The use of genitive partitive with Russian po-verbs: corpus observations

2021. № 1 (41), 105-136

Oksana Iu. Chuikova
Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia
(St. Petersburg, Russia),


This paper analyses the use of the partitive genitive case and its distribution with respect
to the accusative and quantitative phrases dependent on Russian perfective verbs with the prefix
po-. Po-verbs are a numerous prefixal group comprising lexemes that vary in their aspectual
characteristics, which makes it interesting to examine whether they stand in accord with
the traditional viewpoint on the principles of the use of the partitive genitive. A list of verbs
with variable (accusative or genitive) government was compiled on the basis of the Shorter
Russian Academic Dictionary. Then, based on the Russian National Corpus, various means of
marking the direct object of these verbs were analysed. It is shown that that the use of the partitive
genitive and rival means of direct object marking is dependent on a set of aspectual and
semantic characteristics, such as Aktionsarten, incremental relation, etc., rather than grammatical
aspect. A number of verbal lexemes whose compatibility with the partitive genitive is
not registered in the Dictionary are included into the analysis, and the Russian-speaking segment
of the Internet is used as an additional source of data, which helps estimate the completeness
of the dictionary data on possible variation in the marking of the object of po-verbs.