Imperfective future and the infinitive construction of the verb stat’ (‘become’) in modern Russian: competing markers

2019. № 1 (37), 58-82

NATALYA M. STOJNOVA, Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, (Russia, Moscow),


The paper deals with the competition of two future tense markers in Modern Russian: grammaticalized imperfective future tense form “byt’ ‘be’ + infinitive” and “undergrammaticalized” construction “stat’ ‘become’ + infinitive”. Basing on the data of the Russian National Corpus, two types of contexts are pointed out: those shared by these two constructions and those in which they are not interchangeable; for each type a semantic explanation is proposed. The data show that the stat’-construction, though acting in many instances as a full equivalent of the byt’-future, nevertheless consistently preserves semantic features of its non-future uses, namely, the inchoative and the contrastive semantics. The synonymy of the two constructions under consideration is supported by the fact that exactly the same semantic components, although to a lesser extent, are rele vant for the byt’-future.