For example, if you say "чтобы победить этот страх", it's quite likely that you also sometimes need to say "I will overcome", "Я победить этот страх". I think I have seen a few other verbs like this before but I can't remember.

  • Not "Я победить", but "Я смогу победить". Or "Одержу победу". A good and extended answer to the question "Why?" is provided in this video. If you do not understand it well enough, I'll translate the crucial points later. Btw, to overcome - преодолеть, and it makes up the future easily. "Я преодолею этот страх"/
    – Elena
    Jan 11 '19 at 7:17
  • 1
  • @Elena - please either at least in short explain what is give in video or I'll have to convert this into a comment. Answer supposed to be self sufficient. Links tend to get stale.
    – shabunc
    Jan 11 '19 at 11:27
  • 4
    Possible duplicate of What's the first person singular future of победить
    – Abakan
    Jan 11 '19 at 15:25
  • 4
    Это большая китайская ваза, Я в эту вазу часто залазу... То есть, я часто в вазу залажу И вылезаю оттуда не сражу...
    – Alexander
    Jan 11 '19 at 19:05

This particular problem affects most of the verbs in which [д] of the stem alternates with [жд] in their imperfective infinitive and past tense forms. These belong to a group of verbs called defective verbs or verbs with deficient 1st person paradigm:

по-/у-/разубеждать/л → по-/у-/разубежу (?)

под-/утверждать/л → под-/утвержу (?)

учреждать/л → учрежу (?)

на-/за-/ограждать/л → на-/за-/огражу (?)
but на-/огорожу is OK since it derives from нагородить/огораживать

заблуждаться/лся → заблужусь (?)

услаждать/л; наслаждаться/лся → услажу; наслажусь (?)

воз-/пробуждать/л → воз-/пробужу (?)

рас-/осуждать/л → рас-/осужу (?) but отсужу is OK since it's perceived as a derivative of отсуживать

пред-/упреждать/л → пред-/упрежу (?)

отчуждать/л → отчужу (?)

утруждать/л, перетруждаться/лся → утружу, перетружусь (?)

повреждать/л → поврежу (?)

при-/понуждать → при-/понужу (?)

угождать/л → угожу (?) but is OK when perceived as a derivative of угодить in the sense of to end up in and not to pander to

на-/до-/осаждать/л → до-/осажу (?)
but на-/о-/отсажу are OK since they're perceived as derivatives of на-/о-/отсаживать

нарождаться/лся; воз-/порождать/л → нарожусь; воз-/порожу (?)
but рожу is OK since it's perceived as a derivative of рожать

пере-/охлаждать(ся)/л(ся) → пере-/охлажу(сь)

провожу, похожу are OK since they derive from провожать and походить/похаживать notwithstanding that in the nouns the alternation does occur - (сопро)вождение, (по)хождения
To ждать for example it doesn't apply since both [ж] and [д] in it belong to the stem.
нагромождать and пригвождать don't belong in this list since they have [з] in their stem (громозд, гвозд) which alternates with [ж].

Now the question is why the flexion of the 1st person sing. future tense is perceived as not natural enough. Supposedly that's because in these verbs it defies certain phonetic principles.

And worst of all is the fact that this deficiency precludes usage of such important verbs as пердеть и бздеть to their full potential. (a tasteless joke)

1st person sing. future tense form of verbs belonging to 2nd conjugation group in particular is fashioned in Russian according to the law of iotation (known in Russian philology as j-palatalization) which originates in the Proto-Slavic language. This is when in order to append a flexion to a stem an articulation similar to that of phoneme [j] is introduced as a kind of phonetic suffix ( [j] as the [y] sound in the word yes ) causing softening (palatalization) of an antecedent consonant.
In the case of conjugation in the 1st person sing. future tense it combined with the ending may in its modern form be represented as something like [-ʲu].
Different consonants it affected differently. Some could coexist with it unaltered (mainly either those which were inherently soft historically or those which could naturally respond to softening), others due to being obstinately hard needed adjustment either by alternation with other consonants or by addition of an intermediate one susceptible to softening.
Alternation and accretion of phonemes located in the last position in the stem effected by iotation becomes apparent when comparing the form of the 1st person sing. future tense to the perfective infinitive in verbs of 2nd conjugation group.
E.g. посплю ← поспать, попью ← попить; побью ← побить, полюблю ← полюбить; разовью ← развить, удивлю ← удивить; налью ← налить; покормлю ← покормить; скажу ← сказать; напишу ← написать; отвечу ← ответить; поплачу ← поплакать; угощу ← угостить; пригвозжу ← пригвоздить etc.

[Ч]ередования, исторически обусловленные «j-смягчением» [...] выступают в инфинитиве глаголов II спряжения, в 1 лице их настоящего / простого будущего времени, а также в формах страдательных причастий прошедшего времени. Например: с // ш (украсить – украшу – украшенный, повесить – повешу – повешенный); з // ж (загрузить – загружу – загруженный; заморозить – заморожу – замороженный); д // ж (огородить – огорожу – огороженный; разбудить – разбужу – разбуженный); т // ч (раскрутить – раскручу – раскрученный; б // бл (влюбиться – влюблюсь – влюблённый); п // пл (купить – куплю – купленный); м // мл (утомить – утомлю – утомлённый), в // вл (обновить – обновлю – обновленный) и др.


Результаты j-палатализации в современном русском языке закрепляются в следующих случаях слово- и формообразования

– в формах 1 лица настоящего времени глаголов II спр. (учу ← *ukjon);


Historically under iotation as it relates to Russian the final [д] phoneme in a stem present in all defective verbs above would have two alternative incarnations [ж] and [жд].
[ж] was typical to Eastern Slavic languages whereas [жд] to the Southern ones. Since Russian belongs to the former group linguists suggest that the 'southern' cluster [жд] prominent in all those defective verbs was introduced under the influence of Church Slavonic which was a Southern Slavic language used for liturgical purposes and which affected standards of literary language.

2) ж//жд: р͡ожать – ро͡ждать; звук [ж] образовался в результате отвердения в 14 в. из [ж’],который, в свою очередь, образовался из сочетания *dj в восточнославянской диалектной группе; сочетание [жд] образовалось из старославянского сложного звука [ж’д’], который, в свою очередь, образовался из сочетания *dj в южнославянской диалектной группе;


(south. slav.) [ж’д’]: *rodjati → ро[ж’д’]ати, old slavonic рождати;
                                ↑ *dj ↓
(east. slav.) [ж’]: *rodjati → ро[ж’]ати, old russian рожати;

в современном русском языке жд, чередующееся с д (исконное) и ж (восточнославянское), является старославянизмом (ср.: родить–рожать–>рождать).

source: Nizametdinova "Historical grammar of Russian language", p. 42

I'm not aware how Ukrainian also being an Eastern Slavic language and having grown out of the same Old Russian as the modern Russian has, instead of alternation of [д] with [жд] has ended up having it alternating with [дж] in the equivalents of the above-listed verbs which it has in its own vocabulary.
Whatever the reason is, this fact has significantly simplified iotation of [д] in these verbs owing to which Ukrainian has no problem of their conjugation in 1st person sing. future tense.

RUS                                   UKR

на-/за-/ограждать    на-/за-/огороджуваты - на-/за-/огороджу
утверждать              с-/затвэрджуваты - с-/затвэрджу
осуждать                 о-/засуджуваты - о-/засуджу
наслаждаться         насолоджуватыся - насолоджуся
предупреждать        попэрэджуваты - попэрэджу
угождать                   догоджуваты - догоджу
насаждать                насаджуваты - насаджу
по-/возрождать        по-/видроджуваты - по-/видроджу
про-/возбуждать      про-/збуджуваты - про-/збуджу

Up next is figuring out how the stem [д] phoneme in these verbs should correctly behave under iotation.

In previous centuries the form побежду was considered the norm, at least a literary one.

«Пространная Русская Грамматика» Николая Греча (второе издание, 1830 год)

An excerpt from Suvorov's letter to Turchaninov

«История Преображенского Полка» штабс-капитана Азначевского

But not only побежду was in use. This was an acceptable paradigm for conjugation of other currently defective verbs as well.

An author from the 19th century Pavsky considered this paradigm the norm as follows from his "Philological Observations on the makeup of the Russian language" (1842)

убѣжду in a 1843 translation of "Robinson Crusoe"

утвержду (1884)

осужду (1785)

учрежду (1867)

огражду in a tradegy "Antigona" by Kapnist from 1813

1) If we derive the form of the 1st person singular future tense of all these verbs from their perfective infinitive which ends with -ить (оградить, утвердить, победить etc.) we'll find out that in all of them Д is softened by the following И and it must retain its softness in the conjugation of the 1st person singular future tense similarly to final stem consonants of verbs of the same infinitive paradigm and conjugation (2nd) (отпилить - отпилю, починить - починю, подлечить - подлечу, закурить - закурю). So we obtain оградю, утвердю, победю etc. Such combination as -дю however is very rare in Russian (apart from the native outdated stem дюж - дюжий, дюже etc., words such as гадюка, дядюшка, those suffixed with -юк - сердюк, пиздюк, and loan words) therefore its use as flexion is improbable. No other verbs have it either.

A survey conducted among school pupils and undergraduates revealed that only 18% and 2% of the respondents respectively would use -дю ending in the verbs in question. They were more inclined to use -жду ending, 35% and 10% respectively.

2) The clue about how Д should behave under conjugation in the 1st person sing. future tense could have been given by such infinitives as при-/у-/за-/на-/пере-/вос-/превосходить(йти), увидеть, рессердить, при-/пере-/от-/за-/на-/проводить(вести), на-/про-/от-/выследить, на-/за-/пере-/подгадить.

  • Four of these bases in the relevant form have flexion -жу - рассержу, увижу, на-/про-/от-/выслежу, на-/за-/пере-/подгажу;

  • One base has -ду - при-/у-/за-/на-/пере-/вз-/превзоЙДУ;

  • One base can have both - при-/пере-/от-/за-/навеДУ and also провожу.

The results are inconclusive.

Retention of [д] in [-ду] is likewise improbable in my view, because all verbs which do have [д] in the flexion of the 1st person sing. future tense lack it in their perfective infinitive form in contrast to that of the defective ones. Examples include пойду ← пойти, приведу ← привести, побреду ← побрести, украду ← украсть, упаду ← упасть, сяду ← сесть. Neither do these verbs have cluster [жд] in their imperfective infinitive form, if any, unlike the defective ones do. Besides, perfective infinitives of these verbs belong to a conjugation group different from that which perfective infinitives of the defective verbs belong to, namely 1st vs 2nd respectively, and so must be governed by somewhat different principles.

to be continued

  • 1
    it seems to me that explaining it by the fact that it sounds weird it's not a real explanation. after all it sounds weird because we lack such forms.
    – shabunc
    Jan 11 '19 at 11:54
  • @shabunc you basically confirm my conclusion that the usage is determinant here, then what the point of contention is? and you can't escape the explanation through euphony if other, legit, examples of -жу flexion are taken into account Jan 11 '19 at 12:01
  • 1
    To prove, that you aren't mistaken, there's an extract from textologia. ruHeдocтaтoчныe (дeфeктивныe) глaгoлы – этo глaгoлы c нeпoлным cпpяжeниeм, т. e. нe имeющиe oтдeльныx личныx фopм пo пpичинaм фoнeтичecким или ceмaнтичecким. 1. Глaгoлы, нe имeющиe фopмы 1-гo лицa eдинcтвeннoгo чиcлa пo пpичинaм фoнeтичecким (вcлeдcтвиe пoявлeния нeпpивычныx звyкoвыx coчeтaний). Дepзить, дyдeть, epyндить, зaтмить, oкpacитьcя, oчyтитьcя, пoбeдить, yбeдить, чyдить, шкoдить и дp. (вceгo нecкoлькo дecяткoв).
    – V.V.
    Jan 11 '19 at 16:03

The short answer that any Russian speaker will instantly give you is that all potential forms - побежу, победю, побежду - just sound somewhat bad. They just cause a weird subconscious reaction in any native Russian speaker and somewhat disrupt the perception of the speech. Explaining the exact reasons why this happens would require going into detail of how subconscious perception by Russian speakers works in these cases. I will just make some simple obvious observations, not intending to show the full picture. Побежу creates an association with бежать and thus can be subconsciously interpreted as, ''I will run.'' Побежду has another problem: In analogy to ''ждать --> подожду,'' it causes a subconscious perception that it is from беждать, a non-existing verb that makes no sense whatsoever. The issue is that in побеждать, по- is not a prefix, but a part of the root. Победю has a similar problem. I think that for these problems, people simply avoided using any of these forms, so these forms became very unusual simply because they were de facto almost not used. And I guess this was the reason to officially exclude these forms in grammar textbooks, as the grammar rules are supposed to correspond to how people actually speak. So now there is an additional reason not to use these forms - they are officially ungrammatical.

Anyway, do not look for some deep philosophic mystery here, and simply use ''смогу победить.''

  • 2
    quote: "the grammar rules are supposed to correspond to how people actually speak" in fact the opposite is true, traditional grammar books, since Russian education is quite conservative, tend to on one hand lag behind the colloquial language, which is in many aspects different from the literary one and more dynamic, and on the other hand dictate how language is supposed to sound (or rather be written) not the other way round, as this is the primary concern of grammar books, they exist to sanctify the norm not to break away from it which is what language usually does, or reflect novelties Jan 13 '19 at 19:35
  • Being a native Russian speaker, I can say that in Russian, it works in both directions - the grammar rules slowly adapt to how people speak and write, and people try to follow the rules. Many grammar forms ceased to be frequently used and then became illegal from the grammar standpoint.
    – Sandra
    Jan 14 '19 at 3:14
  • But yes, you have a point. In my opinion, Russian is too much regulated by its grammar rules. There are just too many of them, and they are complicated, have many exceptions, and unnecessarily regulate even slightest nuances in a prescriptive manner. As a result, more than a half of Russians struggle to write without formally violating grammar rules. I don't, but I somewhat dislike the necessity to pay too much attention to grammar rules in order to avoid formal mistakes, i.e., mistakes that do not make it difficult to understand the meaning.
    – Sandra
    Jan 14 '19 at 3:14

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