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Verbal Aspect - "składała" vs. "złożyła"



Ziutek 9 | 159    
12 Jan 2018  #1

I came across this post today from PO:
pbs.twimg.com/media/DTSnatIWkAEF3I8.jpg:large
I am confused about the use of imperfective "składała" instead of perfective "złożyła", which I would have expected, because the action (submission of a vote of no-confidence) was completed. The rough English translation (so it seems to me) would be "Civic Platform was submitting a vote of no-confidence" which demands further information such as "when the unannounced arrival of the president brought proceedings to a halt". Any enlightenment would be gratefully received.


Barelle    
12 Jan 2018  #2

Think of it like "Składała" is like "making/building/putting together", and "złożyła" is like "handing in(as in handing in paperwork/filing paperwork)"

I am polish for reference but I dont live in Poland however I live with my polish family who speak it constantly so I may have errors but I'm fairly confident that this is how this works- someone else can correct me if I'm wrong. :)

Essentially you could technically use both words interchangeably but if you care deeply about accuracy, I'd only use them in the ways I said above
DominicB - | 2,552    
12 Jan 2018  #3

For something to be perfective, it has to represent:

A single, unique action that was successfully completed at a distinct point in time, or repetition of exactly the same action completed at about the same time, at most a minute apart or so. It doesn't matter if the time is explicitly specified, but only that the speaker considers it a successfully completed event,

In the poster you link to, there were four different, not unique submissions, that were submitted at different times, or it doesn't matter when they were submitted.

If the four wnioski had been submitted at the same time, you could use the perfective. But the idea here is that they were either submitted separately, or it doesn't matter when they were submitted or whether they were submitted together or separately.

The correct English translation would be "PO has (or have) submitted.....". Translating this with the continuous form would be a mistake.
Barelle    
12 Jan 2018  #4

Oops forgot to note, a reason why they used "składała" instead may be as that means more or less "making a vote/made a vote= placing a vote" rather than "filed in a vote" , if that makes sense.
OP Ziutek 9 | 159    
13 Jan 2018  #5

Thanks for your answers.

@Barelle - it seems that you are saying that the imperfective/perfectie distinction in the case of składać/złożyć corresponds to subtle differences of meaning and not just incompleteness/completeness. This is a bit like zdawać egzamin/zdać egzamin, where zdawać means to sit an exam but zdać means to pass it. Even if you have completed the action of sitting the exam, you still need to use zdawać until you kmow that you have passed. Of course, if in English you define zdać egzamin as "to successfully sit an exam" the difference goes away. In the same way, according to my understanding of what you have written, we could define "złożyć wniosek o wotum nieufności" as "successfully submit a motion of no-confidence". whereas składać would mean attempt to submit. Is this correct? In the present example, the motion was actually submitted. Would it actually have to be voted through for złożyć to apply?

@DominicB - repeated events cause me the biggest headaches with verbal aspect. Before I read your post, I would have said all the following are correct:

1 W zeszłym roku przeczytałem pięć książek.
2 W zeszłym roku przeczytałem tę książkę pięc razy.
3 W zeszłym roku przeczytałem "Quo Vadis", "Blaszany Bębenek" i "Powrót Króla"
4 W zeszłym roku czytałem książki cały czas.

I would even have stuck my neck out and said that

5 W zeszłym roku przeczytałem książki cały czas

might be OK if I wanted to emphasize that I was indeed reading the books cover to cover. (Maybe I had previously a habit of starting books and not finishing them)

However, your 1 minute rule seems to rule out all but example 4. Is this right?
Ziemowit 8 | 2,712    
13 Jan 2018  #6

we could define "złożyć wniosek o wotum nieufności" as "successfully submit a motion of no-confidence". whereas składać would mean attempt to submit.

The imperfective aspect in "PO (czterokrotnie) składała wnioski (wniosek) o wotum nieufności" means that repetitive action was in progress and the emphasis is really on the action rather than on the result. The result is irrelevant here, tbh.

Whether the motions were rejected or not, the imperfective aspect would be most likely used in both cases as the emphasis is on the process itself which is usually fussy, noisy and lasts for a period of time. The result is pretty obvious from the very beginning - the motion submitted by the opposition is typically rejected and the opposition knows it. The whole thing about it is not the result, but the action and the fuss surrounding the acts hence it is natural to use the imperfective aspect for a repeated submission of a motion.

We will of course say: "PO złożyła wniosek o wotum nieufności" after a motion was submitted.

5 W zeszłym roku przeczytałem książki cały czas

This is incorrect since the phrase "cały czas" implies the continuity of an action. The perfective aspect of the verb adjoined to such a phrase makes it look really weird.
Chemikiem 4 | 986    
13 Jan 2018  #7

In the present example, the motion was actually submitted. Would it actually have to be voted through for złożyć to apply?

I looked at your thread yesterday, and this was the only logical reason I could think of for using the Imperfective. A vote/motion can be submitted, but unless it is agreed to, rejected or passed, then the action is ongoing and the result is pending which would explain why the Perfective is not used.

We will of course say: "PO złożyła wniosek o wotum nieufności" after a motion was submitted.

But before the outcome is known? Is the result irrelevant in a single one time vote? I understood what you were saying in the earlier ( 4 time ) example, because the action was repetitive. Confused.com
OP Ziutek 9 | 159    
13 Jan 2018  #8

I think the key is to see the cabinet reshuffle as a culmination of ongoing efforts rather than the vindication of past (finished) efforts.
They were saying, "we did this, and this and this and this ... and in the end we were rewarded with the ministers losing their jobs"

I originally understood: "we did this. No one took any notice. But see - we were right after all because the ministers lost their jobs"

Read this way składać sounds natural even to my ears.
DominicB - | 2,552    
14 Jan 2018  #9

Repeated events give me a headache, too. And the educated Poles I asked about it gave conflicting advice. Grammar books don't help much, except to say that the perfective is used for single, unique events that are successfully completed at a single, unique point in time. And regardless of what advice anyone gave about repeated events, they strongly agree with the grammar book definition even if it contradicts their own advice.

However, for all of the examples you have given, with "W zeszłym roku", I would use the imperfective, because the focus is not on a unique point in time when the action was completed, but on a more vague period of time. Your example 5 is particularly jarring to me. The "cały czas" indicates a frequentative use, which is handled by the imperfective in Polish.

The one that still confuses me is "Widziałem ten film we wtorek". To an English speaker, this fits all the criteria of a perfective use. I was never able to get a good explanation of why Poles use the imperfective.
mafketis 16 | 5,023    
14 Jan 2018  #10

My go-to definition of aspect came from a 1968 book on Czech (intended for foreign students). It describes aspect as a view

imperfective - looking at the event(s) from the point of view of it/them happening

pefective - looking at them from the point of view of them being over and finished

The book is in a box right now so I don't have access to give the exact quote but it helped me with Polish aspect than any other description.

Maybe "Widziałem ten film we wtorek" emphasizes watching the movie rather than it being over.

It's also easy to find Polish native speakers being uncertain about which forms are 'correct' so a lot of details of usage are under constant negotiation (no language is ever finished or completely stable).
gumishu 11 | 4,743    
14 Jan 2018  #11

1 W zeszłym roku przeczytałem pięć książek.

the funny thing is that Polish people often use imperfective in that case - W zeszłym roku czytałem pięć książek. - the boundaries of perfective and impefective are blurred in many instances

just as "Widziałem ten film we wtorek" - Polish people more often than not would ask "Czytałeś tę książkę?" even if they mean to ask you if you finished the book

Widziałem is in a sense it's both a perfective and imperfective verb depending on context
So "Widziałem cały ten film" is perfectly ok and even a preferred version in normal speech over "Obejrzałem cały ten film"

Ok - I think the general rule is that with some verbs imperfective form can be used in informal register to describe a finished action while perfective can NEVER be used to describe an ongoing action/process

The verbs that come to my mind are 'widzieć' ,'slyszeć' ,'czytać';'jechać' and possibly other (oh "pić" and "jeść" definitely)
Lyzko 18 | 3,829    
14 Jan 2018  #12

I sometimes confuse the usage of "klasc" vs. "polozyc" too. I find reading helps a lot, much more than simply speaking practice, as Poles will often not correct me since many say they're not sure either which is correct. They do it by native speaker instinct. However in a newspaper or the like, it MUST be written right!
Chemikiem 4 | 986    
2 days ago  #13

I think the key is to see the cabinet reshuffle as a culmination of ongoing efforts rather than the vindication of past (finished) efforts.

Yes, that makes sense Ziutek, thanks for that.

I think the general rule is that with some verbs imperfective form can be used in informal register to describe a finished action

Aargh! And let me guess, we all just have to try and remember those specific examples :-(
DominicB - | 2,552    
2 days ago  #14

A better general rule is not to use the perfective unless it strictly conforms to the textbook rule. Using perfective in the wrong place is a much bigger error than using imperfective in the wrong place. So when in doubt, use the imperfective.
Chemikiem 4 | 986    
2 days ago  #15

OK, Thanks for the advice Dominic :)



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