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I'm struggling to understand the difference between говорить/сказать and говорить/поговорить.

I've been making notes from the Master Russian website, which lists говорить/сказать as meaning to say, tell, and говорить/поговорить as to speak, talk, say, tell, or, talk-for-a-while. I understand that говорить is the imperfective aspect and that сказать and поговорить are the perfective and that говорить, сказать and поговорить have their past tenses in говориbл, etc., сказал, etc., and поговори́л, etc. So my questions are:

1) What's the difference between сказать and поговорить as the perfective aspects of говорить - especially in the past tense?

and 2) How can поговорить as the perfective aspect of говорить suggest to talk-for-a-while when to talk-for-a-while seems far more process-orientated and, hence, imperfective than perfective?

It's important to note that I'm aware that there exist a question on the difference between сказать and поговорить. However, the answer that was given focused on поговорить in the infinitive and not the past tense. I'd really like to understand how they differ from one another when conjugated.

  • don't greet and don't apologize ) it's totally fine to ask well-shaped on-topic questions, there's no shame in not knowing literally anything, especially when it comes to foreign language. – shabunc Jan 15 '19 at 10:44
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1) What's the difference between сказать and поговорить as the perfective aspects of говорить - especially in the past tense?

Он сказал ей что-то = He (has) told her something.

Он поговорил с ней = He (has) had a conversation with her. The conversation is over and in the past. The sentence implies, but not definitely means, that he was the initiator of the conversation.

Он поговорил минут пять и замолк = He (has) continuously talked for five minutes or so and stopped.

In these translations, the choice between Past Simple and Past Perfect in the English variant is dictated by the context. Do not automatically translate all Russian perfect forms by using English perfect forms.

2) How can поговорить as the perfective aspect of говорить suggest to talk-for-a-while when to talk-for-a-while seems far more process-orientated and, hence, imperfective than perfective?

Imagine you decide to have a conversation with someone on a certain topic, e.g., to explain her that she needs to change her behavior, and once you accomplish your mission, you can say to a third person, ''Я поговорил с ней об этом'' - ''I have talked with her about it.'' This means that you not only have told her she needs to change her behavior, but also have given her an opportunity to respond, ask questions, express her view, etc. This also means that the conversation is over.

So the word ''поговорить'' is rather result-oriented and at the same time is about talking for a while.

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Well, сказать is "to say", so "скажи ему" is identical to "say to him". Поговорить is actually not interchangeable with сказать at all. One can say something "Я скажу так - это не дело!" but "поговорить" always answers to the question "to whom?" so even in phrase "я поговорю" the "with whom" part is omitted only because of context, like:

  • Когда ты уже поговоришь с сыном? Он совсем отбился от рук!
  • Я поговорю [c ним]. Сегодня же и поговорю [с сыном].

"Говорить" is like speaking, talking, telling - and, as it comes with using English verbs with "-ing" it about an action that's happening right now or happens at the same moment with some other action - like in "Вчера встретил друзей - они говорили о политике" - friends've been talking about politics when the narrator run into them. One can not say "они поговорили о политике" in this context however "Так хорошо посидели с друзьями, поговорили о политике" поговорили is not about the action that already happened, like in "we've talks about politics".

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Говорить — to speak, to talk

Сказать — to say, to tell

Поговорить — to have a chat, to talk for a while

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  • Сказать кому-то — to tell – Ark-kun Jan 17 '19 at 1:42

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