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15. medial, passive, conditional, aspect of verbs

active voice

All verbs listed here in previous lessons were the active voice. The active voice means that some subject in the nominative is the performer (= initiator) of action represented by a verb. An object (= target) of action is in accusative.


Moj prijatel
(N, subject) vidi (verb) veliky dom (A, object). = My friend can see a big house.

  • performer (subject) = moj prijatel,
  • action (verb) = vidi and
  • target (object) = veliky dom.

medial voice

This verbal voice means, that the object is identical with the subject. Neoslavonic has a reflexive personal pronoun se, sebe, sebie, ... which exactly refers the subject. This pronoun has been already introduced in the lesson 7. - pronouns. Note that this pronoun does not have nominative case and its other cases are very similar to personal pronouns I and you. (e.g. mne = tebe = sebe, mnie = tebie = sebie, ...)

This means, that the medial voice can be regarded as the special kind of the active voice, where the subject and the object are identical. These verbs are written with the pronoun se in dictionaries (e.g. kupati se = to take a bath).


(Ja) kupaju sebe v basenu. = Kupaju se v bazenu. = I bathe (myself) in a swimming pool.

subject: ja = I
verb: kupati = to take a bath
object = se = I

compare this example with the active voice having different object:

Kupaju svojego psa v bazenu. = I bathe my dog in a swimming pool.

passive voice, passive participle

The passive voice is a verbal mode, where the subject in the nominative is not a performer, but a target. This means that it is quite the opposite than in the active voice. This voice is used when a target information is about far more important than performer information. The performer, which is less important may (but need not) be expressed using the instrumental.

The passive voice is formed in the exactly same way as in English: Using a combination of the verb byti (to be) and the passive participle in the nominative. The passive participle behaves as an adjective and is made in a very similar way as the L-participle from the infinitive via modification of the infinitive ending as follows:

  1. Short verbs ending by -iti have the passive participle -ity, -ita, -ite, -iti.


    piti = to drink; pity, ... = drunk

  2. Longer verbs ending by -iti have the passive participle -ieny, -iena, -iene, -ieni.


    variti = to boile; varieny, ... = boiled

  3. Verbs ending by -uti have the passive participle -uty, -uta, -ute, -uti.


    obuti = to boot, to take shoes; obuty, ... = booted, having shoes

  4. All other verbs have the passive participle -ny, -na, -ne, -ni. and keep the same vowel which is in the infinitive endings. If there is no vowel, -e- is added.


    vid-ie-ti = to see, vid-ie-ny, ... = seen
    diel-a-ti = to do, diel-a-ny, ... = done
    pis-a-ti = to write, pis-a-ny, ... = written
    slyš-e-ti = to hear, slyš-e-ny, ... = heard
    peč-ti = to bake, peč-e-ny, ... = baken


Moj pes jest kupany v bazenu.
= My dog is bathed in a swimming pool.
Tuto pismo jest pisane na dobry paper. = This letter is written on a good paper.


The conditional refers to a hypothetical state of affairs, or an uncertain event, that is contingent on another set of circumstances. The only verb having its own conditional is byti = to be.

 I would
 we would
 you would
 you would
 he,she,it would
      byhu, by 
 they would

The conditional of all verbs is made by the combination of the L-participle and the conditional of byti (to be).


Dielal bych. = I would like to do.
Dielal li bys? = Would You like to do?
Pili byhom. = We would like to drink.
Slyšela bys. = You (f.) would like to hear.
Jadli by. = They would like to eat.

aspect of verbs

The aspect defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker. Neoslavonic has two possible aspects:
  1. The unitary view without internal temporal flow is known as the perfective aspect, and
  2. the non-bounded view with reference to temporal flow is known as the imperfective aspect.
The perfective aspect allows the speaker to describe the action related to some concrete event as finished, completed or launched, started in the natural way. The imperfective aspect does not present the action as related to some exact time event, but rather as pending or ongoing.

Unfortunately, spoken Slavic languages ​​are very different in verbal aspect. It is possible that the same verb is perfective in one language and imperfective in another language. Moreover, west and east Slavic languages (in contrast with southern languages) use the present tense in perfective mode as a substitute for the future tense (e.g. napisati (to write pf.), napišu = I will write down). It is important to know this phenomenon while talking to native Slavic speakers.

In Neoslavonic, we have only a few of simple rules, which are almost common and comprehensible to various Slavic speakers:
  1. All verbs having infinitive -vati and present tense -vaju, -vaješ, -vaje, -vajeme, -vajete, -vajut (regardless they have or do not have a prefix) are imperfective.


    gnievati: gnievaju, gnievaješ, ... (to make angry)
    strahovati: strahovaju, strahovaješ, ... (to afraid, to fear)
    ot-riekavati: otriekavaju, otriekavaješ, ... (to deny)
    o-strahovati: ostrahovaju, ostrahovaješ, ... (to assure, to cover by insurance)
    na-pinavati: napinavaju, napinavaješ, ... (strain, stretch)

  2. All verbs having infinitive -nuti and present tense -nu, -neš, -ne, -neme, -nete, -nut (regardless they have or do not have a prefix) are perfective.


    gryznuti: gryznu, gryzneš, ... (to bite)
    seknuti: seknu, sekneš, ... (to cut, to strike by a hatchet or a sword)
    o-vladnuti: ovladnu, ovladneš, ... (to govern, to gain control of something)
    o-slepnuti: oslepnu, oslepneš, ... (to go blind)
    na-pnuti: napnu, napneš, ... (strain, stretch)

  3. All other verbs without any prefix are imperfective.


    čitati: čitaju, čitaješ, ... (to read)
    pisati: pisaju, pisaješ, ... (to write)
    vidieti: vidim, vidiš, ... (to see)
    slyšeti: slyšim, slyšiš, ... (to hear)
    čuti: čuju, čuješ, ... (to feal)
    platiti: platim, platiš, ... (to pay)
    hotieti: hoču, hočeš, ... (to want)

  4. All other verbs with some prefix are perfective. Any preposition can be used as a prefix. Explore, what prepositions these verbal prefixes are originated from.


    ot-biegati: otbiežim, otbiežiš, ... (run out)
    iz-končiti: izkončim, izkončiš, ... (to close, to conclude, to expire)
    so-v'ršiti: sov'ršim, sov'ršiš, ... (to culminate, to improve, to make perfect)
    pri-stupati: pristupim, pristupiš, ... (to accede, to come on)
    pro-dati: prodaju, prodaješ, ... (to sell)
    na-ložiti: naložim, naložiš, ... (to load, to put down)
    pro-slaviti: proslavim, proslaviš, ... (to celebrate, to proclaim)

  5. There are a few most commonly used prefixes, which is s good to remember:

    vaz- (to begin/launch the process)

    na- (to perform one event of a
    iz- (to finish/leave the process)

    s-/so- (
    to finish/complete the process and join/merge/create something)
    raz- (to finish/complete the process and separate something)
    do- (to finish/complete the process and complete/close something)


    vaz-letieti: vazletim, vazletiš, ... (to fly up, to take off, to start flying)
    na-pisati: napišu, napišeš, ... (to write down)
    iz-mieriti: izmierim, izmieriš, ... (to measure, to complete measurement)

    so-vezati: sovezaju, sovezaješ, ... (to unify, to link, to bind, to unite)
    raz-dieliti: razdielim, razdieliš, ... (to split, to separate)
    raz-vezati: razvezaju, razvezaješ, ... (to unlace, to dissolve, to unbound)
    raz-mysliti, razmyslim, razmysliš, ... (to think over, to hesitate)
    do-pisati, dopišu, dopišeš, ... (to complete writing)