I have learned that in the Galician Ukrainian dialect the verbs in past tense are used in the future. Are there any other languages with the same structure?

For example:

"Будеш з нами їв?" = "Will you ate with us?" (not "Will you eat with us?")

"Буду далi крутив" = "I'll continue to twisted" (not "I'll continue twisting")


  • 11
    Polish «Będziesz pisał?» (“Will you write?”) sounds as if it's past used with future meaning. The only mistake is that neither the Polish forms in -ł, nor the Ukrainian forms in -в in your examples are not actually past forms. Historically, they are special participles used exclusively for making analytical verb forms, and never as attributes, the function other kinds of participles are always ready to perform. Your Ukrainian forms are actually perfect with the auxiliary verb ‘to be’ in the present tense missing.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jul 18, 2022 at 18:15
  • In English, the future perfect tense (will definitely be) seems to be derived from the past tense. Maybe somebody who knows middle or old English can make a full answer.
    – Joshua
    Jul 19, 2022 at 20:49

3 Answers 3


Let me explain it all in detail.
The Slavic languages originally had 4 past tenses, of which two were simple and two analytical.
The simple past tenses of the Old Church Slavonic verb “to see” видѣти (perfective aspect), оувидѣти (imperfective aspect) are:

Aorist: видѣхъ “I saw (once)”
Imperfect: видѣахъ “I saw (usually, several times)”

Analytical past tenses:

Perfect: ѥсмь оувидѣлъ “I have seen (masculine)”
Pluperfect: бѣахъ видѣлъ “I had seen (masculine)”

And there were 2 Future tenses:

Future I: начьнѫ/хоштѭ/имамь видѣти “I will see”
Future II: бѫдѫ видѣлъ “I will have seen (masculine)”

There used to be 2 active past participles, видѣв(ши) and видѣлъ “that saw”, of which the former could be used attributively, but the latter was used exclusively in analytical tenses, in Perfect, Pluperfect, Future II, and also in the Subjunctive Mood, видѣлъ бимь “I would see (masculine)”.

During the last millennium, most Slavic languages lost the simple past tenses, they remained only in Bulgarian and in a somehow changed form in Macedonian. The rest of the Slavic languages (like Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish) have kept just the Perfect tense (and Pluperfect, too, in some languages like Ukrainian). In the East Slavic languages the auxiliary verb ‘to be’ in the present tense mostly fell out of usage, that is why in Russian the modern “past tense” form of the verb does not have any person as a verb form should do, but instead it has number and gender forms like adjectives and participles, since a participle it actually is. The Polish language has kept the auxiliary ‘to be’, but as a clitic, not as a stand-alone form: pisałam “I wrote (feminine)” has this clitic -m at the end which is all that has remained of the original ѥсмь (jesmĭ) “[I] am”. A very similar situation is in the West Ukrainian dialects, where the support of the neighboring Polish and Slovak languages helped to keep those Perfect personal clitics: писала-м “I wrote (feminine)”.

As for the Future tenses, in most modern Slavic languages they got contaminated, the two future tenses fused into one tense: the Future II auxiliary verb ‘to be’ in its Future form (‘to be’ is the only Slavic verb that has a future tense stem) began to be used with the infinitive, like in Future I. Still, Polish has kept the Future II as it used to be, but only formally, of its ‘Future Perfect’ meaning only ‘Future’ remains, the ‘Perfect’ component of the meaning got lost, so now Polish has two analytical future forms, Future I of ‘to be’ + Infinitive and Future II of ‘to be’ + the exclusive special participle in . ‘I will write’ in the two Polish analytical Future tenses:

Future I: będę pisać
Future II: będę pisał

These two Future tenses have absolutely the same meaning, the difference being only stylistic. As far as I know, the modern Polish Future II is considered to be somehow more bookish and polite, although some use the two tenses indiscriminately or prefer just one of them. It is hard to tell for sure how a similar future tense appeared in the West Ukrainian dialects, it is either by parallel evolution or by Polish influence, or maybe both.

As you can see, those examples you presented have nothing to do with past, except that the participle used in those analytical future forms is also used to form past tenses. If in English in Past Perfect ‘I had seen’ and Future Perfect ‘I'll have seen’ there's the same form ‘seen’, it doesn't mean there's something past in the English future, it is the ‘Perfect’ thing that is common there.


Alongside Yellow Sky's lovely answer, I do want to add that his answer does not seem to be the full story. The South Slavic languages he mentioned retaining those old analytical pasts still occasionally use them with a future meaning. The following are examples from Macedonian (Minova-Ǵurkova et al., 2008):

  • Утре ти ги купив. (Lit. "I bought them for you tomorrow") - I am buying them for you tomorrow (no matter what)!
  • Готово, сега те фатив! (Lit. "I caught you now") - I'm going to catch you!
  • Ајде јас излегов! (Lit. "I left now") - I'm leaving now!

This usage tends to convey an imminent and/or near future. This could be explained by simply positing that this is an idiosyncratic and ultimately figurative usage of the aorist. An alternative analysis (on Serbian, but may be extended to at least Macedonian as well) presented by Sanja Dragačević (2002) is that South Slavic languages are tenseless, and that the analytical tenses do not mark tense at all, but are in fact aspect markers.


  • Bojkovska, S., Minova-Ǵurkova, L., Pandev, D., & Cvetkovski, Z. (2008). Opšta gramatika na makedonskiot jazik.
  • Dragacevic, S. (2002). Time computation in tenseless languages. SOAS University of London.

In Hebrew, the two main finite verb forms are originally aspectual rather than tensed: the Perfect (pa'al) denotes a completed act, and the Imperfect (yiph'al) an incomplete one. These are often used for past and future respectively, and in Modern Hebrew are AFAIK exclusively so.

In Biblical Hebrew, they are less firmly tied to tense, though there is still a tendency for the Perfect to be past and the Imperfect future in meaning.

However, there is a construction someime called "Vav conversion" or "Vav consecutive" whereby when the clitic וְ (/ve/) meaning "and" is attached to a finite verb, it effectively swaps the aspects (and, often, the effective tense).

So in many instances in the Torah, sentences like "The priest did ... and did ... and did ... ", the first verb is Perfect, and the others (with /ve/) are Imperfect in form. Conversely "They shall do ... and do ... and do ..." begins with an Imperfect, and the following verbs are Perfect in form.

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