any problems wi
this choice.


tarvos wrote:

Russian

The past tense tends to be very easy, root + l
+ vowel sound for gender. Some verbs have an irregular past tense in the masculine
singular, but nothing you won't be able to discover from the infinitive.

Root? Maybe you meant the stem of the infinitive? Actually, if the stem of the
infinitive ends at a consonant, you always have to use some extra information becides
the infinitive. Лечь - лёк, течь - тёк, вести - вёл, грести - грёб, plus there are some
questions with the dropping ну, the correct stress and some other.
tarvos wrote:

The present tense is somewhat more complicated and often verbs do one thing in the
infinitive and another in some of the conjugated forms. Can be annoying to remember
those paradigms, but most of the stem changes feel like palatalisation changes (d to
zh, s to sh, t to tch, etc.) I don't really think it's that problematic in hindsight. I
find aspect more problematic when it comes to Russian verbs, most paradigms are a
little weird when you first encounter them but you'll soon find most verbs follow one
of these patterns and you'll learn them. And if you know all the prefixes conjugating
prefixed verbs becomes extremely logical.

Russian verbs have two stems: the stem of the infinitive and the stem of the present
stem. Forms formed from the latter may depend on the conjugation. So, in general, one
cannot form the present tense from the infinitive, plus there is a problem of the
stress in the second conjugation. ЛежАть - лежИт, держАть - дЕржит, рожАть - рожАет,
ржать - ржёт, жать - жмёт, жать - жнёт. The present tense is not more complicated than
the Past, it is formed from another stem. Russian verbs must be learned in two forms,
as well as Latin vebs are learned in four forms.
Verbal aspect is always difficult, but in Russian the situation is complicated by the
morphology. There are usually two verbs for two aspects.
There are also reflexive verbs and a strict distinction between transitive and
intransitive verbs, which apparently can be very hard to learners.


tarvos wrote:


Latin

Yeah there is no way around it, Latin verbs are a nightmare system. I have learned
them, and thankfully it's Latin so recognising is more important than producing them,
but yeah. This one takes time. Latin is a grammatical beast and you will have to table-
trash a bit to get this one right, I'm sorry. But you don't have to worry about
participle agreements thankfully.

I don't agree with this. Latin verbs have three stems, so they must be learned in four
(because of the conjugation) forms. But other forms are formed rather regularly. The
conjunction mood is hard but I don't see what else can be called especially difficult.



Edited by Марк on 01 April 2013 at 1:40pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2878 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 595 of 1511
01 April 2013 at 1:54pm | IP Logged 
Марк wrote:

From whose point of view do you estimate Dutch?


English speaker.

Quote:

To my mind, the most complicated part of French verbs is their polypersonic
conjugation. Another thing is that a lot of difficulties of the French grammar are
created by the French outdated spelling system. The past participle agreement and other
stuff.



When you said that the choice between the Compound Past and the Imperfect could be a
nightmare for learners, you were probably referring to Dutch learners. For Russian
learners it's not that difficult because the Imperfect always corresponds to the
imperfective aspect, The Compound Past might correspond to both aspects but more often
to the perfective one. Native speakers of Romance languages do have any problems wi
this choice.


I've seen Portuguese speakers make mistakes with French tense use. It is almost the
same, but it can be very dependent on context. And I am referring to Dutch or English
speakers, yes, but you probably already realise that. I also agree with you on the
outdated spelling system. I am not Russian so if you want to judge on Russian/French
tense collocation that is your judgement but my point of view is hopefully clear. I am
a Dutch native that was raised bilingually Dutch/English for a very large extent so I
perceive these two languages as "native" although I was not born in an anglophone
country.

Quote:

Root? Maybe you meant the stem of the infinitive? Actually, if the stem of the
infinitive ends at a consonant, you always have to use some extra information becides
the infinitive. Лечь - лёк, течь - тёк, вести - вёл, грести - грёб, plus there are some
questions with the dropping ну, the correct stress and some other.



Russian verbs have two stems: the stem of the infinitive and the stem of the present
stem. Forms formed from the latter may depend on the conjugation. So, in general, one
cannot form the present tense from the infinitive, plus there is a problem of the
stress in the second conjugation. ЛежАть - лежИт, держАть - дЕржит, рожАть - рожАет,
ржать - ржёт, жать - жмёт, жать - жнёт. The present tense is not more complicated than
the Past, it is formed from another stem. Russian verbs must be learned in two forms,
as well as Latin vebs are learned in four forms.
Verbal aspect is always difficult, but in Russian the situation is complicated by the
morphology. There are usually two verbs for two aspects.
There are also reflexive verbs and a strict distinction between transitive and
intransitive verbs, which apparently can be very hard to learners.


Yes, but the point is that the past forms are easy to recognise from the ending with -
l, and the irregular ones end in some consonant that is not м/шь/т. The problem when
reading is that you have to remember that -ать forms may take an -еть/ить conjugation
and that the consonant changes. How many roots you really need is irrelevant, the point
is that you need to recognise that verbs may superficially belong to one paradigm and
then actually be part of the second one.

I agree on the reflexive verbs, that was a big problem especially at the beginning.
It's a matter of recognising what the verb is supposed to say.

However I never learned all these verb roots separately. I just
go case by case and if I needed a verb I memorized the whole conjugation. In some cases
I just make a guess and hope it's correct, it usually is but not always of course.
Nowadays I try to "automatize" my use of Russian verbs, such that I automatically think
(ты лежишь) instead of thinking (-ать but -ить conjugation) and so on and so forth.
And those really irregular verbs exist in Russian, but they're not all very common. But
it is probably good to remember that the present tense forms come, most of the time,
from somewhere else than the infinitive. My point is that these are details that if you
are a foreign learner you will pick up on the patterns of conjugation swiftly anyways.
You might make a mistake here and there with a verb that just goes astray in all
directions (in Russian those definitely exist).

Regarding Latin: I haven't studied Latin since I was 16 (that's maybe 7 years ago) but
I never really went for "learn four roots". I just took these words as they came. For
me grammar isn't a tool that you need to delve into that deeply. The problem with Latin
to my mind is that you need to remember very many tenses and that their use can be
somewhat non-trivial to read in a text; considering not many people speak Latin
nowadays it is important to recognise when these tenses are used and which form you
have in Latin can be unclear.

Edited by tarvos on 01 April 2013 at 2:04pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Марк
Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 3227 days ago

2096 posts - 2972 votes 
Speaks: Russian*

 
 Message 596 of 1511
01 April 2013 at 2:22pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:


Yes, but the point is that the past forms are easy to recognise from the ending with -
l, and the irregular ones end in some consonant that is not м/шь/т. The problem when
reading is that you have to remember that -ать forms may take an -еть/ить conjugation
and that the consonant changes. How many roots you really need is irrelevant, the point
is that you need to recognise that verbs may superficially belong to one paradigm and
then actually be part of the second one.

I agree on the reflexive verbs, that was a big problem especially at the beginning.
It's a matter of recognising what the verb is supposed to say.

However I never learned all these verb roots separately. I just
go case by case and if I needed a verb I memorized the whole conjugation. In some cases
I just make a guess and hope it's correct, it usually is but not always of course.
Nowadays I try to "automatize" my use of Russian verbs, such that I automatically think
(ты лежишь) instead of thinking (-ать but -ить conjugation) and so on and so forth.
And those really irregular verbs exist in Russian, but they're not all very common. But
it is probably good to remember that the present tense forms come, most of the time,
from somewhere else than the infinitive. My point is that these are details that if you
are a foreign learner you will pick up on the patterns of conjugation swiftly anyways.
You might make a mistake here and there with a verb that just goes astray in all
directions (in Russian those definitely exist).

Regarding Latin: I haven't studied Latin since I was 16 (that's maybe 7 years ago) but
I never really went for "learn four roots". I just took these words as they came. For
me grammar isn't a tool that you need to delve into that deeply. The problem with Latin
to my mind is that you need to remember very many tenses and that their use can be
somewhat non-trivial to read in a text; considering not many people speak Latin
nowadays it is important to recognise when these tenses are used and which form you
have in Latin can be unclear.

Well, if your only goal is to read, then recognising is enough, but if you want to
speak and write correctly the situation is different.
When we learned Latin, we learned each verb like that: ago, egi actum, agere; venio,
veni, ventum, venire; audio, audivi, auditum, audire and so on. Maybe it is easier to
learn Latin like that?
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
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Joined 2878 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 597 of 1511
01 April 2013 at 2:44pm | IP Logged 
I wasn't taught Latin like that at school. I just remembered each form as it was
necessary to read and translate them. I have never had to write Latin. If you were going
to use it actively I agree, then you might be right, but I never was and the likelihood
is that I won't need it. I see Latin as an artefact in my arsenal.

I taught myself Russian for the most part, so I have no idea what people do in schools. I
just recognise forms and use them in context. If it's a very irregular verb I'll just
find out on the way, making a mistake or two isn't something that bothers me.
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2878 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 598 of 1511
02 April 2013 at 11:40am | IP Logged 
Possible changes imminent

A possible job opportunity has just come up. I have a first phone interview scheduled
this Friday for a job abroad in Romania. If this goes well, it means that my focus will
change away from all other languages to Romanian as main language and finishing the
Breton active wave on the side. I will keep my team members posted but it is possible
that my activity with my Russian and Breton will decline over the coming months following
an intensive job hunt. However, should I succeed in this job, then Romanian will be the
focus.
1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
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 Message 599 of 1511
02 April 2013 at 1:49pm | IP Logged 
Latin: I also learned the irregular Latin verbs through the four 'main forms' (three with deponent verbs), and this system has functioned well also when I have tried to use the language actively.

Romanian: interesting developments! - even if they mean that you have to skip some of your current projects. You will find that there are a lot of French loanwords in Romanian, and having a background in German and Russian will also make it easy for you to live with the much simpler case system in Romanian. It will still take time to learn the language, even in Romania, but you won't regret to learn it.
2 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2878 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 600 of 1511
02 April 2013 at 2:03pm | IP Logged 
And I had already learned the pronunciation and the sounds. I dated a Romanian girl for
two years and heard it as a language in their household. Romanian was always quite
transparent.

Edit: - and the suffixed definite article from Swedish

Edited by tarvos on 02 April 2013 at 2:05pm



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