In the past tense, the word is conjugated to show number:
- Что ты узнала? 'what did you<singular> find out?'
- Что вы узна́ли? 'what did you<plural/polite> find out?
and, in singular, gender:
- Что ты узна́ла? 'what did you<feminine> find out?',
- Что ты узна́л? 'What did you<masculine> find out?'
- Что ты узна́ло? 'What did you<neuter> find out?' (apparently this variant is not very useful, but can be used in fairy tales when talking to antropomorphic objects).
In the past tense, the verb is not changed to show the person (я узна́л(а) 'I fiound out', ты узна́л(а) 'you found out', он(а) узна́л(а) '(s)he found out'). This is different from the present and the future tense.
This is related to the language history. In the past, «узна́л(а)» was a participle, similar to adjectives! So, you used a verb 'to be' to show the person: я есмь узна́л(а) 'I found out' (literally, 'I am [someone-who-]found-out'), ты еси узна́ла 'you found out', она есть узна́ла 'she found out'. Some Slavic languages, such as Slovene, still form past tense this way. But Russian dropped the verb 'to be' in most cases, so «узна́л(а)» is a verb form now.
Nowadays, most speakers don't notice that «узнал(а)» behaves like an adjective, and not like a verb. So, it's in fact incorrect to use it with a verb 'to be' in modern Russian (except a few rare set expressions like «отку́да есть пошла́ земля́ ру́сская»).
In principle - yes, in reality - unlikely. Perhaps you can find a context in which this would work, but "recognise"≠"find out/learn". It's just that Russian uses the same word for both.
I know it is a totally different meaning, but couldn't this sentence also mean "What did you remember?"
No, this would be «Что ты вспо́мнила?»
«Что ты вспо́мнила?» - "What did you recall/have you recalled?"
"What did you remember?" - "Что ты по́мнила?"
1) помнить, хранить в памяти I didn't realise the town had grown so much; I remember it as being just a small place. — Не думал, что город так разросся; я помню, что он был совсем небольшим. Syn: retain Ant: forget 2) вспоминать, припоминать, воскрешать в памяти I remembered our old dog last night. — Прошлой ночью я вспоминал нашу старую собаку. - remember oneself Syn: recall 2., recollect
Sure, with "finally" or "then" (just like in the examples given there) - none of those markers are in the sentence we are discussing here.
"Recall", on the other hand, is completely unambiguous and does need additional markers to mean "вспо́мнила".
You asked for a proof: here we go. Since this did get under my skin, I have actually gone and checked. Here are two different versions of the Oxford dictionary (which is the dictionary I trust the most):
The meaning we are discussing here is 1 (the others are simply irrelevant). Please go through the examples and see how many of them are best translated with "помнить", and how many with "вспомнить". While you are at it, click "More example sentences" and do the same.
Also do this in their Advanced Learner's edition: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/learner/remember (meanings 1-3, relevant to our argument).
Here is my score: the number of examples best translated with "помнить": 14; the number of examples best translated with "вспомнить": 3; the number of examples that could be equally well translated using either of the two: 3.
Moreover, the first definitions in both editions describe "помнить" much better than "вспомнить". I rest my case.
I'd recommend that you pay attention to how people speak, particularly to how educated people speak (and no, I don't mean myself). English is full of nuance (as any other language, I presume). I am well aware of other meanings of the word "recall" but that's not what we are discussing here. What I did question was your original translation of "What did you remember?", and I remain of my stated opinion. The words like '"then", or "finally", or "suddenly" or any other indication that it was an act of remembering and not a process of retaining something in memory would indeed change the meaning to "вспомнила". So would changing the tense from Simple Past to Perfect: What have you remembered? However this is not the sentence we are discussing here.
Without any additional qualifiers "What did you remember?" means "Что ты помнила?".
I’d recommend you learnt how dictionaries are structured before making such claims. The examples are just that — examples. They're not the definition. If some collocation is required for a certain meaning, it is mentioned in a dictionary.
Claiming that 'finally' or 'then' is neccessary to have the first meaning of 'remember' is as absurd as claiming that an imperative is neccessary for the meaning of 'remember' you're using. Yes, the example uses imperative mood for the second meaning and 'just' for the first meaning, but it doesn't mean either of them is required.
Also, 'recall' also hass a number of uses, and if you insist on 100% disambiguation, you’d also need to add something like "what did you recall from memory?", because "what did you recall?" could mean «Что ты отозвала́?». (And even that would not be a complete disambiguation.)
and I remain of my stated opinion.
If we’re talking opinions here, I do remain of my opinion that you’re just disagreeing for the sake of disagreement. :3 However, I doubt anyone is interested in our opinions.
I did back what I’ve said with a dictionary. Your didn’t bring forward any proof that your understanding of 'remember' is shared by anyone but you.
Nope. I see you studied Spanish...while the perfective doesn't line up exactly with the preterite, the preterite of saber works much the same way, with "supe" meaning "I found out," and "sabía" equating to "knew."
It can actually mean "what did you recall" if we're talking about visual images.
Did you mean "recognise"? That's what I would use while translating "узнала" in the context of visual images.
Perhaps because of the word order (as well as the (mis)spelling of acknowleged)?
"What have you acknowledged?" would be grammatically correct, yet still a rather poor translation of the original Russian sentence. "To acknowledge" does not mean "to acquire knowledge/information": https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/acknowledge?q=acknowledge
Doesn't "understand" count?
English is not my mother tongue, but "What did you find out?" sounds more natural to me.