Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

Bulgarian Verbs of Change of Location

Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

Bulgarian Verbs of Change of Location

Article excerpt

Abstract: Bulgarian verbs that denote change of location divide the space of linear motion in specific ways. Otivam 'go', a source-and-path oriented verb (Fillmore 1983), entails movement away from a starting point along a path. Associated adverbs and PPs express its goal or purpose. Idvam (perfective dojda) 'come', a path-and-goal oriented verb, entails movement along a path towards a goal at the speaker's or listener's location (deictic center). Zaminavam and tragvam, both glossed as 'leave', are source-oriented verbs, which have movement away from starting point/source at departure time, [t.sub.1], coded in their meaning. With zaminavam, [t.sub.1] is extended to include preparation prior to departure, while with tragvam it is not. Xodja and varvja, roughly 'walk', are path-oriented verbs denoting the homogenous activity of traversing a path. Both can refer to movement on foot, but normally only varvja can refer to movement of vehicles. Pristigam 'arrive' is a goal-oriented verb which entails arrival at the goal, often at specific arrival time, [t.sub.2]. Elements of motion not coded in verbal meanings, e.g., the source of idvam, may be specified by PPs or AdvPs.

1. Introduction

This article presents a lexical semantic analysis of the basic meanings of seven motion verbs in Bulgarian: tragvam 'go/leave', zaminavam 'go/leave', otivam 'go', xodja 'go/walk', varvja 'go/walk', idvam 'come', and pristigam arrive. (1) It starts with a brief review of earlier analyses of motion verbs in Bulgarian, and a discussion of verbs of motion in general, assigning the verbs in this study to categories defined in the relevant literature (section 1). It proceeds with analysis of these verbs divided into five groups: (2) source-oriented verbs (section 2), source-and-path-oriented verbs (section 3), path-oriented verbs (section 4), path-and-goal-oriented verbs (section 5), and goal-oriented verbs (section 6). Where relevant, it discusses the possibilities of replacing one verb with another and the corresponding changes in meaning from a discourse-pragmatic perspective. The concluding remarks present a summary of how these verbs divide linear motion (section 7).

The current literature on Bulgarian motion verbs provides a good starting point for my analysis. Trifonova (1982: 105-108) draws attention to the fact that other Slavic languages like Russian and Czech have preserved the Old Slavic opposition of motion verbs based on the direction of movement in space and have developed an additional opposition based on the manner of motion, i.e., movement on foot vs. movement with a vehicle (e.g., Russian idti-xodit' 'go' and Czech jitchodit 'go'). She points out that, unlike them, contemporary Bulgarian has lost the first and has not developed the second opposition. Instead, Bulgarian verbs like idvam (=ida1) 'come' and xodja 'go/walk' form a new deictic opposition based on whether the movement is towards the location of the participants in the communicative act, i.e., idvam implies movement towards speaker or hearer (3) or movement towards a place which could be designated as here from the point of view of the speaker or hearer, whereas xodja does not contain such implications and is used when the movement is towards a location of a third person, where neither the speaker nor the hearer is located (109-12). (4)

For Holman and Kovaceva (1993: 214-15), the major difference between otivam 'go' and xodja 'go/walk' is that the first verb refers to going somewhere now, at the moment of speech, while the second verb refers to going somewhere often, i.e., to repeated movements.

Fetvadzieva (2000: 12-13) compares idvam (= ida1) 'come', otivam (=ida2) 'go', and xodja 'go/walk'. According to her analysis, idvam and otivam share the semantic component "direction", but idvam is marked with an additional feature "towards the location of the speaker or hearer", whereas xodja lacks the semantic feature "direction" altogether (cf. …

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