Perfective and imperfective verbs
In Montenegrin language the perfective aspect is used to convey the notion that something has happened (the activity is completed), while the imperfective is used for activities that are continous or repeated.
Imperfective is generally used in reference to activities occuring in the present, as well as in generalizations, while the perfective is used to refer to the actions that are plannated for the future or have been completed in the past.
- Vowel/consonant changes
A large group of aspectual pair share the same stem (root), but differ in the final vowel preceding the infinitive ending -ti.
There are varations and exceptions to these rules, but verbs from the –iti group tend to be perfective, and those belonging to the –ati group tend to be imperfective. Sometimes the vowel change triggers a consonant change, and this may also occur in the stem:
Desiti se dešavati se
- Forming the imperfective through infixes
A large group of verbs inserts a whole syllable (-iva, -ova, -ava) right after the stem to form the imperfective.
Although there are several other infixes, the group above is by far the largest.
The infix –nu usually indicates a momentary one-time action and is therefore associated with the perfective:
Forming the perfective through prefixes
The group of verbs that is easiesto to identify is the one that forms perfective through a prefix. The most common prefixes are listed below. Many of these prefixes have the same meaning as the preposition whose meaning they share.
Do uo to, as far as
Iz/is from, out of, all over
Na bringing an action to completion
od/ot away from, reversed action
po comprehensive completion of an action
pri to join to
pro through, past
raz/ras in various directions
s put together
za to start the action
Veseliti se razveseliti se
Most verbs take only one prefix, but some may take several. Since each prefix has a specific meaning, the meaning of the verb itself also changes.
However, the imperfective pisati does not form an aspectual pair with potpisati or prepisati, since these verbs mean to sign and to copy, respectively. These prefixed verbs therefore have their own derived imperfectives, typically formed by inserting – iva, -ova and –ava infixes.
Potpisivati potpisati to sign
Zapisivati zapisati to note down
Upisivati upisati to enroll, to enter data
Popisivati popisati to make a list
Dopisivati se _____ to correspond
Dopisivati dopisati to add to written text
Otpisivati otpisati to write off
Ispisivati ispisati to write all over
Prepisivati prepisati to copy
Pripisivati pripisati to attribute
Raspisivati raspisati to announce a competition
Opisivati opisati to describe
Propisivati propisati to regulate
Verbs of motion
A particularly important group in this category is the one formed around the verb ići to go, encompassing the majority od the so called motion verbs. You will notice that the second group of imperfectives listed below all have laz, which follows the prefix to form a new verb. This characteristic only of the group of verbs.
Imperfective imperfective perfective
Ići dolaziti doći to come, to arrive
Ulaziti ući to enter
Izlaziti izaći to exit
Odlaziti otići to leave
Prilaziti prići to approach
Obilaziti obići to circle
Prolaziti proći to pass
Polaziti poći to set off
Prelaziti preći to cross
Silaziti sići to step down
Nalaziti naći to find
Verbs of transportation
In the following table, there are three groups of transporation verbs formed around the imperfective verbs nositi (to carry), voditi (to lead) and voziti (to drive).
Donositi donijeti to bring
Prenositi prenijeti to carry over, to transmit
Prevoditi prevesti to translate, to lead over
Dovoditi dovesti to bring someone
Odvoditi odvesti to take someone somewhere
Provoditi provesti to lead through, to spend time, to implement
Prevoziti prevesti to drive/transport over
Dovoziti dovesti to drive/transport to
Odvoziti odvesti to drive/transport away
Verbs of perception and expression
Several frequent used verbs have two pairs: one pair in which both verbs have the same stem, and a second pair with a verb that differs from the stem.
Govoriti – to say progovoriti to begin to speak (same stem)
Reći to tell (different stem)
Kazati to tell (different stem)
Slušati to listen poslušati to listen for a while (same stem)
Čuti to hear (different stem)
Gledati to look pogledati to have a look, to see (same stem)
Vidjeti to see (different stem)
I Choose the appropriate verbs and in cases where more than on eoption is possible, explain how the meaning differs.
Example: Idem piti/ popiti kafu.
Both: piti – stress on the process of driniking a cup of coffee
Popiti – stress on the accomplishment of the action
- Ja sam pisao / napisao knjigu prošle godine.________________________________________
- Da li ste sigurni da ga nijeste nigdje drugdje stavile/stavljale?______________________________________________________________
- Pogledao / Gledao / Vidio sam film juče i mislim da je odličan. ____________________________________________________________________________
- Kupila/ Kupovala sam hljeb jutros, ali opet ću da idem u prodavnicu. ____________________________________________________________________________
- Hoćeš li nastaviti/ nastavljati da voziš moj auto? ____________________________________________________________________________
II Define the verb below, determine wheter it is perfective or imperfective and provide the other verb form in the verbal pair.
- Čekati ________________________________________
- Putovati ______________________________________
- Ući ______________________________________
- Voziti ______________________________________
- Platiti ______________________________________
- Naći ______________________________________
- Gubiti ______________________________________