"Два голубя летали над домом."
Translation:Two pigeons were flying above the house.
Interesting. Here, Russian is like Spanish in that the word for dove is also the word for pigeon. In Spanish, it is paloma.
As far as I know, doves are white and a symbol of purity and hope. Pigeons are brown or grey and often called "flying rats"
Well doves are essentially just smaller, more delicate pigeons. They seem to technically be a different animal though.
It is interesting that the building where domesticated pigeons are kept is called a dovecote (голубятня)
Does this mean that the pigeons were flying back and forth without any direction and that's why perfective aspect has to be used? I'm somewhat confused about 'were flying' and the fact that the flying action has not been completed. How would 'two pigeons are now flying above the house' be translated?
It's not a perfective verb. The perfective for "летать" is "полетать".
"летать" (without any direction) is an abstract verb. For flying in a certain direction use the concrete verb "лететь" (where from, where to).
There are also pairs
- ходить (abstract) - идти (concrete)
- плавать (abstract) - плыть (concrete)
- ездить (abstract) - ехать (concrete)
Abstract verbs are always imperfective.
Aha, ok. I like the terms 'abstract' vs. 'concrete', that explains it a little better. I'm not even going to try to process the perfective по at this point. (Not to mention all the different prefixes like от-, у-, вы-, при-, до-)
Here are some examples:
- Птицы лета́ют в небе (лета́ть, abstract) - Birds fly in the sky. No one knows where and why.
- Этот самолёт лета́ет в Москву (лета́ть, abstract) - This plane flies to Moscow. Regularly.
- Этот самолёт лети́т в Москву (лете́ть, concrete, imperfective) - This plane is flying to Moscow. At this moment, is in the air now. It's also used if I'm sure that the plane is going to fly right now.
- Этот самолёт полети́т в Москву (полете́ть, concrete, perfective) - This plane is going to fly to Moscow. For sure, right now or in the future.
- Этот самолёт прилета́ет в Москву (прилета́ть, concrete, imperfective) - This plane is arriving to Moscow. Right now, still flying.
- Этот самолёт прилете́л в Москву (прилете́ть, concrete, perfective) - This plane flew to Moscow. Right now, just landed.
- Этот самолёт прилети́т в Москву (прилете́ть, concrete, perfective) - This plane will arrive to Moscow. In the future.
- Этот самолёт улета́ет (улета́ть, concrete, imperfective) - This plane is flying away. Right now.
- Этот самолёт улете́л (улете́ть, concrete, perfective) - This plane flew away.
Спасибо за подробный ответ! I will print it out and study it :)
Why the extra д on на? Sure, домом starts with a д but на blends in so well with that initial д I don't see why another д would be necessary. Certainly not for ease of pronunciation...
It's not an "extra д". На" and "над" are just different prepositions. "На" is (mostly) "on" while "над" is "above".