Tut ‘right here’, zdes´ ‘here’, and sejčas ‘now’. On temporal meanings of spatial deictics

2014. № 1 (27), 9-41

Valentina Yu. Apresyan, Higher School of Economics


Though space-time metaphor is one of the universals of semantic typology and a source of regular prepositional and adverbial polysemy in many languages, this phenomenon is much rarer in deixis; thus, spatial deictics develop temporal meanings not as frequently. However, space-time metaphor in deixis is not as exotic as it might seem, as demonstrated by the Russian spatial proximity markers tut and zdes’ ‘here’, which develop temporal meanings — the meaning of consecutivity and the meaning of temporal proximity. Temporal meanings of these adverbs inherit some of the semantic peculiarities they display in their spatial meanings. Tut is strongly deictic in its spatial meaning and always points to the location of the speaker at the moment of speech, thus demon Тут, strating semantic syncretism of ‘space’ and ‘time’. Temporal meanings of tut preserve this syncretism. In the meaning of consecutivity tut points to two quickly following events that take place within one round of observation in one space and one short period of time. In its meaning of temporal proximity it acts as a marker of actuality, consisting of the following semantic elements: (a) a time period which includes the moment of speech, and such moments preceding and following it that are sufficiently close to the moment of speech to retain connection with it; (b) a physical or mental space that includes the speaker; (c) a situation in which the speaker is either a participant or an observer; (d) a resulting situation. Besides semantic peculiarities, tut has a special semigrammaticalized status (it is not a full-fledged adverb, but rather a semi-formed grammatical marker); communicative peculiarities (it cannot be part of rheme or contrastive theme); prosodic properties (it is a clitic). The adverb zdes’ has non-deictic usages in its spatial meaning, strong spatial semantics, and frequently has wide scope in the sentence, referring to the whole situation rather than to the predicate alone. As a consequence, it does not develop a full-fledged meaning of proximity to the moment of speech, and in its consecutive meaning introduces the notion of a background situation which serves as a backdrop for a certain event.