Indirect Speech

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Lesson Notes

Definition

Indirect speech, also known as indirect narration, or reported mood or speech, is used when the speaker reports someone else's words. For example:

Direct speech:

Питат го: "Откъде си?" - They ask him: "Where are you from?"

Indirect speech:

Питат го откъде е. - They ask him where he is from.

Usage

Present Tense

When the sentence is in the present tense, when going from direct to indirect speech, there is no change in the tense. The indirect speech remains in the present tense.

For questions, the "дали" conjunction can be used:

"Говориш ли английски?" - пита Иван.
"Do you speak English?" - asks Ivan.

Иван го пита говори ли английски.
Ivan asks him if he speaks English.

Иван го пита дали говори английски
Ivan asks him whether he speaks English.

Note that if the main verb changes to the past tense, the verb in the subordinate can stay in the present tense, in Bulgarian, if what is stated is still valid in the present, whereas in English it will usually be in the past tense:

Попитаха го откъде е - They asked him where he was from

For affirmations, the "че" conjunction is used:

"Аз отивам на работа." – каза Асен.
"I'm going to work." - said Asen.

Асен каза, че отива на работа.
Asen said that he is going to work.

For the imperative mood, the "(за) да" conjunction is used, followed by the present tense:

Той каза на Елена: "Чакай, аз ще ти донеса книгата."
He said to Elena: "Wait, I will bring you the book."

Той каза на Елена да почака, (за) да ѝ донесе книгата
He said to Elena to wait in order to bring her the book.

Note that the "за" conjunction is optional and when it is included, it makes the relationship between the clauses more explicit.

Indirect Imperfect

When the sentence is in the imperfect tense, when going from direct to indirect speech, the imperfect changes to the indirect imperfect tense.

The indirect imperfect is formed from the present tense of the auxiliary verb "съм", followed by the imperfect past participle of the verb.

The imperfect past participle is formed from the imperfect stem of the verb, followed by the -л, -ла, -ло or -ли termination, for the masculine, feminine, neuter and plural, respectively.

You may notice that the indirect imperfect is formed in a similar way to the perfect tense, but with the imperfect participle instead of the aorist participle. Because of this, the indirect imperfect is sometimes also called the perfect continuous tense.

"Миналата година редовно ходехме на планина." – каза Мария.
"Last year we were regularly going to the mountain." - said Maria.

Мария каза, че миналата година редовно са ходели на планина.
Maria said that last year they were regularly going to the mountain.

Indirect Aorist

For sentences in the aorist tense, the tense changes to the indirect aorist when going from direct to indirect speech. The indirect aorist is formed like the perfect tense, except that the auxiliary is omitted for the 3rd person, both singular and plural:

Ана: - Затворих вратата
Ana: - I closed the door

Ана казва, че затворила вратата
Ana says that she closed the door

Indirect Future

For sentences in the future in the past tense, the tense changes to the indirect future when going from direct to indirect speech.

The indirect future is formed with the perfect form of the auxiliary verb ща (the aorist participle is щял, щяла, щяло, щели), followed by да and the present tense of the main verb:

Елена: "Щях да дойда, но нямах време."
Elena: "I was going to come, but I didn't have time."

Елена каза, че е щяла да дойде, но нямала време.
Elena said she was going to come, but she didn't have time.

This tense can also be used in place of the future, in the indirect speech, if that future action is uncertain.

Indirect Past Perfect

For sentences in the perfect or past perfect tense, when going from direct to indirect speech, the tense changes to the indirect past perfect (also called indirect pluperfect). This tense is formed with the perfect form of the auxiliary verb съм, followed by the aorist past participle of the main verb.

"Автобусът току-що беше тръгнал, когато стигнах на спирката" - каза Ana.
"The bus had just left when I got to the stop" - said Ana.

Ана каза, че автобусът току-що е бил тръгнал, когато е стигнала до спирката.
Anna said the bus had just left when she got to the stop.

New Vocabulary

  • on foot: пеша or пеш (adverbs, used interchangeably)
  • to change (to swap, to replace): сменям imperf., сменя (-и, смених) perf.
  • dentist: зъболекар (definite: зъболекарят)
  • museum: музей (plural: музеи, definite: музеят)
  • truth: истина

Exercises

Exercise 1

пеша, сменям, истина, зъболекар, музей

Start
2020-03-23T17:08:30.6396521Z