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15. medial, passive, conditional, aspect of verbs

active voice

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


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

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

medial voice

This verbal voice means, that the object in accusative is identical with the subject in nominative. Interslavic uses a reflexive personal pronoun se, sebe, sobě, ... which exactly refers the subject. This pronoun has been already introduced in the lesson 7. - pronouns. Note that this pronoun does not obviously have nominative case and its other cases are very similar to personal pronouns "I" and "you". (e.g. mene = tebe = sebe, mně = tobě = sobě, ...)

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 bazenu. = 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 a standard adjective of the hard pattern including all genders and cases. It is made in a very similar way as the L-participle from the infinitive via modification of the infinitive ending as follows:

  1. Hard (-eš) verbs ending by -iti, -eti, -uti, -yti have the passive participle -ty, -ta, -te, -ti. and keep the same vowel -i-, -e-, -u-, -y- which is in the infinitive endings.


    piti, piješ = to drink; pit-y, -a, -o ... = drunk
    biti, biješ = to beat, to hit; bit-y, -a, -o ... = beaten, hit
    kleti, kleješ = to damn, to profane; klet-y, -a, -o ... = damned, profaned
    obuti, obuješ = to boot, to take shoes; obut-y, -a, -o ... = booted, having shoes
    gybnuti, gybneš = to die; gybnut-y, -a, -o ... = died
    kryti, kryješ = to cover; kryt-y, -a, -o ... = covered

  2. Soft (-iš) verbs have the passive participle -jeny, -jena, -jeno ... (poslě č,š,ž only -eny, -ena, -eno ...) with following consonant softening changes from d,t,c,s,z,st to dž,č,č,š,ž,šč plus standard transformation n+j=nj and l+j=lj:

    ending -diti    makes     -dženy, -džena, -dženo ... (e.g.  dj → dž),
    ending -titi    makes     -čeny, -čena, -čeno ... (e.g.  tj → č),
    ending -citi    makes     -čeny, -čena, -čeno ... (e.g.  cj → č),
    ending -siti    makes     -šeny, -šena, -šeno ... (e.g.  sj → š),
    ending -ziti    makes     -ženy, -žena, -ženo ... (e.g.  zj → ž),
    ending -stiti    makes    -ščeny, -ščena, -ščeno ... (e.g.  stj → šč),
    ending -niti    makes     -njeny, -njena, -njeno ... ,
    ending -liti    makes     -ljeny, -ljena, -ljeno ... .

    (about these transformation see euphony rules in lesson 1)


    variti, variš = to boile;     varjeny, -a, -o ...  = boiled
    ljubiti, ljubiš = to love;     ljubjeny, -a, -o ...  = loved
    vratiti, vratiš = to return;     vračeny, -a, -o ...  = returned
    goniti, goniš = to hunt, to chase;     gonjeny, -a, -o ...  = hunted, chased
    prositi, prosiš = to please;     prošeny, -a, -o ...  = pleased 
    poraziti, poraziš = to defeat, to shock;     poraženy, -a, -o ...  = defeated, shocked
    koristiti, koristiš = to use, to exploit;    koriščeny, -a, -o ...  = used, exploited
    viděti, vidiš = to see;    vidženy, -a, -o ...  = seen

  3. All other verbs (both hard and soft) have the passive participle -ny, -na, -no ... and keep the same vowel from the infinitive endings. If there is no vowel, -e- is added.


    vid-ě-ti = to see; vid-ě-ny, ... = seen
    děl-a-ti = to do; děl-a-ny, ... = done
    pis-a-ti = to write; pis-a-ny, ... = written
    slyš-e-ti = to hear; slyš-e-ny, ... = heard
    pek-ti = to bake; peč-e-ny, ... = baken
    nesti = to carry, to bear; nes-e-ny, ... = carried, beard
    jes-ti = to eat; jed-e-ny, ... = eaten (this is an irregular verb - see lesson 10)


Moj pes jest kupany v bazenu.
= My dog is bathed in a swimming pool.
Tuto pismo jest pisano 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
 they would

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


Dělal byh. = I would like to do.
Dělal li bys? = Would You like to do?
Pili byhom. = We would like to drink.
Slyšela bys. = You (f.) would like to hear.
Jedli 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/-vajem, -vaješ, -vaje, -vajemo, -vajete, -vajut (regardless they have or do not have any prefix) are imperfective.


    davati: davaju, davaješ, ... (to give)
    strahovati: strahovaju, strahovaješ, ... (to afraid, to fear)
    od-rěkavati: odrěkavaju, odrěkavaješ, ... (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, -nemo, -nete, -nut (regardless they have or do not have any 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)
    viděti: vidim, vidiš, ... (to see)
    slyšeti: slyšim, slyšiš, ... (to hear)
    čuti: čuju, čuješ, ... (to feal)
    platiti: platim, platiš, ... (to pay)
    hotěti: hoču, hočeš, ... (to want)

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


    od-běgati: odběžim, odběžiš, ... (run out)
    iz-končiti: izkončim, izkončiš, ... (to close, to conclude, to expire)
    so-vršiti: sovršim, sovršiš, ... (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:

    vz-/voz- (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)


    vz-letěti: vzleču/vzletim, vzletiš, ... (to fly up, to take off, to start flying)
    na-pisati: napišu, napišeš, ... (to write down)
    iz-měriti: izměrim, izměriš, ... (to measure, to complete measurement)

    so-vezati: sovezaju, sovezaješ, ... (to unify, to link, to bind, to unite)
    raz-děliti: razdělim, razděliš, ... (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)