Biaspectual verbs: A marginal category?

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Abstract

The hallmark property of the Russian verbal system is taken to be the bipartite perfective/imperfective distinction in the domain of grammatical aspect. In this paper we show that there is a substantial and productive class of morphologically complex verbs that do not clearly pattern as either perfective or imperfective on standard formal (distributional) tests for perfectivity versus imperfectivity. Such verbs also pose problems for contemporary syntactic approaches to Russian complex verbs. The main innovation we propose is a new positive test for perfectivity which, along with the standard formal (distributional) tests, allows us to provide empirical evidence for the existence of a class of verbs that exhibit a variable grammatical aspect behavior, i.e., behave like perfective or imperfective verbs in dependence on context. Apart from shedding a new light on the standard tests for the aspectual membership of Russian verbs, the main empirical outcome seems to suggest that a third–biaspectual–class of verbs which cannot be neatly aligned with either the perfective or imperfective class must be recognized. This immediately raises the question about its status with respect to the traditional bipartite perfective/imperfective distinction.

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APA

Zinova, Y., & Filip, H. (2015). Biaspectual verbs: A marginal category? In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 8984, pp. 310–332). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-46906-4_18

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