11.3 - Internal change (1)

As shown in page 11.2, many verbs in Ukrainian become perfective through the use of a prefix. This does not apply to all verbs, however. A large number become perfective by means of internal change, that is, a change in their stem. These fall into two groups. This page concerns the first group, which has the endings -ати or -яти as part of their imperfective infinitive. These change to -ити in the perfective. Verbs of this type include:

  imperfective perfective
decide рішати рішити
borrow/lend позичати позичити
learn or study (something) вивчати вивчити
allow дозволяти дозволити
repeat повторяти повторити
stop (someone or something) зупиняти зупинити

You can see from the above examples that most verbs of this type already appear to have a prefix (e.g. по-, ви-, до- etc) in the imperfective. This is an integral part of such verbs and reflects the processes by which they developed in the past. For the purposes of acquiring reading skills this should simply be treated as part of their spelling. The aspect is identified, rather, by the vowels а/я or и preceding the infinitive ending -ти.

Once the imperfective and perfective infinitive forms have been identified, the tenses of this type of verb are formed according to the usual rules:


N.B. A change of stress is also often involved in verbs of this type, but the issue of stress will only be addressed in these materials where it is of relevance to reading skills.

To practise recognising the tense and aspect of this type of verb go to Exercise 11.3A.

Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk
© 2007 Marta Jenkala