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Lihtminevik - simple past

Posted: 2019-12-22, 2:59
by Linguaphile
Since we have been making threads for grammar topics, I thought I'd add one for lihtminevik - the simple past tense in Estonian. It is fairly straightforward, with only a few irregular verbs.

The lihtminevik for regular verbs formed by taking the ma-infinitive form, removing the -ma ending, and adding the following:
pronounverb ending
sa-sid **
ta-s / -is *
nad-sid **

*The rules:
1. If the stem of the -ma infinitive form of the verb ends in a vowel, the ending for the third-person singular is -s.
2. If the stem of the -ma infinitive form of the verb ends in a consonant, the ending for the third-person singular is -is.
3. If the stem of the -ma infinitive form of the verb ends in -s-, the ending for the third-person singular becomes -is, and for all other forms besides the third-person singular the s of the stem is omitted.
4. If the stem of the -ma infinitive form of the verb ends in -p- or -t- following a short vowel, the -p- or -t- is doubled for the third-person singular, and the third-person singular ending is -is).

**The past tense ending for the second person singular and third person plural are the same: -sid.

1. For a verb whose stem ends in a vowel: ütlema
ma ütlesinI said
sa ütlesidyou (singular) said
ta ütleshe/she said
me ütlesimewe said
te ütlesiteyou (plural) said
nad ütlesidthey said

2. For a verb whose stem ends in a consonant: teadma (note that the third-person singular ending is -is here; other than that it is the same as #1 above):
ma teadsinI knew
sa teadsidyou (singular) knew
ta teadishe/she knew
me teadsimewe knew
te teadsiteyou (plural) knew
nad teadsidthey knew

3. For a verb whose stem ends in an -s: seisma (note that the -s- of the stem has been removed here, with the -s of the past tense remaining; except for the third-person singular, which retains both):
ma seisinI stood
sa seisidyou (singular) stood
ta seisishe/she stood
me seisimewe stood
te seisiteyou (plural) stood
nad seisidthey stood

4. For a verb whose stem ends in a -t: võtma (note the double -tt- in the third person singular):
ma võtsinI took
sa võtsidyou (singular) took
ta võttishe/she took
me võtsimewe took
te võtsiteyou (plural) took
nad võtsidthey took

Irregular verbs (of which there are thankfully relatively few for the lihtminevik) and negative lihtminevik will be discussed soon in my next posts!

Re: Lihtminevik - simple past

Posted: 2019-12-22, 3:48
by Linguaphile
Irregular lihtminevik
This is a list of the irregular simple past forms in Estonian. They must be memorized but fortunately, there are only seventeen of them (or sixteen since one of them has a parallel, regular form which can be used instead), and they fit neatly into five categories:

1. The verb minema "to go", which (as usual) is completely irregular, with a different stem:
ma läksinI went
sa läksidyou (singular) went
ta läkshe/she went
me läksimewe went
te läksiteyou (plural) went
nad läksidthey went

2a. Eight verbs whose stems end in -e, for which the lihtminevik forms lack -s, such as olema "to be":
ma olinI was
sa olidyou (singular) were
ta olihe/she was
me olimewe were
te oliteyou (plural) were
nad olidthey were

2b. The other verbs that follow this same model are: nägema "to see" (nägin, nägid, nägi, nägime, nägite, nägid); panema "to put" (panin, panid, pani, panime, panite, panid); pesema "to wash" (pesin, pesid, pesi, pesime, pesite, pesid); surema "to die" (surin, surid, suri, surime, surite, surid); tegema "to do" (tegin, tegid, tegi, tegime, tegite, tegid); tulema "to come" (tulin, tulid, tuli, tulime, tulite, tulid).

2c. The verb laskma "to hit, to let" also fits into this category: (lasin, lasid, lasi, lasime, lasite, lasid); however, it is also possible to use the regular conjugation for it (lasksin, lasksid, laskis, lasksime, lasksite, lasksid). The two sets of conjugations have the same meaning for this verb and either set can be used, with the irregular form being more common than the regular one.

3a. Two verbs whose stems end in -aa or -ää for which the lihtminevik forms lack -s and for which the double vowel becomes a single vowel, such as saama "to get":
ma sainI got
sa saidyou (singular) got
ta saihe/she got
me saimewe got
te saiteyou (plural) got
nad saidthey got

3b. The (only) other verb that follows this rule is jääma "to stay, remain" (jäin, jäid, jäi, jäime, jäite, jäid).

4a. Five verbs whose stems end in -oo or -öö for which the lihtminevik forms lack -s and for which the double vowel becomes the single vowel õ, such as sööma "to eat":
ma sõinI ate
sa sõidyou (singular) ate
ta sõihe/she ate
me sõimewe ate
te sõiteyou (plural) ate
nad sõidthey ate

4b. The (only) other verbs that work this way are: jooma "to drink" (jõin, jõid, jõi, jõime, jõite, jõid); looma "to create" (lõin, lõid, lõi, lõime, lõite, lõid); lööma "to hit" (lõin, lõid, lõi, lõime, lõite, lõid); tooma "to bring" (tõin, tõid, tõi, tõime, tõite, tõid).

4c. Note that the point above means that the lihtminevik conjugations for the verbs looma "to create" and lööma "to hit" are identical (lõin, lõid, lõi, lõime, lõite, lõid). In other words, they are homonyms in the lihtminevik, even though their present tense and infinitive forms aren't homonyms. This is the only pair of words for which this occurs.

5a. The verb pidama "to have to" behaves much like the examples in #2 above (despite having a stem that ends in -a rather than -e):
ma pidinI had to
sa pididyou (singular) had to
ta pidihe/she had to
me pidimewe had to
te piditeyou (plural) had to
nad pididthey had to

5b. However, its homonym pidama "to hold, celebrate" follows the rules for regular verbs (in other words, although the two meanings of pidama are homonyms in the present tense and infinitive forms, they aren't homonyms in the lihtminevik):
ma pidasinI celebrated
sa pidasidyou (singular) celebrated
ta pidashe/she celebrated
me pidasimewe celebrated to
te pidasiteyou (plural) celebrated
nad pidasidthey celebrated

Re: Lihtminevik - simple past

Posted: 2019-12-22, 18:02
by Linguaphile

Re: Lihtminevik - simple past

Posted: 2019-12-26, 23:05
by Linguaphile
The negative forms of the lihtminevik differ from the affirmative form in a couple of important ways:
  • It is formed using the -nud participle, which itself is formed from the da-infinitive. This means that the negative and affirmative forms of the lihtminevik can have different stems (i.e affirmative ootasin "I waited", negative ei oodanud "I didn't wait"; affirmative ütlesin "I said", ei öelnud "I didn't say").
  • It takes the same form regardless of the subject.

Before forming the negative lihtminevik, it is necessary to form the -nud participle

To form the -nud participle, take the da-infinitive and simply replace da (or other da-infinitive ending: -ta, -ra, -la, etc.) with nud.

The verb ütlema has two da-infinitives and therefore two nud-participles. They are synonyms and can be used interchangeably.

Note that in verbs like teadma, the letter d is part of the stem and therefore it is retained when forming the nud-participle from the da-infinitive.
(not *teanud)
(not *annud)
(not *püünud)

The following verbs have irregular nud-participles (below they are grouped according to their characteristics, because each set has its own rules/patterns and learning them in these sets can make them easier to remember):

Set 1

Set 2


Set 3

Now to form the negative form of the lihtminevik, you simply take this nud-participle and put the word ei "no, not" in front of it. Unlike the affirmative past tense, the form is the same regardless of who the subject is.

ma teadsin "I knew"
ma ei teadnud "I didn't know"

ta teadis "he/she knew"
ta ei teadnud "he/she didn't know"

nad teadsid "they knew"
nad ei teadnud "they didn't know"

me seisime "we stood"
me ei seisnud "we didn't stand"

te võtsite "you took"
te ei võtnud "you didn't take"

and so on.

One last point about the negative lihtminevik is that in spoken language, the -nud participle is often pronounced -nd. It is not written that way (unless the style of writing is meant to imitate speech), but it is often spoken that way:

Written: me ei söönud
Spoken: me ei söönd
"we didn't eat"

Written: ma ei läinud
Spoken: ma ei läind
"I didn't go"

Written: nad ei tulnud
Spoken: nad ei tulnd
"they didn't come"

Written: sa ei rääkinud
Spoken: sa ei rääkind
"you didn't speak"

Re: Lihtminevik - simple past

Posted: 2019-12-27, 1:15
by Linguaphile

Re: Lihtminevik - simple past

Posted: 2020-03-05, 1:24
by Prantsis
Linguaphile wrote:2a. Eight verbs whose stems end in -e, for which the lihtminevik forms lack -s, such as olema "to be":

A ninth one: kusema