Author Topic: Russian verb question  (Read 1414 times)

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Offline Shlomlokh

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Russian verb question
« on: June 01, 2011, 10:11:03 PM »
Christ is ascended!

I purchased Rosetta Stone Russian for my birthday to help me get ahead for my Russian courses next academic year. So far I love it, but I am confused with some grammar. I emailed the woman who will be my professor in the Fall so I can get the book to supplement the Rosetta Stone program, but I wanted to ask a question here as well:

One picture has people swimming and it says: взрослые плавают. While the picture next to it has a few guys swimming, saying: мужчины плывёт. Up until this point, I've seen плывёт for more than one. What is the significance of плавают? Any help would be appreciated. :D

In Christ,
"I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, and to Him will I proclaim my grief; for with evils my soul is filled, and my life unto hades hath drawn nigh, and like Jonah I will pray: From corruption raise me up, O God." -Ode VI, Irmos of the Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos

Offline yBeayf

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Re: Russian verb question
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 11:06:59 PM »
The hairy details will come later, I'm sure, but Russian verbs of motion (to go, to drive, to fly, etc.) have unidirectional and multidirectional forms. (It's the difference between "I am driving to New York" and "I am driving around New York". The verbs are different in Russian.)

Your first example, the verb is conjugated to mean "they are swimming (around)", while the second, it means "he is swimming (to a certain place)".

Also, you may wish to check if it actually says your second example, as that's a singular verb paired with a plural noun.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 11:10:03 PM by yBeayf »

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Russian verb question
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 06:31:43 AM »
After years of experience with Russian, I'd say that the language's verbs of motion are probably the most challenging aspect for English speakers. Beyond whatever your class is using, you'll need a workbook dedicated specifically for motion verbs and you'll need to do hundreds of exercises before they can sink in.

I'd recommend Murav'eva's Verbs of Motion in Russia, cheap used copies of which are easily available at When I started researching verbs of motion in Russia's minority languages and needed to understand the Russian system first to use various works of scholarship, I'd always start my day with a few exercises from her book.

Offline gonefishing

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Re: Russian verb question
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2012, 03:16:10 AM »
My study of Russian was in college.  It was only two years in length and took place 31 years ago.  Stumbling around in here trying to remember even the sounds of the alphabet, I realize that sadly, most of it has gone away from me now but I do seem to remember getting an awful lot of mileage out of the phrase "Ya nyeh zna-yoo."

Offline Vladik

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Re: Russian verb question
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2012, 12:49:17 PM »
мужчины плывёт

It must be a misprint. Here is how it's correctly:

(singular) мужчина плывёт (a man is swimming)
(plural) мужчины плывут (some men are swimming)