Russian aspect in finite and non-finite modes: from syntax to information structure

Abstract : The present chapter has two goals: 1) it assesses the validity of the Situation Aspect-Viewpoint Aspect (Smith 1991) distinction for the aspectual PF/IMP opposition in Russian, in finite modes; 2) after having presented the thesis that only SA is grammaticized in Russian through the presence of a syntactic Telic functional head (Borer 2005), it seeks to explain how this constraint extends to aspectual opposition in the infinitive mode. The concept of telicity defended here is akin to Paducheva & Pentus’ (2008) terminativity: the function of the preverb is to seal off the event. Following Borer (2005) & Lakorczyk (2010), the paper claims that it suffices for an event to be either non divisive or non homogeneous to be telic. Then, a corpus study shows that aspectual opposition in the infinitive modes obeys the same contraints: IMP verbs display a strong tendency to occur in non-telic environments (generalizing, durative, contexts), whereas PF verbs are happy with telic/terminative contexts (single events, and so-called vivid-illustrative contexts). There remain a small proportion of cases in which aspectual opposition in the infinitive is regulated by discourse-interactional parameters: the PF verb behaves like a Focus, and the IMP like a topic in the sense of Rizzi and Lambrecht, thereby providing a link between syntax and discourse, the Telic P being then raised to CP.
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Eric Corre. Russian aspect in finite and non-finite modes: from syntax to information structure. Sentence and Discourse, J. Guéron (ed.)., Oxford University Press, 2015. ⟨halshs-01474680⟩

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