It has 6 forms for the non-past. It is pretty common for European languages (except English). The verb has an irregular conjugation: its singular and plural forms follow different schemes (хочу́, хо́чешь, хо́чет / хоти́м, хоти́те, хотя́т).
- a regular verb of И-conjugation: говорю, говоришь, говорит, говорите, говорят.
- a regular verb of Е-conjugation: знаю, знаешь, знает, знаем, знаете, знают.
The 4 past forms are nothing to write home about, though. The infinitive is хотеть. Remove the -ть and add -л, -ла, -ло depending on the gender of the subject—use -ли for plural subject. Pretty much every Russian verb works like that, with exceptions few and far between.
all verbs have 6 forms for present and future tense. each form corresponds with a personal pronoun. that is I want, you want, she he it wants, and same fr plural. this means that you can skip the pronoun and just say "want chicken", and from the form want takes, you will know if it's me who wants the chicken, or them, or us, or whatever.
Okay I would like to take a breather and get some more examples to understand it. if I understand correctly What do you want to say? is Что вы хотите сказать But What do you want to eat or drink uses хочешь?? I have got through most of the lessons in an "okay" sort of fashion, but this one is doing my head in.
As soon as I go to conjugation or other technical terms, I have to admit that my eyes glaze over, I know this bad, but they do.. it doesn't seem to sink in at all.
It is possible to some very simple examples using хочешь vs хотите just so I can get this struggling brain around this as right now it is a major sticking point.
This is actually considerably simple to explain and understand. ты is used for you when is directed to a single person. In this case, you use the conjugation хочешь. Whenever you want to refer you for a group of people or to a single person in a formal manner, you use вы and in this case, the verb becomes хотите. So you can say Что ты хочешь сказать (single person) as well as say Что вы хотите есть (what do you all want to eat?) or Что вы хотите пить (what would you like to drink?) (using your previous example). In this case it will always depend on whether you use ты or вы
The aspect is different. It is best you read about it in more detail somewhere, but in a nutshell, Slavic languages distinguish between definite actions that are associated with a specific point in time—and more generic actions that are regular, ongoing or repeated.
Actions that can sort of happen both ways, i.e. prolonged and generic or point-wise, usually have two matching verbs, one imperfective and one perfective. For the most part, they are similar: мыть/помыть, писать/написать, готовить/приготовить, открывать/открыть etc.
Long story short, sentences like "What do you want to say" or "I want to talk about documenting code" typically use a perfective verb.
The perfective counterpart of говорить is сказать (when it means "say, tell"). Here is the conjugation. It is the same as писать—almost like читать but with a consonant mutation (it is c→ш, з→ж, д→ж, к→ч and a few others).
хотеть is one of the most irregular verbs stems, together with есть, дать/создать and бежать. Its singular and plural forms look like different verbs.
You cannot even pigeonhole it into Е- or И- conjugation (its past forms, however, are хотел/хотела/хотело/хотели, just as expected).