Once more on the imperfect of perfective verbs in Old Russian texts

2018. № 1 (35), 183-206

Maria N. Sheveleva, Lomonosov Moscow State University; Moscow, Russia


The paper examines the use of the perfective imperfect in Old Russian texts of southern vs. Novgorodian dialect areas against the background of Old Church Slavonic; questions of its currency and semantics are discussed. The hypothesis is suggested that in the 11th — 12th centuries distinctions among different dialects and text traditions included the extent of frequency of the perfective imperfect, inasmuch as it was a semantically marked and largely optional form. Within the East Slavic dialect area distinction between the southern Old Russian twelfth-century texts, where the perfective imperfect was common, and the Novgorodian chronicles, where it was not in use, may be conditioned by an earlier process of general transformation of the Past Tense system and the loss of the perfective imperfect even from the domain of passive knowledge.