/ Difference between Polish Imperf. and Perf. forms "pierdolic"
"I get that the "imperfect" form is the most untouched form of a verb (I think..). What is the difference between imperfect and perfect?"
First, the imperfect is not the most 'untouched' form of a verb. (I know many dictionaries act as if this were the case but it's not). Often the perfective is the more basic form. kupić is more basic than kupować, przeprosić is more basic than przepraszać etc etc
Related to this, heed the warning of someone who's been there. Do not go around learning 'aspect pairs' (starting with the imperfective and then learning which perfective goes with it). That's a losing game and no one who's tried (that I know of) is very satisfied with the results.
It is a good idea to get a conscious knowledge of how perfective and imperfective verbs are derived from each other, but
My street-grammar guide to aspect.
First - think of perfective and imperfective verbs with the 'same' meaning as different verbs, it's easier. There are basically two aspect classes (with some sub-classes) perfective and imperfective. Each verb goes into one of the two.
Second - to figure out the aspect of a verb in context (warning: complex)
1. figure out the root
2. figure out the aspect class
3. count the kind and number of morphological processes (and the order they take place in)
there are three basic kinds of morphological processes that verbs can follow in terms of aspect:
prefixation : anytime you add a prefix, the result is perfective
added -w- : this involves adding some kind of suffix with a -w- the usual purpose is to form an imperfective verb when the more basic form is perfective, (odczytywać from odczytać, roughly 'read from, decypher'
'a-hardening' : this is messy, basically you the final vowel (usually to a, sometimes with other changes) and 'harden' consonants in the stem zapraszać from zaprosić.
prosić - root - proś = imperfective
zaprosić - root - proś = imperfective + prefix za- = perfective
zapraszać (a-hardening) applied to stem = imperfective
otworzyć = stem = otworz- pefective
otwierać = a-hardening = imperfective
Final note: occasionally some roots don't seem to inherently belong to either aspect class and both forms need to be derived.
zamknąć = zamk + -nąć (nąć is a perfective marker)
zamykać = zamk + a-hardening (including the weird insertion of -y-)
I hope this wasn't too confusing, I'll try to explain more if it is (or not, your call).