Slavic type of aspectuality and aspectual meaning of deverbal nouns in Russian

2015. № 1 (29), 9-27

Elena V. Paducheva, All-Russian Institute of Scientific and Technical Information, RAS


Slavic languages differ from such languages as, e. g., English or Italian, in that Slavic verb is always aspectually marked — it is either perfective or imperfective. Suggestions have been made (in the framework of generative grammar) that this traditional point of view should be abandoned. The main argument is based upon deverbal nouns with the perfective stem that exhibit imperfective behavior, such as napisanije, podpisanije. However, it is established that though in principle verbal stems of both aspects can motivate deverbal nouns, in the majority of cases two verbs constituting an aspectual pair give rise to a single deverbal noun, and the choice of the stem is determined by certain rules concerning morphological form, not semantics. This noun usually has both the meaning of event (perfective, so to speak) and the meaning of process or state (imperfective, so to speak): it can be used both in perfective and imperfective contexts. Cf. obuchenije, derived from the perfective stem, and prizhiganije, derived from the imperfective stem. On the other hand, nouns derived from different aspectual stems, such as sozhzhenije and szhiganije, come closer to one another semantically. Neither the first nor the second tendency provides grounds for refusal of application of the notion ‘Slavic type of aspect’ to verbs.