Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany; firstname.lastname@example.org
This survey discusses two interconnected monographs written by Sergey G. Tatevosov. The first book — “Actionality in lexicon and grammar (Verb and event structure)” (2015) — supplies a systematic analysis of the share which different constituents of the finite clause have for the aspectual meaning of the latter. The analysis is based on the premises and tools of model-theoretic semantics and generative syntax.In particular, the author shows that even certain prefixes influence the aspectual meaning of the finite clause. He employs this fact to argue that morphemes can take part in syntactic derivation. On this basis, the second book — “Verbal classes and typology of actionality” (2016) — is devoted to the elaboration of a procedure that allows for aspectual verb classes to be established in languages of different types. Emphasis is laid on the “problem of indirect access”, i. e. the impossibility to determine sufficiently exactly in which way various components in the semantics of verbs (and their morphemes) and of clausal components influence the aspectual meaning of larger constituents. In order to avoid a vicious circle, the author proposes a procedure by which aspectual verb classes of language are established without recourse to knowledge of their aspect system. As concerns typological comparison, the author provides an analysis of aspectual verb classes in three unrelated languages. Special attention is paid to the comparability of aspectual verb classes in languages with inflectional aspect and languages with word-classifying (i. e. stem-derivational) aspect. Russian is a representative of the latter type. A big open question remains when it comes to doing justice to some peculiarities of word-classifying aspect systems, since the analysis has been mostly restricted to the finite clause. Moreover, the relationship between functions of aspect and of tense has entirely been based on premises of generative syntax, which has accounted only for systems with inflectional (including analytic) aspect.
Wiemer B. Typology of actionality: properties of the finite clause, verb classification, and a uniform approach to inflectional and derivational aspect. Voprosy Jazykoznaija. 2019. No. 1. Pp. 93–129. DOI: 10.31857/S0373658X0003595-3.