Aspect and Aktionsart in Slavic and Indo-Aryan: A Semantic Approach

Chatterjee, Ranjit

     This study focuses "on the question of the meaning of forms that express aspect. . . . I mean, firstly, to give precedence to questions of meaning over questions of morphological form. . . . Secondly, it will be attempted as far as possible to show meaning within sentential context, although at the same time inherent meaning will be given more attention than is usual in studies of aspect." The study begins with an "overview of previous work concerned with verbal aspect and Aktionsart." It then looks at "aspect and aktionsart in Slavic," utilizing a semantic approach. "I then propose a general working definition of aspect, and a particular one . . . . Other topics treated are: aspect in relation to form, meaning, logic and style; aspect and Aktionsart; terminology and definitions' aspect and 'real' time; the functional reciprocity of aspect and Aktionsart; a critique of binary theory in Slavic aspect and the problem of mono- and bi-aspectuality; the question of a subjective vs. objective division running through aspect and Aktionsart; tracing the Slavic aspect Gestalt; 'language games' and aspect; 'rules' and rule-breaking; sample sentences showing deviance from preconceptions of Slavic aspect; alternatives in accounting for these; a feature matrix solution common to both pfs. and ipfs., and its advantages."
     The study next addresses the issue of "aspect and aktionsart in Indo-Aryan," again utilizing a semantic approach; "Bengali . . . [is] the main source of data, supplemented by Hindi. . . . I . . . outline the overall verbal systems of the two languages, and then concentrate on the expression of aspect and Aktionsart, particularly by vectors." Other topics considered here include "aspect of the vectorless tense forms"; "analytic verbal forms"; "pure verbal compounds"; "compatibility of vectors in linear time frame"; "realized aspect"; "gradation and overlap of categories"; "strength of nuance and linear forms"; "overlap of punctual subcategories"; and "vectors and linearity."
     Having considered Slavic and Indo-Aryan separately, the study then provides a "comparison and contrast analysis." "I . . . first present some general common features of Slavic and Indo-Aryan aspect, illustrate and discuss aspectual form and process in each language group, compare and contrast this, then do the same at the categorical and subcategorical levels, and finally show five more or less complete parallels in Indo-Aryan to Slavic aspectuality, i.e., similar responses in Indo-Aryan to the Slavic 'sub-clause co-occurrence' and 'phasality' constraints, the 'conation vs. completion' contrast, and the 'how long?' and 'what are you doing now?' constraints." The study concludes by considering "broader questions about aspect.