"His child plays near him."
Translation:Το παιδί του παίζει κοντά του.
If I understand it well παίζω and τρέχω are the imperfective forms of the verbs. And παίξω and τρέξω are the perfective ones.
Imperfective aspect of a verb denotes an uncompleted, habitual or continuous action while perfective is the opposite. And some greek perfective verbs have a different stem (i say some because I think some of them just take certain endings).
I understand that greek imperfect (formed by imperfective stem) is much like english past continuous, and greek simple past (formed by perfective stem) is like english past simple.
If Im wrong in something, someone please correct me :)
κοντά is not a preposition -- it's an adverb, so it acts a bit differently.
Compare English "because" -- you can't say (in standard written English) "because me"; you have to say "because OF me".
Things such as κοντά, μαζί, δίπλα, κάτω etc. generally come with the genitive of a personal pronoun, or with a proper preposition (often σε, sometimes από) to form a kind of "compound preposition" similar to "because of" before a noun.
Wouldn't words such as 'close' and 'together' generally be a sign that the following noun is dative? 'I ate the meal together with my parents' for example.
Does this have something to do with a feature of Greek I have read about, namely a merging of the genitive and dative forms?
When using personal pronouns, you can use either σε+strong accusative form or weak genitive form of the indirect object.
Είμαι κοντά σε αυτόν=I am near him
Είμαι κοντά του=I am near him
When using nouns, you can use σε+accusative for the indirect object. You can only use genitive if we are talking about giving or talking to someone.
Μίλησα στον πατέρα σου=I talked to your father
Μίλησα του πατέρα σου=I talked to your father (that's accepted because we have a verb that shows a conversation)
Είμαι κοντά στον πατέρα μου=I am near my father
AND NOT είμαι κοντά του πατέρα μου (we don't use a pronoun so we cannot use genitive)