With verbs like "read" and "see", the imperfective verbs are used. Я видел пирамиды - I have seen the pyramids. Я не читал "Войну и мир" - I have not read "War and Peace". The perfective verbs would have a meaning of "finished", "just seen". Я прочитал много книг летом - I read a lot of books during summer. Ты прочитал мою книгу? Have you read my book? Я впервые увидела пирамиды - I saw the pyramids for the first time.
It can mean either, depending on the context. There is no one-to-one correspondence between the Russian perfective aspect and English verb tenses. In this particular case, you are correct that you can use the perfective form: "Мама уже прочитала эту книгу" to stress that she has finished the book, but in most circumstances "Мама уже читала эту книгу" will be understood in exactly the same way.
It would be correct in some contexts. Without context, "Мама читала эту книгу" means she has read this book (and can discuss it / carried out some thoughts / does not need to read it anymore / etc.).
Here are the contexts for your suggestions:
- Когда я вошел, мама читала эту книгу. When I entered, Mom was reading this book.
- Мама читала эту книгу с самого утра. Mom has been reading this book since morning.
In the lecture "Family" following is written: Unlike English, Russians rarely say "my mother", "my grandfather"; usually they omit "my". So I assume that the correct english translation of this sentence can/should be "My mom has already read this book". It was not accepted, tho.
Well, it's not as clear-cut as you make it sound. Unless there is a direct indication that the action has not been completed, expressions like "... уже читала эту книгу" or "... уже смотрел этот фильм" will be understood as "... has read this book" or "... has seen this film". Of course, there is nothing wrong with using the the perfective forms here, but you don't have to.
No. Прочитала = has finished the book. In this particular example, using "уже" with "читала" would normally imply the same meaning.
To your sentence: "Mom already was reading this book" sounds like an awkward sentence to me. Do you mean that she was reading it but then put it aside? Then what's the purpose of "already"? Without "already", you would simply translate it to Russian with "читала", but without "уже".
"Tell mom she should have read this guide before getting on the airplane." "Mom already was reading this book."
So are you saying that my "Mom already was reading this book." would be an acceptable translation of "Мама уже читала эту книгу."? Because if so, I'll report it the next time I encounter this exercise.
I have to agree with you. Its at least a poorly worded question. As soon as I read it, I imaged that somebody wanted her to read the book... and the reply was "mama is already (in the process of) reading this book" I didn't think there was any indication of the process being concluded. Like someone earlier stated... I would like to see an example in Russian of "mama is already READING this book"
Sure, but in your example, "mom was already reading this book" is a part of a sentence, not a stand-alone sentence. That said, you can probably concoct a context where something like this would appear as a stand-alone sentence (see the response by eliliang above). But even then, my beef was with "Mom already was reading this book", not "Mom was already reading this book": in the former sentence "already" appears in a rather unnatural place.
Sorry for cluttering the page with comments, but I am starting to get the idea that Russian verbs and English verbs do not gel at all. I have studied a few languages (French, Greek, Bengali)* but never come across such a problem in trying to get a grasp on tenses. Having read a lot about Aspect online yesterday, I am attacking this lesson with confidence. Already shattered, a few minutes into the section. But one comment on this discussion stands out for me - With verbs like "READ" and "SEE" we use the Imperfective ... So is that a general rule ? Hopefully clarifications will ensue as we go further. Have I missed an explanation somewhere in Tips and Notes ? I look forward to realizing there is a clear note somewhere.
- That would have to be Imperfective Aspect, right ? Since I am still struggling to learn them !
Based on other exercises and their translations, it seems that there are three basic translations possible of this sentence:
Mom already read this book - simple past
Mom has already read this book - present perfect
Mom was already reading this book - past continuous
There seems to be some discussion about the relative function of perfective vs. imperfective aspects of Russian in regard to the state in which Mom finds herself in regard to her past reading of this book. It will be interesting to see what that is.