Translation:Are you tired?
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It does not look like a great verb to introduce the past tense. The very first past verb in russian I got is translated as present in english. I got it depends on the meaning (to get tired)... but maybe not the best choice to help a student ;)
I thought it was a very interesting verb! And there isn't really too much to learning past tense..... 8^)
The Russian is in the past tense, but it's usually translated into English with the present tense. Because English normally uses the adjective tired, while Russian normally uses the verb уста́ть ('to get tired').
While both English and Russian allow wording it differently (e.g. if you wanted to show the grammar of 'я уста́л(а)' in English, you would use 'I got tired'; and to show the grammar of 'I'm tired' in Russian, you could use 'я уста́вший/уста́вшая'), these variants sound less natural.
so the implication is that you became tired in the past and are still tired. so is there a different form that doesn't imply you are still tired?
so is there a different form that doesn't imply you are still tired?
In standard Russian, you could try specifying the time when you were tired:
- Я уста́л(а) вчера́. 'I was tired yesterday.'
- У́тром я о́чень уста́л(а). 'I was very tired in the morning.'
If the context specifies some time in the past, it won't imply that you're tired now.
(In my own speech, I would use the plusquamperfect tense for this, but this is not standard Russian.)
Farsi also uses past tense verbs which are present tense in English; for example, the way to say "I'm lost" in Farsi is "gom shodam" which literally means "I became lost" or, word for word, "lost became-I"
So it's a matter of common use, not a word for word translation. One has to know the original/intrinsic meaning in order to understand. In Arabic as in Farsi (as Jewispolyglot noticed) past tense is indicator for getting into a state of being often expressed in English with an adjective.
Wade et.al. - A Comprehensive Russian Grammar, p. 295 "Unlike the imperfective past, which is totally rooted in past time, the perfective may have implications for the present. This occurs when a present state results from a past perfective action or process (the so‐called ‘pure perfect’): ... [e.g.] Он опоздáл (pf.) – ‘He is late’ (but has arrived; cf. Он опáздывает (impf.) ‘He is late’ (and has not yet arrived))"
Is it natural to say "Я уставаю" in Russian? Becoming tired?
For example, "Мне нужно бежать, я уставаю" ?
It would be «я устаю́», not «я устава́ю» (as usual, there's a conjugation table in Wiktionary).
However, «устава́ть» usually means a repeated pattern: «Я устаю́ на рабо́те. Наве́рное, ну́жно найти́ другу́ю» 'I'm getting tired on the job. Maybe I should find another one'.
The sentence «Мне нужно бежа́ть, я устаю́» doesn't sound very well to my ear. I'd only use «устаю́» for repeated patterns, and if you're getting tired just this time (i.e. there's no repeating pattern), I'd just use «я уже уста́л(а)» 'I'm already tired' or «я ско́ро уста́ну» 'I'll get tired soon'.
«Я уста́л(а)». (Yes, this can also be translated «I'm tired». You need context to disambiguate them.)