‘Completive’ semantic component and a lexeme-based approach to actional classification in Russian

2019. №3, 7-44

Maksim L. Fedotov
Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia;
National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia; tequila.lime@gmail.com


The paper discusses two related aspectological topics. First section examines the ‘completive’ — i. e. ‘attainment of the internal limit’ — meaning (together with its counterpart ‘incompletive’, i. e. ‘non-attainment of the internal limit’). Its localization in the semantic structure of the utterance is determined: between aspect proper and actionality proper. Also, ‘completive’ can be included under the semantic scope of an iterative operator. It is argued that ‘completive’ is contained as a fixed component in the semantics of some Russian Imperfective verbs such as sgorat’ ‘burn (down)’ and pročityvat’ ‘read (through)’. Second section demonstrates practical possibility and the advantages of a single-verb approach to actional classification in Russian, an approach which is not based on the notion of aspectual pairs. Actional properties are ascribed separately to single Perfective and Imperfective verbs on the basis of uniform tests. The efficiency of the approach is demonstrated on a pilot sample of Perfective and Imperfective verbs.The full version of the appendix, containing the analysis of the whole test sample of 45 verbs, is available online at Zenodo repository: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1492889.

For citation:

Fedotov M. L. ‘Completive’ semantic component and a lexeme-based approach to actional
classification in Russian. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2019, 3: 7–44.


I am grateful to Viktor S. Xrakovskij for numerous valuable remarks and constructive criticism. I would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the participants of a discussion that occurred after my talk at the Institute for Linguistic Studies at 15 May 2018, and all who participated in my online surveys. It goes without saying that all potential shortcomings and mistakes remain mine.