Chapter 6. Aspects of motion

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In this paper, I investigate the semantic and pragmatic properties of the indeterminate imperfective aspect exhibited by verbs of motion in Russian. As pointed out by Forsyth (1970), indeterminate verbs are associated with a wide range of usages, which include iterativity, habituality, motion in multiple directions, and naming the type of motion. While iterativity seems to constitute a good candidate for a property that unifies all these usages, I argue that the indeterminate aspect does not entail event repetition. I argue instead that this aspect constitutes an identity function and that the aspectual restrictions imposed on sentences which contain indeterminate verbs are pragmatic, rather than semantic, in nature. I show that these restrictions are derived from independently motivated pragmatic principles.


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