Chapter 5. Perfectives from indeterminate motion verbs in Russian

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Motion verbs are “exceptions” to the Russian aspect system because: (1) they have two stems (determinate and indeterminate); and (2) prefixation of indeterminate stems yields imperfective verbs (cf., uxodit’i ‘leave’). Furthermore, as an exception to (2), there are some prefixed perfective verbs derived from indeterminate stems, such as poxodit’p ‘walk for a while’ and iznosit’p ‘wear out’. This article addresses these “exceptions to the exceptions” from the perspective of the “cluster” model of Russian aspect (Janda 2007), using a database extracted from the Russian National Corpus. I argue that the motion verbs are prototypical in their aspectual behavior and that a single distinction, that of Completability, can account for the aspectual behavior of both motion and non-motion verbs.


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