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13. past tenses of verbs

Past tenses of Neoslavonic verbs are very easy and regular. There is only one pattern for all verbs (except for 3 irregular verbs byti = to be, iti = to go, jasti = to eat). This pattern is based on the infinitive.


L-participle

Neoslavonic (as well as spoken Slavic) operates past tenses with the so called L-participle. It is a special form of indeclinable verbal adjective made from the infinitive.
  1. The L-participle is created from the infinitive via simply replacing ending -ti by ending -l (m.), -la (f.), -lo (n.), -li (universal plural).

  2. Verbs having the infinitive ending -ti connected directly to their stems without a vowel (for example možti = to be able, pečti = to bake, ...), have their stems hardened via backward palatalization (e.g. from -č, -š, -ž to -k, -h, -g): mož-ti, mog-l, ... ; peč-ti, pek-l, ... .

  3. The irregular verb byti (to be) has its own unique L-participle:  byl, byla, bylo, byli.

  4. The irregular verb iti (to go) has its own unique L-participle:  išel, išla, išlo, išli.

  5. The irregular verb jasti (to eat) has its own unique L-participle:  jadl, jadla, jadlo, jadli.

Examples:

děla-tiděla-l, děla-la, děla-lo, děla-li (to do)
pisa-tipisa-l, pisa-la, pisa-lo, pisa-li (to write)
vidě-tividě-l, vidě-la, vidě-lo, vidě-li (to see)
peč-tipek-l, pek-la, pek-lo, pek-li (to bake)
mož-timog-l, mog-la, mog-lo, mog-li (to can)


simple past tense

The simple past tense is formed in a similar way as the L-participle.
  1. Simple past tense is created from the infinitive via simply replacing the ending -ti by these endings:

     ja 
     -h  my 
     -hom
     ty 
     -še  vy 
     -ste
     on, ona, ono 
     -še        
     oni 
     -hu

  2. Verbs having the infinitive ending -ti connected  directly to the stem without a vowel (for example možti = to can, pečti = to bake, ...) have the stem appended by adding the vowel -e-. (e.g. mož-e-h, mož-e-še, ..., peč-e-h, peč-e-še, ...)

  3. The irregular verb byti (to be) has the following past tense forms:  bě-h, bě-še, bě-še, bě-hom, bě-ste, bě-hu.

  4. The irregular verb iti (to go) has the following past tense forms :  ide-h, ide-še, ide-še, ide-hom, ide-ste, ide-hu.

  5. The irregular verb jasti (to eat) has the following past tense forms :  jade-h, jade-še, jade-še, jade-hom, jade-ste, jad-ehu.

Examples:

děla-tiděla-h, děla-še, děla-še, děla-hom, děla-ste, děla-hu (to do)
pisa-tipisa-h, pisa-še, pisa-še, pisa-hom, pisa-ste, pisa-hu (to write)
peč-tipeč-e-h, peč-e-še, peč-e-še, peč-e-hom, peč-e-ste, peč-e-hu (to bake)

Note:

The foregoing simple past tense forms are found in the past tenses of Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin, (Slavo) Macedonian and Bulgarian and were in all Slavic languages in the past. They are not, however, found in the modern Western Slavic and Eastern Slavic languages except Sorbian.


composed past tense = prior present tense

As noted above, the Western Slavic and Eastern Slavic languages do not use the simple past tense (-hu, -še , ...). Instead, they use the composed past tense made by the combination of the verb byti (to be) in the present tense and the L-participle in corresponding personal form (m. or f. or n. or pl.).

Example:
dělati (to do) in the composed past tense

 jesm dělal/dielala/dělalo   I did
  jesme dělali 
 we did
jesi dělal/dielala/dělalo   you did
jeste dělali 
 you did
je dělal/dělala/dělalo   he/she/it did 
sut dělali 
 they did

Jesi li pisala pismo?  Did You (f.) write a letter?
Ne, on je pisal to pismo.  No, he did write this letter.

Note:

If you use the past form of the verb byti (to be) instead of the present form, you will create the "prior past tense".

Example:

Běše li pisala pismo?  Had you (f.) written a letter?
Ne, on běše pisal to pismo.  No, he had written this letter.


symmetric system of Neoslavonic present and past tenses

If we do not assume a simplified system with only one past tense (either simple or composed), we can define the complex symmetric system of four tenses in two time levels: the present level and the past level.
  1. present tense (e.g. dělaju, dělaješ, ...) - this is the actual time of the present
  2. prior-present tense (e.g. jesm dělal, jesi dělal, ...) - this is another auxiliary time just before the present tense, but related to the present tense

  3. past tense (e.g. dělah, dělaše, ...) - this is some time in the past
  4. prior past tense (e.g. běh dělal, běše dělal, ...) - this is another auxiliary time just before the past tense, but related to the past tense

Example of the present time level:
Hvalime Vas, že jeste razdělili otpad.  Thank you for sorting waste. - thanking = present, sorting = prior-present.

The same example moved to the past time level:
Hvalihom Vas, že běste razdělili otpad.  We did thank you for sorting waste. - thanking = past, sorting = prior-past.

It is obvious, that the relationship between thanking and sorting is the same in both examples: Sorting first, thanking after.
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