42 Main Verb Complex

Easy Croatian: 53 Stand, Become, Exist, Cease

• • • Review: Verbs 'stavim', 'tvorim'; More on Aspect

Verbs such as stojim "stand", and stajem "come to stand" are important verbs indicating basic placement of things. However, verbs derived from them have really diverse and important meanings.

Stand, Exist, Consist, etc.

The verb stojim, stajao has a "stationary" meaning: just "stand", non-metaphorically (not "tolerate"!). There's no perf. counterpart: verbs derived from it are also imperfect. Unfortunately, this verb is irregular: compare its present and past: it's sto- vs. sta-!

The verb itself is boring: it has only subject (in nom.) and of course you can specify a location, how long you are standing, and optional company:

Stojim na ulici. "I'm standing on (the) street."

Derived verbs are regular i/a-verbs, e.g. po-stojim, po-stojao, unlike the base verb. That's strange, but that's the way it is. The derived verbs are summarized in the table by just listing prefixes:

na-N (INF)N strives (to INF)
po-NN exists
sa-N se od GN consists of G

The verb postojim is the only way to say "exist". Some examples:

Mislim, dakle postojim. "I think, therefore I exist."
Nastojim naučiti hrvatski. "I strive to learn Croatian."
Atom se sastoji od elektrona i jezgre. "Atom consists of electrons and a nucleus."

Stop, Become, Stay, etc.

Verb stajem, stajao ~ stanem, stao means "stand", but in a "dynamic" sense: "come to stand, halt". I'm sorry, you could have chosen a simpler language than Croatian! It's really important, and the derived verbs are paramount. I have decided to call the derived verbs "the main verb complex" since they express some of basic meanings.

Take a notice that this verb (impf.) shares past and infinitive forms with the previous one (stojim, stajao)!

The impf. verb is not really often used: it means "be in process of coming to stand", "be halting".

The aspect pattern is "symmetric" — verbs derived from it don't change aspect: all of form x-stajem are impf. and x-stanem are perf. The meanings are quite different than ones derived from otherwise similar stojim, stajao:

izo-N (s G)N is absent (from G)
na-NN comes into being, gets created
ne-NN disappears
nedo-N (D)D misses A (!)
o-N1 N2 (!)
N1 stays, remains N2
N remains ADJ
N remains to INF
odu-N (od G)N gives up (on G)
po-N1 N2 (!)N1 becomes N2, turns into N2
pre-N (s I)
N ceases, stops (with I)
N ceases INF-ing
pri-N (na A)a. N complies, consents (to A);
b. N lands (on A)
ra-N se (od G)N separates, divorces (from G)
sa-N se s IN meets I
u-NN stands up
za-NN stops briefly

Of course, all derived verbs are used a lot. Be careful about impf. and perf. forms of these verbs, since they are similar; impf. forms are used less often than perf. forms, except in the present tense:

past perf. m-stajao-stao

Some examples of use:

Postao säm otäc. (otac nom.!) "I became a father."
Prestajem pušiti. "I'm quitting smoking." (lit. "to smoke")
Ostajemo ovdjë. "We're staying here."
Nastali su problemi. "Problems came into being."
Postajem star. "I'm getting old." (lit. "becoming")
Ključevi su nestali. "(The) keys disappeared."
Odustat ću od utrke. "I'll give up on (the) race."
Stani! (imper.) "Stop!" (moving)
Ostani tamo! (imper.) "Stay there!"
Prestani! (imper.) "Stop!" (what you are doing)
Ne pristajem na uvjëte. "I'm not complying with (the) terms." (lit. "on terms")

Verbs ostajem ~ ostanem, ostao, postajem ~ postanem, postao behave as säm, bio: they can have an adjective as object, or another noun in nominative! These are the only with object in nominative, or two subjects, if you prefer! Since there are two arguments (subject, object are commonly called arguments) in nom. the order gets important:

Profesor je postao otäc. "The professor became father."
Otäc je postao profesor. "The father became professor."

Occasionally, one can read these verbs with objects in instrumental: it's slightly archaic nowadays.

The verb ostajem ~ ostanem, ostao is used in context where something does not change, stays put, corresponding to both English "stay" and "remain":

Ostat ću ovdje i čekati ga. "I'll stay here and wait for him."
Cijëna je ostala ista. "The price remained the same."
Adresa ostaje ista. "The address stays the same."
Ostale su samo naranče. "Only oranges remained."

To emphasize meaning "only some are left", use samo "only, just".

Other Posture Verbs

There are two more posture verbs and they have a pattern very similar to "stand": one verb for "state" and two (impf. ~ perf.) for "come to state". They mean "sit" and "lie":

meaningstatecome to state
stand stojim, stajao stajem, stajao stanem, stao
sit sjëdim sjëdam sjëdnem, sjëo, sjëla, sjësti
lie ležim lijëžem, lijëgao legnem, legäo, legla, leći

Verbs derived from these two posture verbs are not important so much.

Updated 2013-06-16

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Daniel, a lot of work has gone into preparing this blog and I am finding it very helpful. Hvala! Hrvatski nije lako! Yes, your English needs tightening up a bit around the articles and prepositions but it is ok and I find it encouraging to see that making mistakes is inevitable when you mix two such different languages. I will be visiting your lovely country shortly and will have an opportunity to make lots of mistakes, and I am looking forward to it!

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