Volume 35, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper illustrates how enriched diachronic treebank data can shed new light on an old and vexed topic, even when that topic is primarily morphological and semantic in nature rather than syntactic. The topic is the rise of the Russian delimitatives, a change seen as crucial in most accounts of the history of Russian aspect, since it represents a major step in generalising the derivational aspect system. Earlier accounts concur that the delimitatives spread fairly recently, too recently for the development to be connected to the loss of the aorist tense, which also had delimitative readings with atelic verbs. Using treebank data from the Tromsø Old Russian and Old Church Slavonic Treebank, enriched with tags for derivational morphology and semantics, I show that the delimitatives were not marginal even in the earliest Slavic sources, either in terms of frequency or semantics, and that they first complemented and then competed with the delimitative aorists. It can thus be claimed that the exotic delimitatives grew organically out of the old Indo-European inflectional aspect system.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Amse-De Jong, Tine H.
    1974The meaning of the finite verb forms in the Old Church Slavonic Codex Suprasliensis: A synchronic study. The Hague: Mouton.10.1515/9783110876642
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110876642 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bermel, Neil
    1995 Aspect and the shape of action in Old Russian author(s). Russian Linguistics19(3). 333–348. 10.1007/BF01080603
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01080603 [Google Scholar]
  3. 1997Context and the lexicon in the development of Russian aspect (University of California Publications in Linguistics 129). Berkeley: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Dickey, Stephen M.
    2007 A prototype account of the development of delimitative po- in Russian. InDagmar Divjak & Agata Kochanska (eds.), Cognitive paths into the Slavic domain, 326–371. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.10.1515/9783110198799.4.329
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110198799.4.329 [Google Scholar]
  5. Dickey, Stephen
    2012 Orphan prefixes and the grammaticalization of aspect in South Slavic. Jezikoslovlje13(1). 71–105.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Dmitrieva, Ol’ga
    1991 Formirovanie semantičeskoj struktury russkogo glagol’nogo prefiksa po-. InLidija I. Barannikova (ed.), Aktivnye processy v jazyke i reči, 68–74. Saratov: Izdatel’stvo Saratovskogo universiteta.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. 2000 Formirovanie sistemy russkix delimitativnyx glagolov. InT. V. Kočetkova (ed.), Predloženie i slovo: paradigmatičeskij, tekstovyj i kommunikativnyj aspekty, 28–33. Saratov: Izdatel’stvo Saratovskogo pedagogičeskogo instituta.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Dostál, Antonin
    1954Studie o vidovém systému v staroslověnštině. Prague: Státní pedagogické nakladatelství.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Dowty, David R.
    1979Word meaning and Montague grammar: The semantics of verbs and times in generative semantics and in Montague’s PTQ. Dordrecht: Reidel. 10.1007/978‑94‑009‑9473‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-9473-7 [Google Scholar]
  10. Eckhoff, Hanne Martine & Aleksandrs Berdičevskis
    2015 Linguistics vs. digital editions: The Tromsø Old Russian and OCS treebank. Scripta & e-Scripta14–15. 9–25.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Eckhoff, Hanne Martine & Dag Trygve Truslew Haug
    2015 Aspect and prefixation in Old Church Slavonic. Diachronica32:2. 186–230. 10.1075/dia.32.2.02eck
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.32.2.02eck [Google Scholar]
  12. Eckhoff, Hanne, Kristin Bech, Kristine Eide, Gerlof Bouma, Dag Trygve Truslew Haug, Odd Einar Haugen & Marius Jøhndal
    2018 The PROIEL treebank family: A standard for early attestations of Indo-European languages. Language Resources and Evaluation52(1). 29–65. 10.1007/s10579‑017‑9388‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10579-017-9388-5 [Google Scholar]
  13. Forsyth, James
    1972 The nature and development of the aspectual opposition in the Russian verb. The Slavonic and East European Review50(121). 493–506.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Haug, Dag Trygve Truslew & Marius Jøhndal
    2008 Creating a parallel treebank of the old Indo-European Bible translations. InCaroline Sporleder & Kiril Ribarov (eds.), Proceedings of the language technology for cultural heritage data workshop (LaTeCh 2008), 27–34. Marrakech, Morocco. www.lrec-conf.org/proceedings/lrec2008/index.html (last accessed10 July 2018.)
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Janda, Laura A., Anna Endresen, Julia Kuznetsova, Olga Lyashevskaya, Anastasia Makarova, Anastasia, Tore Nesset & Svetlana Sokolova
    2013Why Russian aspectual prefixes aren’t empty: Prefixes as verb classifiers. Bloomington: Slavica.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Lakoff, George
    1966Stative adjectives and verbs in English. (Report NSF-17). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Computation Lab.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Meillet, Antoine
    1934Le slave commun. Paris: Champion.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Mišina, Ekaterina A.
    2017 K izučeniju perfektivnogo imperfekta v drevnerusskom jazyke (v sopostavlenii so staroslavjanskim). Russian Linguistics41(1). 1–15. 10.1007/s11185‑016‑9173‑x
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11185-016-9173-x [Google Scholar]
  19. Němec, Igor
    1954 O slovanské předponě po- slovesné. Slavia23. 1–22.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Růžička, Rudolf
    1957Der Verbalaspekt in der altrussischen Nestorchronik (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Slawistik 14). Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Schooneveld, Cornelis H. van
    1951 The aspect system of the Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian verbum finitum byti. Word7. 96–103. 10.1080/00437956.1951.11659396
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1951.11659396 [Google Scholar]
  22. Sigalov, Pavel S.
    1975 Istorija russkix ograničitel’nyx glagolov. Trudy po russkoj i slavjanskoj filologii: Serija lingvističeskaja24. 141–181.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Vendler, Zeno
    1957 Verbs and times. The Philosophical Review66(2). 143–160. 10.2307/2182371
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2182371 [Google Scholar]
  24. Živov, Viktor M.
    2017Istorija jazyka russkoj pis’mennosti, vol.1. Moscow: Universitet Dmitrija Požarskogo.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): aspect; delimitative; prefixation; Slavic; treebanks
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error