by Don  

The verb стоять means “to stand”:

Imperfective Perfective
Infinitive стоять постоять
Past стоял
Present стою
No such thing as
perfective present
in Russian.
Future буду стоять
будешь стоять
будет стоять
будем стоять
будете стоять
будут стоять
Imperative стой(те) постой(те)

In the “stand” meaning it's used pretty much like one would expect:

В парке я услышал, как играли на гитаре. Музыка была так красива, что я там постоял минут пятнадцать, не двигаясь. In the park I heard someone playing the guitar. The music was so beautiful that I stood there for about fifteen minutes without moving.
Дима, чего ты там стоишь? Пойди на кухню и помоги маме. Dmitri, what are you standing there for? Go to the kitchen and help your mother.

The Russians use the verb стоять much more than English speakers use the word “to stand.” Very often if an object is stationed somewhere in a vertical position, the Russians will use it where an English speaker will simply use the verb “to be”:

На столе стояла ваза с цветами. There was a vase full of flowers on the table.
В моей спальне стоят два шкафа. There are two armoires in my bedroom.

The command form is often used in the sense of “stop” or “don't move”:

Стой! Не двигайся! Подъезжает машина! Stop! Don't move! There's a car coming!
Стой, а то наступишь на змею! Don't move, or you'll step on a snake!


Comment from: Vit [Visitor]

Well, you know, you are right, the verb “постаивать” is tecnically an imperfective verb, and I shouldn’t have tried to argue that in the first place. It`s quite clear to me now (funny, eh?) :)
Let me try to explain why I did it, mixing up all the grammar. The words from this set (постаиваю, постаиваешь,постаивает etc)
don’t sound to me as a prolonged actions (processes), but rather as a series of short (finished) events. It might be easier to see, if instead of постаивать you take пописывать (from to write) or покуривать (to smoke)
For example, “Он стоит, покуривает” means to me something like “He is standing there, [and has smoked a sigarette and has smoked again and again]". (Gramatically incorrect on purpose) That`s why I naturally felt that this verb form belonged to that second column of your table up there.
(That’s what I probably should have written about, but honestly now I am not sure if this whole thing makes sence…
Well, you are still right, but maybe our dialog will help your readers to better feel why these “-ыва-” or “-ива-” suffixes exist at all.

01/27/10 @ 14:47
Comment from: Vit [Visitor]

You won`t believe, but in many cases “perfective present” does exist in Russian :)
It`s rather complex to use, rarely if ever used in formal speech, involves additional complex suffix “ыва” (or “ива” and such)
Widely used in direct informal speech, with emotions involved.
The word “постоять":

Often used as an addition to a regular form to stress the meaning.
e.g. “Я стою, постаиваю…” (Translation: “I`m, like, standing there, like not interested in anything” :) )

But, really, nobody in Russia expects foreigners to go that far. Still, while reading stuff, you are likely to run into this kind of words
Cheers :)

Don responds: There is a point of grammar terminology worth mentioning here: the verb постаивать is in fact an imperfective verb derived from the perfective verb постоять. As a native speaker you can tell a verb is perfective if you immediately sense future meaning when you conjugate it in non-past forms. If you sense that it means something that happens regularly nowadays or is in process at this moment, then it is an imperfective verb. For instance, when a native speaker hears прочитаю, he immediately senses a future meaning, thus he knows it is a perfective verb. When he hears читаю, he immediately senses either that the action is in progress right now or that the action happens regularly nowadays, thus it is an imperfective verb. (If my explanation seems doubtful to you, ask a native Russian teacher of Russian whether постаивать is совершенного или несовершенного вида. Then ask them how to tell the difference.) Alas, that approach doesn’t work for beginning foreign students of Russian. We just have to learn the aspect of a verb the hard way.

01/25/10 @ 09:10

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