The aspect is an important property of Ukrainian verbs. Unlike English the Ukrainian aspect is not a form of the verb. Probably you never say "he is knowing" but formally this form is correct, any English verb may be in indefinite, continuous, or perfect form ("to do", "to be doing", "to have done", moreover "to have been doing"); in Ukrainian each verb (almost each, actually there are few unmarked verbs) is either perfective or imperfective verb. Just like any Ukrainian noun has the gender: you can't say "he is a cow" - the cow is "she", the bull is "he" (N.B.: not "it"!). Thats why you can see in a Ukrainian dictionary two translations for one English verb. They are actually translations for "to be doing" and "to have done". Another important difference is that Ukrainian perfective is not English perfect, it is anaoristic perfective. The imperfect verbs in Ukrainian are state-words. Action, inactivity, periodical activity... and a result of action too. The perfect verbs are event-words. State changed. And this moment when it changes is the meaning of the word. That's why perfect verbs have not present tense! If something is changed right now it's a state of changing, not an event.
Ukrainian verb has two stems. For not to be confused which one is first, which one is second, lets call they a personal and an impersonal stem (you'll see why). The impersonal stem is the basis for infinitive, past and conditional forms. The personal stem is the basis for imperative and imperfect present or perfect future form. Finally imperfect future is a synthetic form that combines the significant infinitive with the auxiliary verb. Only one imperfect verb has a simple future form, the verb "to be" - "áóòè", and that is the auxiliary verb we have talked.
Let's add the endings to the stems.
You may have noticed one thing already: unlike English, there’s no fixed word order in Ukrainian. In English, sentences like "Over the fence jumped the horse" would sound incorrect because it should be the other way around: the horse jumped over the fence. In Ukrainian, you can say it both ways and actually shuffle words around even more. Each time, the logical emphasis in the sentence will be different.
You already know that there are no articles in Ukrainian. A loose word order functions partly to replace the need for articles. In sentences with inverse word order the element that comes first is usually something known from the previous contexts; if it happens to be a noun, it’s English translation, whenever appropriate, could well be with the definite article the. The last element in the sentence is usually "new information" that bears logical emphasis; since it’s "new", a noun used here would come with an indefinite article in the English translation. Certainly, this is just a general rule of thumb. Logical emphasis, the word order and finally the meaning are largely defined by the context.
A flexible word order could make things pretty confusing in sentences like "The boy sees a girl". This is where case endings play an important role. Remember that the subject will always be in the nominative case. So, if you hear, "²ðó çóñòð³â íà âîêçàë³ áðàò," you will easily understand that ²ðó is the accusative case of a woman's name Ira and therefore she’s not the subject of the sentence. It was the brother who met Ira at the train station, although the subject word áðàò comes only at the very end of the sentence.
A fixed word order applies to prepositions, the negative particle íå and other particles, conjunctions (and, but): they are more or less firmly fixed to the words that they precede. So, if the word order is changed in the sentence, the words that are connected to prepositions, particles or conjunctions occupy their new place together with these prepositions, particles, or conjunctions. In everyday speech, the same goes for nouns that are connected (agreed in gender and number) with adjectives (e.g, red car).
The feel for the word order will come only with more practice, so at this point you should think not so much about what word order you should use, but rather focus on what you hear/read. Now you know that the first noun or pronoun in the sentence is not necessarily the subject, so you should pay attention to its case ending.
Key to the exercise
In the example above the verb was omitted. There are also situations in Ukrainian where the subject is omitted, and the verb appears in a form that you haven’t seen so far. You can easily notice that it functions similarly to the English passive voice:
You may at first believe that the starting noun in each of the three sentences is in the nominative case. However, all these nouns are masculine inanimate, and this category of nouns has the same form for both the nominative and accusative cases (in lesson 5 you studied a different pattern of declension and were alerted that there are some more). So in fact here you see nouns in the accusative case (object of the action), and special verb endings -íî, -òî indicate that there’s no subject. In the English translation, since in English both the subject and the verb have to be in place, you see the passive voice: although the nouns have become subjects of sentences, they are not doing the action expressed by the verb, but were rather subjected to that action. Although grammatic forms in the two languages are different, the grammatic meaning is the same: we know about the action (the verb) but we don’t know (or don’t care) who did it.
Exercise 2. Please translate using our Ukrainian-English glossary. Remember that you have to look up the infinitives of verbs and nouns in the nominative case.
Key to the exercise
With a few exceptions, we’ve until now had only simple sentences, i.e. sentences with one subject only. But we often use complex sentences like "I called my sister and she picked me up at the train station" or "I know that you don’t like me" which can be broken up into two separate sentences each: "I called my sister," "She picked me up at the train station" and "I know," "You don’t like me." The second split, although possible, affects the meaning much more than the first. In grammar terms, here you have an independent clause (I know) and another part of the sentence that is integrally connected to it -- adependent clause. There are conjunctions that connect dependent and indpenendent clauses in sentences:
These are basic conjunctions between independent and dependent clauses. There are more of them, and some of them even decline like adjectives, but these will be enough to begin with. Moreover, you will now recognize some of these conjunctions in a different role -- as question words.
It is very simple to ask a question in Ukrainian. You would build a general question exactly like an affirmative sentence, only say it with questioning intonation stressing the word that is particularly "under question." Listen and compare:
Asking a question with a question word, just add it in front of the sentence. Emphasize the question word. To finish the lesson, review the following question words and do this simple exercise:
Exercise 3. Put questions to the following sentences (put the question word in front and omit the part about which you’re asking). Read them out loud.