On the semantics of Russian aspect in the context of discourse.

2017. №1, 7-23

Elena V. Paducheva
Federal Research Center Computer Science and Control of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119333, Russian Federation;
Moscow State University of Education, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation;


It is demonstrated in this paper that the discourse meaning of aspect is derived from its ordinary sentence meaning and depends on the moment of observation, which is either retrospective or synchronous. The research was based on the Russian National Corpus. Four morphosyntactic configurations with the conjunction i ‘and’ were studied. In the configuration “Pfv verb + conjunction i + Pfv verb”, the sequential relationship between the perfective and the imperfective situation prevails, but simultaneity very often arises as a consequence of the lexical and aspectual context. The configuration “Ipfv verb + conjunction i + Ipfv verb” yields simultaneity as the main relationship between the situations, but again aspectual and temporal semantics of the verbs may violate this relationship. In the scope of the morphosyntactic configuration “Pfv verb + conjunction i + Ipfv verb”, the sequential relationship remains the main one. It should be noted however that the Russian imperfective does not allow for ingressive interpretation: the moment of observation always falls within the intermediate phase of the imperfective situation. In the configuration “Ipfv verb + conjunction i + Pfv verb”, the temporal relationship between the situations is less clear.