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PREFACE The  objective  of  this  book  is  to  show  how  Russian  verbal  prefixes  ex-­‐‑ press  meaning,  even  when  they  are  used  to  form  the  perfective  part-­‐‑ ners  of  aspectual  pairs.  We  argue  that  the  prefixes  in  verbs  like  напис-­‐‑ ать/na-­‐‑pisat’   ‘write’   and   сварить/s-­‐‑varit’   ‘cook’   have   a   semantic   pur-­‐‑ pose,  even  though  the  corresponding  imperfective  verbs  писать/pisat’   ‘write’  and  варить/varit’  ‘cook’  have  the  same  lexical  meanings.  We  set   forward   a   new   hypothesis,   namely   that   the   Russian   verbal   prefixes   function   as   verb   classifiers,   parallel   to   numeral   classifiers.   Our   argu-­‐‑ ment  draws  on  research  conducted  under  the  auspices  of  grants  from   the  Norwegian  Research  Council  and  the  Center  for  Advanced  Study   at  the  Norwegian  Academy  of  Science  and  Letters  in  Oslo.  In  this  book   we  offer  the  highlights  of  our  findings;  readers  who  wish  more  detail   may   consult   our   articles   cited   in   the   references.   The   target   audience   includes  Slavic  linguists  and  general  linguists,  as  well  as  teachers  and   advanced  learners  of  Russian.  Though  the  argumentation  is  inspired   by  the  framework  of  cognitive  linguistics,  this  book  is  designed  to  be   relatively   theory-­‐‑neutral,   attractive   to   all   kinds   of   linguists,   and   accessible  to  non-­‐‑linguists.  The  studies  in  the  book  make  use  of  quan-­‐‑ titative  research  on  corpus  data  and  statistical  models  (chi-­‐‑square,  lo-­‐‑ gistic  regression,  etc.),  though  these  are  presented  in  a  common-­‐‑sense   way   that   assumes   no   special   expertise.   To   supplement   the   book   we   have  created  a  user-­‐‑friendly  interactive  webpage  that  can  be  accessed   for  free  at  This  webpage  houses  links   to  our  database  plus  additional  data  from  the  studies  we  cite.   This   book   narrates   recent   breakthroughs   in   research   on   Russian   aspect  and  demonstrates  a  range  of  methodologies  designed  to  probe   the   relationship   between   the   meaning   and   distribution   of   linguistic   forms.  These  methodologies  are  used  to  investigate  the  “empty”  pre-­‐‑ fixes  (Chapters  2  and  3),  alternating  constructions  (Chapter  4),  prefix   variation  (Chapter  5),  and  aspectual  triplets  (Chapter  6).  Though  these   phenomena  have  long  been  known  to  exist,  their  extent  and  behavior   have  not  been  previously  explored  in  such  detail.  We  propose  (Chap-­‐‑ xii WHY RUSSIAN ASPECTUAL PREFIXES AREN’T EMPTY ter  7)  that  the  “purely  aspectual  prefixes”  constitute  a  system  of  verbal   classifiers  akin  to  numeral  classifiers  found  in  many  languages  of  the   world.   In   other   words,   the   verbal   prefixes   select   verbs   according   to   broad   semantic   traits,   categorizing   them   the   way   numeral   classifiers   categorize  nouns.  The  purpose  of  the  prefixes  is  to  convert  amorphous   states  and  activities  into  discrete  events  and  to  group  verbs  according   to  the  types  of  events  they  express.   Chapter  1  (Aspectual  Prefixes:  Emptiness  vs.  Overlap)  presents  the   Russian   aspectual   system   and   the   problem   of   the   “purely   aspectual   prefixes”  against  the  context  of  other  uses  of  verbal  prefixes  and  suf-­‐‑ fixes.   Two   hypotheses   are   advanced,   both   of   which   are   well   docu-­‐‑ mented   in   the   scholarly   literature:   the   Empty   Prefix   Hypothesis   and   the   Overlap   Hypothesis.   According   to   the   Empty   Prefix   Hypothesis,   which  is  dominant  in  the  field,  a  prefix  that  forms  an  aspectual  pair  is   void  of  meaning;  it  merely  marks  a  verb  as  perfective.  The  alternative   Overlap   Hypothesis   proposes   instead   that   the   meanings   of   prefixes   overlap   with   the   meanings   of   verbs   when   they   are   used   to   form   as-­‐‑ pectual   pairs.   It   is   this   overlap   that   creates   an   illusion   of   emptiness.   The   remaining   chapters   provide   various   kinds   of   evidence   for   the   Overlap  Hypothesis.  The  database  that  underlies  the  studies  described   in  the  book  is  also  featured  in  this  chapter.   Chapters   2,   3,   and   4   present   the   principled   quantitative   methods   we  have  developed  to  probe  the  meanings  of  the  prefixes.  The  prefixes   are  grouped  according  to  the  number  of  base  verbs  they  combine  with   to   form   aspectual   partners:   the   “small”   prefixes   perfectivize   smaller   numbers  of  base  verbs  (ranging  from  3  to  123),  whereas  the  “big”  pre-­‐‑ fixes  combine  with  larger  numbers  of  base  verbs  (ranging  from  142  to   417).   We   have   designed   two   different   methods   to   handle   these   two   groups   of   prefixes:   “radial   category   profiling”   and   “semantic   profil-­‐‑ ing.”  In  addition,  the  “constructional  profiling”  method  integrates  the   variable  of  grammatical  constructions  into  a  case  study  contrasting  the   meanings  of  three  prefixes.   Chapter   2   (Small   Prefixes:   Radial   Category   Profiling)   introduces   the  radial  category  model  and  gives  case  studies  of  the  radial  category   profiling   methodology   applied   to   “small”   prefixes.   This   method   has   two  steps.  In  step  one  we  map  out  the  meanings  of  a  prefix  on  the  ba-­‐‑ sis  of  verbs  where  the  prefix  clearly  has  a  “non-­‐‑empty”  meaning  be-­‐‑ cause  it  does  not...


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