Prototype Theory and Hebrew Tense/Aspect
peter_kirk at sil.org
peter_kirk at sil.org
Thu Dec 16 20:48:44 EST 1999
Since the evidence from Russian which I promised to Dave off-list also
deals with this point, it is relevant to the wider discussion even if
not directly to Hebrew. So here goes with some Russian verbs...
brosit' (bros-) (perfective) throw
brosat' (bros-a-) (imperfective) be throwing
razbrosat' (raz-bros-a-) (perfective) scatter
razbrasyvat' (raz-bros-a-va-) (imperfective) be scattering
zabrosat' (za-bros-a-) (perfective) fill by throwing (etc)
zabrasyvat' (za-bros-a-va-) (imperfective) be filling by throwing
pobrosat' (po-bros-a-) (perfective) throw about
(The vowel changes from -bros- to -bras- and -a- to -y- in the last
case are quite regular, and probably -a- and -va- are allomorphs. The
same sequence can be demonstrated with several prefixes: raz- "in
different directions", vy- "out", za- "on to" or "to the top" etc.)
I took the above data from an earlier E-mail. This is typical of
Russian verb formation, though in many verbs the first stage, the
simple perfective, is not attested or is obsolescent, and a prefixed
form (most often with the prefix po-) is used with neutral meaning.
What we see here is a building process by adding bound morphemes from
a closed set to the verb stem. The following sequence is attested:
1. Perfective with neutral type of action;
2. Imperfective with neutral type of action;
3. Perfective with type or direction of action specified by a prefix;
4. Imperfective with type or direction of action specified by a prefix.
Certain prefixes (of the closed set of 22 or so which are used)
clearly correspond to recognised types of action, e.g. za- (also vz-
and sometimes raz-) means inceptive, u- means instantaneous or
semelfactive, po- means continuation for a limited duration
(perfective) or intermittent action (imperfective). Other prefixes
have different meanings e.g. directional; most have mulitple meanings.
For further details see T. Wade "A Comprehesive Russian Grammar",
Blackwells 1992, especially sections 238-254.
I challenge anyone to make a clear distinction here between syntax and
semantics or between aspect and type of action!
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Prototype Theory and Hebrew Tense/Aspect
Author: <ButhFam at compuserve.com> at Internet
Date: 16/12/1999 05:20
>I interpret buth's statement as saying that 'kind of action' is lexically
>bound to particular morphemes, but that aspect and tense are bound at
>levels to higher structures.
friberg is probably reading me correctly,
though for clarification
his "lexically bound to particular morphemes" should mean
that individual words have 'kind of action' as part of their own
inherent lexical meaning.
kind of action is not marked by a small set of syntactic morphemes.
on the other hand,
tense/aspect/mood are related to morphological categories
that apply to verbs in general.
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