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Polish verb aspects: to memorize pairs or not?

26 Feb 2013 #1
Hi Everyone,

I am hoping some of the more experienced Polish learners can give some advice on learning perfective and imperfective pairings of verbs.

Did you memorize the imperfective/perfective verbs in pairs or did you just learn them separately? How well did your method work for you?

I've read in a few places that it is more beneficial to not focus on memorizing the verbs in their pairs. My initial strategy was to memorize the pairs, but maybe that's the wrong approach. My concern is jumbling the verbs and forgetting if otwierać was the perfective one or otworzyć.

Anyway, just curious to know what Polish Forums thinks. Thanks in advance!
ifor bach 11 | 152
26 Feb 2013 #2
I don't think you have much choice other than to do so.

Just like in English you have to commit 'go went gone' to memory.

You won't get very far in Polish if you don't do this.
OP egghead
26 Feb 2013 #3
Right, there is going to be memorization no matter what.

What I should have mentioned is that some claim learning the morphological roots is better than rote memorization of the pairs.

I would love to hear about people's experiences learning the verbs in Polish.
Lenka 5 | 3,389
26 Feb 2013 #4
Can't you do both?
26 Feb 2013 #5
Ooooff! This sure is one of (MANNYYY!!!) intricate elements of Polish. Aspectual pairs are different verbs from non-paired verbs, for instance, "brać" (imperfective) vs. "wziąć" (perfective) BOTH mean lexically "to take", but they are NEVER used identically!! Here, the learner has zero way of recognizing these two verbs as "paired" in any way, as they're spelled, i.e. look, completely different from each other. There are lots of similar such pairs in Polish. SInce though most (though NOT ALL) Polish verbs are paired, it's always best to learn both of them at the same time, e.g. "czytać" (imperfective) vs. "przeczytac" (perfective), "ćwiczić" (imperfective) vs. "poćwiczić" (perfective) etc....

Such requires a considerable longer post, perhaps like Iwona's or Charlie's. At the moment, I simply don't have the time to go into the detail necessary for absolute completeness.

Will try to come back to this a little later on:-)
OP egghead
27 Feb 2013 #6
Thanks! Here is the comment (scroll down to Michael Farris's comment) that got me asking this question:

The system he developed seems like a great approach.
Cleiton_1996 1 | 2
2 May 2016 #7
Merged: The best way to learn Polish verbs.

When it comes to learn Polish verbs, do you guys think that works better pair them up in flashcards like "Zostawać/Zostać", or learn them separately, like two differents verbs. I use an app called Anki, that allows to create decks with flashcards and I was wondering whether it's more effective to make differents decks for imperfective, perfective, frequentative or just put both forms altoghether on the flashcard. What do you think about it?
Lyzko 45 | 9,260
2 May 2016 #8
Whatever works, Cleiton 1996!

Many such programs turn out to be somewhat gimmicky in my experience and therefore of limited value. Admittedly, verbal aspects are a particularly difficult part of the language for foreigners, owing to the confusing, yet deceptive (and FALSE) similarities with English tenses:-)

While memorizing in pairs may appear a helpful learning aid, often the aspect pairs themselves may be so different from one another that only contextualized usage could tell them apart, e.g. "brać" vs. "wziąć". A non-Polish dictionary in a language which has no such equivalent, usually will give only one definition/translation which can be quite misleading, and thus inaccurate. Both of the above verbs mean "to take", yet one is not interchangable with the other.

For this reason, I'd be slightly wary of those sorts od apps.

As an erstwhile student rather than a teacher of Polish, I can only surmise that there's probably some mnemonic "code" or clever memory device for Polish native speakers as well as for foreigners to help in the rote acquisition of aspect pairs, but hanged if I know what that could be:-)

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