Re; kirk-aspect vs kind of action
peter_kirk at sil.org
peter_kirk at sil.org
Fri Dec 17 17:14:11 EST 1999
Thank you for your helpful comments. I think your predictions are more
or less borne out from what I know of Russian - of course I don't know
how much you know, but then I realise the situation is similar to
Greek, and not so different from English. But there is this
significant difference, that in Russian almost all prefixes combine a
lexically conditioned (and so not fully predictable) type or direction
of action meaning with a predictable change from perfective to
imperfective, which is cancelled only by adding an imperfectivising
suffix. I still don't quite see how the whole thing can be layered and
broken up in a helpful way, but then I realise that I don't properly
understand the underlying theories in this field.
PS "Kirk" is my family name, I prefer to be known as "Peter", or
perhaps "Mr. Kirk". In the style guide of "The Times" of London, only
criminals and sportsmen are to be referred to by surnames without
titles. I don't fit into either of those categories. Perhaps scholars
and authors may also be referred to by surname (though never, I think,
to their face), as may schoolboys, but I'm not sure I fit here except
perhaps in the last category.
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re; kirk-aspect vs kind of action
Author: <ButhFam at compuserve.com> at Internet
Date: 17/12/1999 04:17
>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:
a. the prefixes will not be as precise as listed above for russian.
english, another good indoeuropean language, may serve as an example.
re- is commonly used to signal an 'additional, second action'. e.g. to
redo, rewrite, renew
but this kind of action is neither an aspect, nor a watertight lexical
on aspect: 'he rewrote', versus 'he was rewriting'
on lexical category, notice: reduce, report, return
(none of these currently means 'an additional, second time')
b. some of the words will be idiomatically restricted or more common in
one aspect or another.
c. many/most of the compound, semantically complex verbs will be
commonly and easily used in both perfective and imperfective aspects. (e.g.
'the liquid was pouring out', vs. 'the liquid poured out'.)
d. complications and fuzzy boundaries may result because the aspectual
collocations of predictions 'b' and 'c' will get written into the 'mental
lexicon', in the same way that transitivity and number of arguments with
propositions gets written into the 'mental lexicon' (e.g. english 'to
return something', 'to return'). [i use 'mental lexicon' to signal a
technical use of 'lexicon' within the theory of a structure of a language
and i am not referring to anything ever articulated, written down or
published. we don't even know how to best articulate this yet.]
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