To be more exact, плывёт means motion in one direction, which mostly gets useful for actions in progress.
Плавает means motion in more than one direction. It may be used for:
- repeated, habitual motion (these usually imply that you come back, then start it all over again)
- round trips, especially when "I went to the park (and returned)" is close in meaning to "I was in the park"
- motion without a goal. This can be progressive or habitual.
- the name of the action itself: the ability to perform such action. For example, if someone cannot swim, it os «не умеет плавать».
Other verbs of motion behave like this, too. One verb for one-way motion, another for multidirectional motion.
The TTS sounds OK, pretty much the same as it would sound in speech. Russian vowels have quite a lot of variation: it is no wonder that an И-like sound between the palatalized Н and the Й of «ест» sounds as an almost perfect replica of И.
I tried analyzing a few different unstressed variations of И, and the one you hear in such environment is usually phonetically indistinguishable from a stressed И (if not for its reduced duration and power).
I get that е in не is not stressed, as the whole word is not stressed and therefore it is pronounced like the i in lid. But I was taught that in a one syllable verb the vowel is automatically stressed. Is that then simply not true? or is it like a rule as LucianoArthur suggested that both can't be stressed because the two е clash?
thank you in advance for the help!
Some words tend not to be stressed, among them prepositions and particles like не, ни, же, то, ведь, ли.
There are some preposition-noun combinations where the stress moves from the noun to the preposition (Он упал на́ пол) —some of these are historical, some are coined by analogy with historical stress patterns. The particle не gets stress in не́ был, не́ было, не́ были (but not не была́)
I can't reply to your answer further below :D . That sentence is actually the one where I thought the е is pronounced unstressed. I guess I am just not used to Russian yet. I will get some more excercises under my belt and it should be fine. Thanks for your help and the fast replies, very appreciated.
It might depend on a person. I personally do not use кушать in generalised, non-human or non-familiar contexts—so, essentially, I would only ever use it to refer to someone I know having a particular meal. Some people, on the contrary, do not find sentences like "Я не кушаю мясо" or "Медведь может скушать собаку" odd. For me it would be «Виктор вегетарианец. Он не ест мясо.»
Note, however, that кушать is generally a much less common verb than есть. In the spoken subcorpus of Russian National Corpus forms of есть are 10 times as common as forms of кушать, with imperatives (e.g., "Кушай, конечно") being a bit less unfair but still in favour of есть. Ironically, it is old literature where you find it in buckets.
It is about the same as differentiating between "am", "is", and "are", or "eats" and "eat. The difference is, Russian has forms for each combination of person and number.
The conjugation itself is irregular (есть is one of the few such verbs), so do not pay much attention to the endings, except maybe the second column.
- you'll have to memorise them in the end because they are unique for есть "eat" and дать "give" (OK, also создать). The rest of the verbs go люблю-любишь-любит or читаю-читаешь-читает in the singular.
According to this philologist кушать can only be appropriately used by women, about children. http://www.aif.ru/society/education/kushat_ili_est_kak_pravilno Apparently to use it about oneself gives one's speech "a strange tinge of self-deprecation...and solemn worship of self"! However the fact that a grammarian is writing on the topic suggests that, in practice, some people do use this word in ways she does not approve of...
Almost all Russian verbs have full conjugation in their non-past forms.
The verb "to be" is a notable exception—we only use as есть in the present tense (if we use it at all). It used to have the full paradigm (я есмь, ты еси, он есть.... они суть) but then the paradigm collapsed. In modern language we mainly use this verb for statements of existence rather than statements of identity, so, I guess, it makes sense that 3rd person singular is the only form left in use (even though it might have made sense to keep 3rd person plural, too, but it did not work out).