Aspect in Coordination: A Constructicon of Russian Verbal Coordinating Constructions

Principal investigator: Svetlana Sokolova

Project title: Aspect in Coordination: A Constructicon of Russian Verbal Coordinating Constructions

Summary of the project:

Descriptive grammars list various lexical “triggers” that indicate that only one aspect is available (e.g. uže triggers the perfective (PF), whereas vsegda – the imperfective (IPF)). Although lexical triggers predict aspect with fairly good reliability (96%), they appear in association with only 2% of verbs in corpus language samples (Reynolds 2016). Since additional factors are clearly needed, we investigate the relationship between aspect and sentence complexity (the number of verbs, subjects, and the presence or absence of coordinating conjunctions), hypothesizing that this contextual factor helps predict the choice of aspect. The hypothesis is tested through two quantitative studies of Russian past narrative sequences: a study with a small distance between the verbs, run on the disambiguated modern subcorpus of the Russian National Corpus, and a study of all past narrative sequences extracted from the Syntactic Corpus of Russian (SynTagRus), including sequences with a larger interval between verbs. We analyze what kind of aspectual patterns can be singled out in Russian past coordinating sentences and what kind of semantics is associated with each of the patterns. From a cognitive perspective, the two studies allow us to investigate which coordinating sequences represent independent constructions and how the distance between their elements (verbs and subjects) affects aspectual choice.

Project duration: 2016 – present

Key publications:

Sokolova, Svetlana; Berdicevskis, Aleksandrs (2019). Aspect in Coordination:
The basic aspectual patterns in Russian narrative sequences. Aspect in the Arctic, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, September 5-6, 2019.

Sokolova, Svetlana; Petrukhina, Elena; Egorov, Dmitry (2018). Aspect and the Past Tense: A Case Study of Russian Narrative Sequences. La relation temps/aspect: approaches typologique et contrastive. Proceedings of The Sixth Conference of the International Commission on Aspectology, Université de Lille III (UL3), Lille, France, April 10-12, 2018, pp. 323-327. ISBN 978-2-84467-145-5. Available here.

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