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A Russian present perfect?

Posted: Oct 4th, 14, 07:55
by Peter
I wonder if the Russian perfective verb "побывать" may be like an English present perfect verb, because my dictionary (Oxford) says it means "to have been" or "to have visited".

How I saw it (on a YouTube video) was in the past tense ("побывал") and the examples given in the dictionary are also in the past tense (e.g.: "он побывал всюду" - he has been everywhere), but what I'm curious about is the present tense.

The dictionary definition ("to have been"/"to have visited") is indeed the present perfect in English ... is it the same in Russian? Can you "have been" in the present tense, otherwise?

Many thanks for you help. And apologies for not writing in Russian!


Re: A Russian present perfect?

Posted: Oct 4th, 14, 09:46
by Peter
Replying to my own post (now I have had more time to think about it). Because "побывать" is perfective, it doesn't have a present tense, only a past and a future.

The past I understand but doesn't this mean that the 'normal' (i.e.: future tense - побываю, побываешь, побывают, etc.) will be like the English future perfect?

For example (correct my Russian if I've got it wrong): "На конец года, я побываю в Греции - By the end of the year I will have been in Greece".

This doesn't mean I will be in Greece AT the end of the year but at some time this year I will go to Greece and would have returned by the end of the year.

Re: A Russian present perfect?

Posted: Oct 4th, 14, 22:02
by Taras
All examples of the usage of a word "побывать", which I have come up with, testify about the following:

"Я побываю... " means "I will have been...",
"Я побывал..." means either "I have been..." or "I had been...". Examples:

До конца года я побываю в Греции - By the end of the year I will have been to Greece [It is your sentence after correction];
Ты никогда не побываешь там - You'll never have been there;
Я побывал в Санкт-Петербурге [before the present moment] - I have been to Saint-Petersburg;
Я побывал в Харькове до того, как ты родился - I had been to Kharkov before you were born;
Я хотел бы побывать там - I would like to have been there.

Re: A Russian present perfect?

Posted: Oct 7th, 14, 14:40
by luminous
Hi, Peter.
The verb побывать may have a form in the Present Tense in the Imperative Mood (that's the only possibility, I guess) Побудь со мной! (Stay with me for a while). I haven't made a thorough research yet, but for now it seems like ALL the verbs beginning with ПО- follow the same "rule". It seems to me that ПО- is a prefix, implying a "one time action" so to speak. You say курить (to smoke) ПОкурить (to have A smoke), танцевать (to dance) ПОтанцевать (to have A dance). That explains why verbs like that have no 'normal' Present Tense forms: the action hasn't taken place yet, although, you can use it when you suggest or demand an action. The noun derived from the verb побывать is ПОБЫВКА. It means an army leave/vacation. Солдат пришел на побывку. The word means a SHORT stay.
Smthng like that....