The many faces of perfective aspect in russian
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“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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The many faces of perfective aspect in russian

“The Many Faces of Perfective Aspect in Russian”

Laura A. Janda

University of Tromsø

[email protected]

http://hum.uit.no/lajanda/


Overview

Overview

  • Cluster Model: Three Metaphors

    • Solid vs. Substance => Perfective vs. Imperfective

    • Travel vs. Motion => Construal of Completability

    • Granular vs. Fluid => Construal of Singularizability

  • Cluster Model Predictions

    • Complex Act Perfectives and Biaspectuals

    • Single Act Perfectives and Allomorphy

  • Natural Perfectives and “Empty” Prefixes

    • Semantic Profiles

    • Constructional Profiles

    • Grammatical Profiles


Slavic aspect

Slavic Aspect:

  • Contrasts perfective vs. imperfective (no progressive and no neutral aspect)

  • Is independent of tense and other verbal categories

  • Implements imperfective (as unmarked) where other languages would have perfective

  • Has a complex and seemingly incoherent array of uses

  • Has a very complex system for aspectual derivation


Problem

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 forthcoming

Problem:


What is an aspectual cluster

What is an aspectual cluster?

  • An aspectual cluster is a group of verbs joined via transitive relationships on the basis of aspectual derivational morphology

    • All verbs in a cluster are aspectually related to a single lexical item

  • In addition to Imperfective Activity verbs, an aspectual cluster can include four types of Perfective verbs:

    • Natural Perfective, Specialized Perfective, Complex Act, Single Act


Four types of perfectives

Four types of Perfectives:

  • Natural Perfective:

    • napisat’p‘write’, svjazat’p‘tie’, o(b)ščipat’p ‘pinch/pluck’, оkrepnut’p ‘get stronger’

  • Specialized Perfective:

    • perepisat’p ‘rewrite’, razvjazat’p‘untie’, pererabotat’p‘revise’, vdut’p ‘blow in’, vyščipat’p‘pluck out’

  • Complex Act Perfective:

    • popisat’p ‘write a while’, porabotqt’p‘work a while’, podut’p ‘blow a while’, poščipatp ‘pinch/pluck a while’, poskripet’p‘squeak a while’

  • Single Act Perfective:

    • dunut’p ‘blow once’, ščipnut’p ‘pinch/pluck once’, skripnut’p‘squeak once’


The three metaphors

The three metaphors

  • Solid vs. Substance

    • Construal of event aspect type

    • Perfective vs. Imperfective

  • Travel vs. Motion

    • Construal of Completability

    • Natural & Specialized Perfective vs. Complex Act Perfective

  • Granular vs. Fluid

    • Construal of Singularizability

    • Single Act Perfective


Metaphor 1

Metaphor 1

Solid vs. Substance => Perfective vs. Imperfective


Traditional feature analyses

Traditional Feature Analyses

  • Boundedness, Totality, Definiteness, Change vs. Stability, Sequencing vs. Simultaneity, Exterior vs. Interior, Figure vs. Ground, Punctuality vs. Durativity, Resultative

  • Lack intricacy needed to account for uses

  • Are ultimately new synonyms for perfective vs. imperfective


The two types of matter

Discrete Solid Object:

Fluid substance:

The Two Types of Matter


Properties of matter and parameters of aspect

Properties of Matter and Parameters of Aspect

  • Inherent Properties -- correspond to inherent structure of situations and act as default values

  • Interactional Properties -- correspond to discourse structure, and can override Inherent Properties

  • Human Interactional Properties -- correspond to pragmatic structure, and can override Inherent Properties


A g properties inherent to types of matter

A. - G.: Properties inherent to types of matter

  • A. Edges

  • B. Shape

  • C. Integrity

  • D. Countability

  • E. Streamability

  • F. Penetrability

  • G. Conversions


A edges

Perfective:

Has edges 1)

Imperfective

Has no edges 2)

A. Edges


B shape

Perfective

Can have various shapes 3), 4), 5)

Imperfective

Has no shape but can spread 6), 7), 8), 9)

B. Shape


C integrity

Perfective:

A unique occurrence 10)

Imperfective:

Continuous processes and repetitions 11), 12)

C. Integrity


H k interactions of types of matter and discourse structure

H. – K.: Interactions of types of matter and discourse structure

  • H. Compatibility

  • I. Dynamicity

  • J. Salience

  • K. Contiguity


H compatibility

Perfective: Sequencing and future 24), 25), 26)

Imperfective:

Simultaneity and present 27), 28), 29), 30)

H. Compatibility


H compatibility cont d

H. Compatibility, cont’d.

  • Perfective embedded in imperfective:

    Interruption of ongoing action 31)


I dynamicity

Perfective: moves story along 32)

Imperfective slows story down 32)

I. Dynamicity


J salience

Perfective: obvious, foregrounded events 32)

Imperfective: backgrounded events 32), 33)

J. Salience


Metaphor 2

Metaphor 2

Travel vs. Motion => Construal of Completability

Natural & Specialized Perfective vs. Complex Act Perfective


Travel vs motion

Travel vs. Motion

One can travel to a destination

  • or –

    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


Completability

Pisatel’ pišeti 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.


Completability1

Completability:

  • Many verbs are Ambiguous:

    • Completable

      • Pisatel’ pišeti knigu‘A writer is writing a book’

    • Non-Completable

      • Pisatel’ pišeti knigi ‘A writer writes books’

  • Some verbs are Non-Completable: stonat’i ‘moan’

    • But some can be Completable if specialized

      • rabotat’i ‘work’ > pererabotat’p ‘revise’

  • Few verbs are unambiguously Completable:

    • krepnut’i > okrepnut’p‘get stronger’


What completability means for aspectual derivation

What Completability means for aspectual derivation:

  • Only verbs that can be construed as Completable have Natural Perfectives

    • pisat’i‘write’ > napisat’p‘write’,krepnut’i‘get stronger’ > okrepnut’p‘get stronger’

  • Only verbs that can be construed as Non-Completable have Complex Act Perfectives

    • pisat’i‘write’> popisat’p‘write a while’, stonat’i‘moan’> postonat’p ‘moan a while’, rabotat’i‘work’> porabotat’p ‘work a while’

  • Verbs that can be Completable if specialized have Specialized Perfectives

    • pisat’i‘write’> perepisat’p‘rewrite’, rabotat’i‘work’ > pererabotat’p‘revise’


Metaphor 3

Metaphor 3

Granular vs. Fluid => Construal of Singularizability

Single Act Perfective


Granular vs fluid

Granular vs. Fluid:

Substances can be:

Particulate, like sand

Continuous, like water

This can be likened to Singularizability of an action


Singularizability

Mal’čik duli na oduvančik.

‘The boy was blowing on the dandelion.’

Mal’čikdunulpna oduvančik.

‘The boy blew once on the dandelion.’

Professor rabotali v universitete.

‘The professor was working at the university.’

Singularizability:


What singularizability means for aspectual derivation

What Singularizability means for aspectual derivation:

  • Verbs that can be construed as Non-Completable and have a Complex Act Perfective can also have a Single Act Perfective:

    • ščipat’i‘pinch/pluck’ + poščipat’p ‘pinch/pluck a while’ > ščipnut’p‘pinch/pluck once’

    • dut’i ‘blow’ + podut’p ‘blow a while’ > dunut’p‘blow once’

    • skripet’i‘squeak’ + poskripet’p ‘squeak a while’ > skripnut’p‘squeak once’

    • rabotat’i‘work’ + porabotat’p‘work a while’ > *rabotnut’p‘work once’ [NB: Some are formed ad-hoc]


Singularizability and motion verbs

Singularizability and motion verbs:

  • The Non-Completable motion verbs can also be construed as Singularizable

    • xodit’i‘walk’ can refer to multiple round-trips, in which case there is a Single Act Perfectivesxodit’p‘make a single round trip’

On sxodilp v magazin

‘He went to the store

(and came back once)’


Advantages of the cluster model

Advantages of the cluster model:

  • The cluster model is more accurate than the “pair” model

  • Cluster structures are highly constrained and transparently motivated by meanings of verbs:

    • Verbs with Completable construals form Natural Perfectives

    • Verbs with Non-Completable construals form Complex Act Perfectives

    • Verbs with Granular construals form Single Act Perfectives

  • Motion verbs play a prototypical role in the system


Cluster model predictions

Cluster Model Predictions

Complex Act Perfectives and Biaspectuals

Single Act Perfectives and Allomorphy


Complex act perfectives and biaspectuals

Complex Act Perfectives and Biaspectuals


Biaspectual verbs

Biaspectual verbs

  • Can express both Imperfective and Natural Perfective with the same morphological form > indicates strong tendency for Completability, which should hinder formation of Complex Act Perfectives

  • Over 90% are foreign borrowings

  • All foreign verbs have –ova- suffix, which gives verbal inflection but does not designate aspect

  • Empirical study tests prediction of Cluster Model


Empirical study

Empirical study

  • Hypothesis:

    • Bi-aspectual borrowed verbs are strongly Completable (telic), so they will be unlikely to form Complex Act Perfectives with po-

    • Imperfective borrowed verbs will be more likely to form Complex Act Perfectives with po-


Empirical study of biaspectuals

Empirical study of Biaspectuals

  • Methodology:

    • Cull all foreign verbs from a single source

    • Sort Biaspectual vs. Imperfective

    • Collect data on frequency of unprefixed and po- prefixed (Complex Act Perfective) forms


Results of empirical study

Results of empirical study

  • 555 foreign verbs in Wheeler 1972/1992

    • 349 (63%) Bi-aspectual

    • 206 (37%) Imperfective

Yes! Logistic regression model using Pearson’s

statistic yields 107.37 and the associated

p-value is <.0001

Is this significant?


Single act perfectives and allomorphy

Single Act Perfectives and Allomorphy


A little problem

A little problem...

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’).

Чихнет


The many faces of perfective aspect in russian

But...

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


Allomorphy hypothesis

Allomorphy hypothesis

  • Suffix -nu and prefix s- are allomorphs if

    • They are in complementary distribution

    • They have the same function

  • Databases of Single Act Perfectives with -nu and s-

    • Statistical Analysis of distribution


Nu database

-nu database

  • 295 Imperfective verbs form Single Act Perfectives with -nu

    • collected by Anastasia Makarova

    • data from Švedova et al. 1980, Zaliznjak 1980 and “Exploring Emptiness” database at UiT

Плеснуть

или плескануть?

  • includes both -nu and -аnu verbs like pleskat’ ‘splash’ which forms plesnut’ and pleskanut’ ‘splash once’

  • includes both reflexive and non-reflexive verbs like kačat’/kačnut’, kačat’sja/kačnut’sja ‘swing/swing once’


S database

s- database

Схитрил?

  • 105 Imperfective verbs form Single Act Perfectives with s-

    • collected by Laura Janda with help from Anastasia Makarova

    • data from 17 V Dictionary, Zaliznjak 1980 and Isačenko 1960

    • includes 11 motion verbs like xodit’/sxodit’ ‘go/go someplace and come back once’

    • includes both reflexive and non-reflexive verbs like lovčit’/slovčit’, lovčit’sja/slovčit’sja ‘be sneaky/do one sneaky thing’


Are nu and s in complementary distribution

Are -nu and s- in complementary distribution?


The many faces of perfective aspect in russian

  • chi-squared = 259.3

  • (p<0.0001, df=5)

  • Cramer’s V = 0.8

  • (enormous effect)


Do nu and s have the same function

Do -nu and s- have the same function?

  • Yes, they can both mean ‘do something once’

  • There is one verb that uses both -nu and s- to form synonyms: xvastat’: xvastnut’/xvastanut’, sxvastat’ ‘brag once’

  • There are several verbs that use -nu and s- simultaneously: sgrustnut’, sgrustnut’sja, ‘feel sad once’ smetnut’, smetnut’sja ‘leap sideways (once; of animals)’, struxnut’ ‘do one cowardly thing’

Хвастнул

или схвастал?


The function of nu and s is not entirely identical

The function of -nu and s- is not entirely identical...

  • With -nu we usually extract a single cycle from a series of repeated events: čixat’/čixnut’ ‘sneeze/sneeze once’, lizat’/liznut’ ‘lick/lick once’

  • With s- we often have something that actually only happened once: malodušestvovat’/smalodušestvovat’ ‘act cowardly/do once cowardly thing’

Real series

of events

Potential series

of events

-nu

s-


Evaluation of the allomorphy hypothesis

Are -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.

Mostly.

Yes.

Evaluation of the Allomorphy hypothesis


Natural perfectives and empty prefixes

Natural Perfectives and “Empty” Prefixes

Semantic Profiles

Constructional Profiles

Grammatical Profiles


Thought experiment

Thought experiment

That’s weird!

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?


Exploring emptiness research group at the university of troms

“Exploring Emptiness” research group at the University of Tromsø

Investigating verbal morphology

traditionally claimed to be semantically “empty”

Olga

Lyashevskaya

Tore

Nesset

Svetlana

Sokolova

yours

truly

Julia Kuznetsova & Anastasia Makarova

(not pictured)


Natural perfectives and linguistic profiles

Natural Perfectives and Linguistic Profiles

  • ~2000 imperfective verbs in Russian form a Natural Perfective with an “empty prefix”

  • 19 prefixes supposedly have the same “empty” meaning

    • How can we prove that the “empty” prefixes are not empty?

    • Linguistic Profiles

      • Semantic Profiles

      • Constructional Profiles

      • Grammatical Profiles

  • Databases and statistical analyses


Natural perfectives and empty prefixes1

Natural Perfectives and Empty Prefixes

Semantic Profiles

with Olga Lyashevskaya

Semantic Classes assigned by the Russian National Corpus


The many faces of perfective aspect in russian

chi-squared = 106.24

df = 10

p-value < 2.2e-16

Cramers V = 0.3

(moderate effect)


Natural perfectives and empty prefixes2

Natural Perfectives and Empty Prefixes

Constructional Profiles

Forthcoming PhD dissertation by Svetlana Sokolova


Constructional profiles of verbs

Constructional Profiles of Verbs

  • Relative frequency distributions of constructions

  • Constructional profiles show that near synonyms can behave very differently

  • Constructional profiles can show that the “empty” prefixes are not so empty


Gruzit load one verb with three empty pre fixes

Gruzit’ ‘load’: one verb with three “empty” prefixes?

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?)


Relevant constructions

Relevant Constructions

  • Accusative marks load (locatum)

    • Acc + na/v + Acc (nagruzit’ jaščiki na teležku ‘load boxes onto the wagon’)

    • Acc (zagruzit’ ugol’ budet problematično ‘loading the coal will be problematic’)

  • Accusative marks container (location)

    • Acc + Inst (on nagruzil sanki proviziej ‘he loaded the sleighs with provisions’)

    • Acc (nagruzili telegi i uexali v gorod ‘they loaded the wagons and rode to town’)

  • Data: 935 sentences from the Russian National Corpus


The many faces of perfective aspect in russian

  • chi-squared = 452.827

  • (p<0.0001, df=6)

  • Cramer’s V = 0.507

  • (large effect)


Natural perfectives and empty prefixes3

Natural Perfectives and Empty Prefixes

Grammatical Profiles


The many faces of perfective aspect in russian

Distribution of Paradigm Forms

for Natural Perfectives

formed with prefixes

za-, na-, pro-, s-

198,132 datapoints

representing 467 verbs in RNC


The many faces of perfective aspect in russian

  • chi-squared = 7823.7

  • (p<0.0001, df=9)

  • Cramer’s V = 0.1

  • (small effect)


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Cluster Model provides a better analysis of

    • Perfective vs. Imperfective than feature analysis

    • Aspectual relations than traditional “pair” model

  • Cluster Model makes predictions borne out by the data

    • Biaspectual verbs are strongly Completable and avoid formation of Complex Act Perfectives

    • Suffix -nu and prefix s- collaborate in a state of near-allomorphy to form Single Act Perfectives

  • Cluster Model helps debunk “empty” prefix myth by showing relationship between prefixes and

    • Semantic profiles

    • Constructional profiles

    • Grammatical profiles


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