Ontological classification of verbs and the semantics of Russian conjunction poka ‘while’.

2015. №5, 7-25

Elena V. Paducheva
VINITI, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 125190, Russia;
Sholokhov Moscow State University for the Humanities, Moscow, 109240, Russia;


Russian conjunction рока ‘while’ imposes noil-trivial restrictions on ontological types of the conjoined clauses. In order to describe these restrictions we need to address the opposition of different types of states — such as perfective state, state of expectation of impending event (or state of non-occur-rence of event), state oriented towards its start or ending, etc. The conjunction рока creates a context for pleonastic (or. rather, idiomatic) negation with preferences of use changing throughout the recent history of language. Conjunction рока occupies a specific place in the class of temporal conjunctions, being a primary (i.e. rigid) egocentrical: its tense semantics appeals to the speaker and the moment of speech. For example, in sentence Рока Ivan neprishel, Masha prigotovit obed 'While Ivan hasn't yet come Masha will prepare the dinner (example from the paper by L. Iordanskaja and I. Mel’cuk) the state of non-occurrence of event described in the subordinate clause refers to the moment of speech, so that the future tense of the main clause is anchored on the moment of speech, which is characteristic of the future tense of the dialogical register of interpretation.