November 01, 2013

Verbs Take a Holiday

Verbs Take a Holiday

During my lifetime the Russian language измени́лся до неузнава́емости (has changed beyond recognition). And not always for the better (не всегда́ к лу́чшему).

I could demonstrate this in many ways, but for now I will share five verbs that have changed their употребле́ние (usage).

First there is the verb зажига́ть (to light). It is typically перехо́дный (transitive), meaning it demands a direct object (прямо́е дополне́ние). We light a fire (ого́нь) or a candle (свечу́). But our yellow-tinged press has given зажига́ть (and its near synonym отжига́ть) a неперехо́дный (intransitive) meaning: “to rock, or to shake it up” (e.g. at a disco or party). It is used in the past tense (он зажёг, отжёг) and in the present: мы жжём (we are rocking it).

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