In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Christina Y. Bethin, ed. American Contributions to the 14th International Congress of Slavists, Ohrid, September 2008. Vol. 1: Linguistics. Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 181–96. Semantic Motivations for Aspectual Clusters of Russian Verbs Laura A. Janda 1. Introduction Lexical meaning and aspect do not function independently in Russian. The meanings of verbs motivate their aspectual behavior because different types of events and their relationship to time are conceptualized in different ways. This article demonstrates how the presence of specific components in the meanings of Russian verbs correlates with the formation of specific types of Perfectives. The aspectual derivation patterns of Russian verbs are transparently motivated by the meanings of the verbs themselves. In order to explore how differences in meaning motivate differences in the aspectual behavior of verbs, it is necessary to replace the overly-simplistic “pair” model of Russian aspect with a more nuanced model, the “cluster” model, which recognizes various types of Perfectives and cluster structures based on a single Implicational Hierarchy. This article is devoted to the three metaphors that motivate the patterns observed in the Russian aspectual system. The structure of aspectual clusters is highly constrained due to the logic of how the metaphors interact, motivating the Implicational Hierarchy which in turn orders the composition of clusters. The different cluster structures associated with different verbs are largely predictable from the lexical meanings of the verbs. In this model motion verbs play a central, prototypical role in aspect, rather than being relegated to the status of oddities. Bi-aspectual verbs are also accommodated. 2. The Pair Model vs. the Cluster Model All Russian verbs are either Perfective (marked here with a superscript “p”) or Imperfective (marked with a superscript “i”) in all forms and tenses, and indeed even bi-aspectual verbs are never ambiguous in context (Isachenko 1960: 143–44; Muchnik 1966: 61; Avilova 1968: 66; Galton 1976: 294; Gladney 1982: 202; Chertkova 1996: 100–9; Jászay 1999: 169; Zalizniak and Shmelev 2000: 10; but note the lone dissenter Timberlake (2004: 407–9), who refers to bi-aspectual verbs as “anaspectual”). The ubiquity of the Perfective vs. Imperfective distinction, combined with the existence of verbs such as !"#$%"&'p and #$%"&'i , both of which mean ‘write’, but differ only in their aspect, has inspired several generations of Slavists to claim that all (or nearly all) Russian verbs exist as aspectual “pairs” (cf. for example 182 LAURA A. JANDA Vinogradov 1938; Shakhmatov 1941; Bondarko 1983; Chertkova 1996; Zalizniak and Shmelev 2000; Timberlake 2004). Only occasionally have scholars voiced suspicions that there may actually be more complexity than “pairs” in the aspectual system of Russian (Isachenko 1960; Bertinetto and Delfitto 2000; Tatevosov 2002). The one thing that these challenges to the prevailing “pair” model share is the observation that there are often two or more Perfective verbs aspectually related to a given Imperfective verb. Thus, for example, !"#$%&i ‘write’ is aspectually related to many Perfective verbs, among them '$!"#$%&p ‘write’, !(!"#$%&p ‘write (for a while)’, !()!"#$%&p ‘sign’, and !*+*!"#$%&p ‘rewrite’. The “pair” model is inadequate to account for any relationship that involves more than one Perfective verb in association with one Imperfective verb. One solution to the proliferation of Perfectives is to recognize only Perfectives with secondary Imperfectives as “pairs” e.g., !()!"#$%&p ‘sign’ – !()!"#,-$%&i ‘sign’, and !*+*!"#$%&p ‘rewrite’ – !*+*!"#,-$%&i ‘rewrite’. This approach, however, ignores the relationships among verbs such as !"#$%&i ‘write’, '$!"#$%&p ‘write’ and !(!"#$%&p ‘write (for a while)’. In Janda forthcoming a I propose an alternative model that recognizes as an aspectual “cluster” any group of verbs joined via transitive relationships on the basis of aspectual derivational morphology. In other words, an aspectual cluster contains all verbs that are aspectually related to each other. In the case of !"#$%&i ‘write’, this would include all the Perfectives listed above along with their secondary Imperfectives, as well as Perfectives such as !(!()!"#,-$%&p ‘sign (for a while)’. In the remainder of this section I present a brief description of the mechanics of the cluster model as background for the main purpose of this article. I then undertake a semantic analysis of the metaphorical motives for aspectual clusters, building on Janda forthcoming a which does not offer a semantic analysis. This constitutes the main contribution of this article. The presence of a one-to-many relationship between an Imperfective verb and related Perfective verbs suggests that there are several different types of Perfectives. In Janda forthcoming a I identify four types of Perfectives which are distinct in terms of their morphological and semantic profiles: • Natural Perfectives, which usually describe the natural culmination of an Imperfective Activity, as in...


Additional Information

Print ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.