4
  • память вернулась к ним [his their memory (has) returned (at last)]

  • память возвращалась к ним [his their memory was coming back (gradually)]

  • память возвращаемся к ним [his their memory is coming back (gradually)]

  • память вернётся к ним [his their memory will return (someday)]

I'm having trouble understanding the meaning of the imperfective future tense.

  • память будет возвращаться к ним
2
  • Note that 'к ним' is 'to them', and 'to him' ('his memory' in these examples) would be 'к нему' – Lyth Sep 28 '18 at 13:37
  • just as the imperfective Past is was coming back so the imperfective Future is will be coming back – Баян Купи-ка Sep 28 '18 at 14:36
7

That corresponds to Future Progressive in English: The memory will be coming back to them.

2

The context part of the question hasn't been addressed yet, so here're some examples

Когда будешь возвращаться домой, купи хлеба.

Завтра он будет возвращаться с соревнований, и мы (по)едем его встречать.

Мы будем возвращаться с дачи на машине, так что (c)можем тебя подвезти.

Мы этот вопрос уже обсудили, и я не буду к нему возвращаться.

So Future imperfective denotes being in the process of action or action being in the process of performance before completion.

Connotation in the last example is more complex due to negation. Here the imperfective aspect rather means repeated return than a process of return.

With the word память used in the question:

Не волнуйтесь, память будет к вам постепенно возвращаться prognosis by a doctor after memory loss

2
  • "Когда будешь возвращаться домой" Does this mean "when you are on your way home, when you are returning home"? – Segwayinto Sep 28 '18 at 19:29
  • @Segwayinto yes, that's correct – Баян Купи-ка Sep 28 '18 at 19:37

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