“The Many Faces of Perfective Aspect in Russian”. Laura A. Janda University of Tromsø [email protected] http://hum.uit.no/lajanda/. Overview. Cluster Model: Three Metaphors Solid vs. Substance => Perfective vs. Imperfective Travel vs. Motion => Construal of Completability
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Model of aspectual “pairs” has a long tradition:
Vinogradov 1938, Šaxmatov 1941, Bondarko 1983, Čertkova 1996, Zaliznjak & Šmelev 2000, Timberlake 2004
Suspicions that aspectual relationships involve more complex clusters have arisen:
Isačenko 1960, Bertinetto & Delfitto 2000, Tatevosov 2002, Janda forthcomingProblem:
Solid vs. Substance => Perfective vs. Imperfective
Fluid substance:The Two Types of Matter
Has edges 1)
Has no edges 2)A. Edges
Can have various shapes 3), 4), 5)
Has no shape but can spread 6), 7), 8), 9)B. Shape
A unique occurrence 10)
Continuous processes and repetitions 11), 12)C. Integrity
Simultaneity and present 27), 28), 29), 30)H. Compatibility
Interruption of ongoing action 31)
Perfective: moves story along 32) structure
Imperfective slows story down 32)I. Dynamicity
Imperfective: backgrounded events 32), 33)J. Salience
Travel vs. Motion => Construal of Completability
Natural & Specialized Perfective vs. Complex Act Perfective
One can travel to a destination
One can move without a destination
This distinction is grammaticalized in Russianmotion verbs: idtii‘walk (somewhere)’vs. xodit’i ‘walk (around, back and forth)’
This can be likened to the Completability of an action
Pisatel’ structurepišeti knigu.
‘The writer is writing a book.’
Professor rabotaeti v universitete.
‘The professor is working at the university.’Completability:
Note that Completability is a scale involving various kinds of construal.
Granular vs. Fluid => Construal of Singularizability
Single Act Perfective
Substances can be:
Particulate, like sand
Continuous, like water
This can be likened to Singularizability of an action
Mal’čik structureduli na oduvančik.
‘The boy was blowing on the dandelion.’
‘The boy blew once on the dandelion.’
Professor rabotali v universitete.
‘The professor was working at the university.’Singularizability:
On sxodilp v magazin
‘He went to the store
(and came back once)’
Complex Act Perfectives and Biaspectuals
Single Act Perfectives and Allomorphy
Yes! Logistic regression model using Pearson’s
statistic yields 107.37 and the associated
p-value is <.0001
Is this significant?
The Cluster Model claims that Single Act Perfectives are formed both with the suffix -nu (as in čixnut’ ‘sneeze once’) and with the prefix s- (primarily for motion verbs like sxodit’ ‘go someplace and come back once’).
this is a strange combination of -nu and s- and there is very little in the scholarly literature to support grouping these two morphemes together
Are structure-nu and s- in complementary distribution?
Do -nu and s- have the same function?
Is the Allomorphy hypothesis confirmed?
Is the Cluster Model confirmed?
Statistically speaking, almost.
As far as we can tell, almost.
Yes.Evaluation of the Allomorphy hypothesis
Reasonable answer: ONE prefix
… but Russian has 19!
(Krongauz 1998:64 ,99)
Imagine a language with aspect
Two values: Imperfective and Perfective
Perfective = prefix + Imperfective
Prefixation contributes only “Perfective”
How many prefixes does this language need?
Investigating verbal morphology
traditionally claimed to be semantically “empty”
Julia Kuznetsova & Anastasia Makarova
with Olga Lyashevskaya
Semantic Classes assigned by the Russian National Corpus
chi-squared = 106.24 structure
df = 10
p-value < 2.2e-16
Cramers V = 0.3
Forthcoming PhD dissertation by Svetlana Sokolova
It is traditionally claimed that in aspectual pairs such as pisat’/napisat’ ‘write’, morozit’/zamorozit’ ‘freeze’, obedat’/poobedat’ ‘eat lunch’ the prefixes na-, zа-, pо-are “empty” (have zero meaning)
A few verbs have more than one “empty” prefix: gruzit’ ‘load’ has three Natural Perfectives nagruzit’, zagruzit’, pogruzit’
The constructional profiles of these three verbs are very different, indicating that the prefixes cannot be empty (How could there be three different zeroes?)
Distribution of Paradigm Forms structure
for Natural Perfectives
formed with prefixes
za-, na-, pro-, s-
representing 467 verbs in RNC