Немно́го о языке́ 2.4 Но́вые адреса́

An Introduction to Verb Conjugation

So far you have encountered a few forms of Russian verbs.  A fuller discussion of verb conjugation will come in Unit 3, but already you have seen forms such as:

Caitlin's apt Tony's apt Amanda's dorm
Ке́йтлин: "Вот дом, где я живу́". Вот дом, где живёт То́ни. А вот общежи́тие, где живу́т студе́нты.

The forms of a Russian verb will change based on their subject – the doer of the action. The subject of a verb can be a personal pronoun (like я or он), a proper name (like То́ни), or a noun (like студе́нты).  Each verb form consists of a stem to which we add an ending that corresponds to the subject.  When you change the verb ending to match the subject you are conjugating the verb. For example, the stem of the verb "to live/to reside" is жив- and the ending for the first person я is –у: я живу́.  For the third person singular он/она́/оно́ the ending is: ёт and for the third person plural они́, the ending is –ут: они́ живу́т.

Упражне́ние 1

Select the appropriate pronoun for each verb form.

1. живу́ а. она́ б. они́ в. я
2. живёшь а. ты б. вы в. он
3. живёт а. они́ б. он в. я
4. живёт а. вы б. она́ в. мы
5. живём а. я б. вы в. мы
6. живёте а. вы б. она́ в. я
7. живу́т а. я б. он в. они́

Упражне́ние 2

Russian usually does NOT leave out the subject pronouns. Review the subject pronouns by mousing over all possible English equivalents.

1. ты а. it б. they в. you (singular)
2. я а. she б. I в. we
3. он а. you (plural) б. he в. it
4. вы а. you (plural) б. you (singular) в. he
5. оно́ а. he б. it в. they
6. мы а. you (plural) б. I в. we
7. они́ а. they б. she в. you (singular)
8. она́ а. they б. we в. she

Note the following:

Говори́м Пра́вильно и краси́во

The forms of the verb to live present three pronunciation challenges.

ж- и́ли з-? Be sure to distinguish the initial sounds in the words живу́т (they live) and зову́т (they call).   Remember that the letter ж makes the sound that you hear in English words like ”pleasure“ while the letter з makes a sound like [z], as in zebra.

Упражне́ние 3

Practice hearing and repeating the sounds made by ж and з at the beginning of words. Listen to the recording and fill in the letter that is missing in the written form of the word that you have heard. Some of the words will be unfamiliar to you, but you should still be able to hear the difference. After selecting the initial consonants, listen to the recording again and repeat the words as you hear them.

слова́ "ж-" и́ли "з-"
1. __ёны а. ж б. з
2. __оны а. ж б. з
3. __аль а. ж б. з
4. __ал а. ж б. з
5. __ять а. ж б. з
6. __ать а. ж б. з
7. __ева́ть а. ж б. з
8. __ева́ть а. ж б. з

живёт (he/she lives)

Remember that the letter ё represents a softening of the previous consonant plus the sound [о].  Russian has the word живёт (he/she lives) and the word живо́т (tummy). The only difference between them is that the в of живёт is soft (palatalized) while the в in живо́т is hard (unpalatalized).

Упражне́ние 4. Како́е э́то сло́во — живёт, и́ли живо́т?

Listen to the recording and mouse over the word you hear. When you have checked your answers, listen to the recording again and repeat the words, pronouncing them as close to the model as you can . By the end of the exercise you should be better at hearing the difference between the words, and also better at saying each of them.

hard в soft в
1. живо́т живёт
2. живо́т живёт
3. живо́т живёт
4. живо́т живёт
5. живо́т живёт

живу́, живёшь

You may have noticed that in all the forms of "to live" the first syllable is pronounced as though it were spelled [жы], but it always spelled жи-. Recall that in Unit 1 we noted that the consonant ж is always pronounced hard, which means that the middle part of the tongue forms a little spoon and is positioned away from the roof of the mouth. When Russians see the spelling жи, they actually always pronounce it [жы] – but they cannot spell it that way. Remember that the spelling rule you learned in Unit 1 says that after ж you may not write ы, so after the letter ж we instead spell и. In the case of this letter и has no power to soften ж.

Упражне́ние 5

Listen to the words below and repeat them, noting that we see жи but pronounce [жы].

англи́йские эквивале́нты
гаражи́ garages
жи́ли (they) lived
жир fat
живо́й lively
жира́ф giraffe