Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

Aspectual Clusters of Russian Sound Verbs

Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

Aspectual Clusters of Russian Sound Verbs

Article excerpt

4. Cluster Elements and Their Expression

Clusters of sound verbs in the sense of speaking consist of two impf elements (A and A DI) and six pf ones (NP SP, SP NP, SP, CA, SA, and SSA). The most frequent cluster elements are A, CA, and NP SP, which are part of all eight cluster types, followed by SP (34 verbs occurring in six cluster types, ##1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8).

4.1. The Element A

The base or simplex verb, when complemented by direct or indirect speech, transforms normally atelic sound verbs, as in (26a), into telic ones, as in (26b). Compare:

(26) a. Tixo brjakal i kolokol v bliznej kirxe.

'The bell in the nearby church clanged softly.' (A. Kucaev/RNC)

b. Vse-taki stoit ... bubnit' i brjakat' i cto my po-preznemu xotim zit' svobodnymi ljud'mi.

"It is worthwhile to mutter and even blurt out that we want to live like free people as before.' (Fajbisovic/G)

4.2. The Element NP SP

Expressed by a pro-prefixed verb, this element was treated as a pf correlate in this study (see 3.1.4.2). All 43 pro-prefixed sound verbs appeared to be recorded in dictionaries, though the sense of speaking often remained unmentioned.

4.3. The Element CA

My treatment of the Complex Act Perfective is described in section 1.2.4.2. The element CA in this study turned out to be expressed by verbs with the following prefixes: za- (43 verbs), po- (11), vz- (10), na(4), pro- (2), and ot (1).

4.3.1. Verbs with za-

Complex Acts in all clusters contain verbs in za- functioning as Ingressives or total Inchoatives (see 3.1.2 above). All 43 za-prefixed sound verbs for which the sense of speaking was attested are recorded in dictionaries and belong to the conservative database. In the least frequent cluster types (##6-8), CA was expressed only by za- verbs. The consistent use of za- with all sound verbs in the sense of speaking contrasts with the infrequent occurrence of verbs with the other prefixes.

Speech verbs in za- can be considered "atypical" Inceptives (Inchoatives or Ingressives) for the following reasons. Inceptives in za- are formed only from intransitive verbs (Isa Eenko 1960: 225-26; Avilova 1976: 278). Though some transitive verbs can also be found (cf. zanosit' cemodany vverx po lestnice 'start carrying the suitcases (upstairs)' (Braginsky 2008: 226)), such examples are rare. Speech verbs in za-, complemented by "quotation" objects, are consistently transitive. Such verbs are also a counterexample to the idea that their motivating bases are atelic (Avilova 1976 and Karunc 1987: 19) and that telic verbs are at variance with perfectivizing Inceptivity (Seljakin 1969: 27). However, complemented with quotation clauses, verbs with za- become telic, since such clauses set limits on the action of the verbs introducing them.

4.3.2. Verbs with vz-

Such verbs denote the onset of an action that is quick, sudden, and unexpected (Seljakin 1969: 22). In this study, five verbs of inanimate sounds (vzgremet', vozgremet, vzgroxotat, vzgudet', and vzzurcat') and six verbs of animate sounds (vzblejat', vzvorkovat', vzzuzzat', vzmycat', vzmjaukat', and vskudaxtat') were attested. Of these eleven verbs, eight are unconventional. Such verbs are stylistically marked, being "low colloquial" (prostorecnye) or "archaic."

It was noted that sound verbs with vz-, like all Inceptives, combine only with atelic stems (Karunc 1987: 19). However, complemented with "quotation" objects, verbs in vz-, like other Complex Act verbs, become bounded and telic because "quotation" objects indicate that the action occurs as a concrete utterance, which has definite boundaries coinciding with the beginning and end of the utterance (Nicman 1969: 50):

(27) "Naglaja loz'," --vzgudel p Prometej.

'"Deliberate lies," Prometheus hooted.' (V. Vlodislavov)

Therefore, for the reasons stated in 4.3.1, such verbs also behave as atypical CA verbs. …

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