Biaspectual Verbs in Slavic Languages and (specifically) in Russian

Vladimir Plungian (Moscow)

Biaspectual are (rare) Slavic verbs which do not distinguish morphologically perfective and imperfective forms. Each verbal form of a biaspectual verbs can be (in principle!) construed either as perfective or imperfective. However, context usually resolves this ambiguity, so biaspectuality can be considered an instance of grammatical homonymy. The traditional view is that biaspectual verbs constitute a very limited and fixed class of native verbs (plus some loan verbs, not well integrated in the native morphological system).

However, recent studies demonstrate that biaspectual verbs are (much?) more numerous than meets the eye and that the whole picture is by far more complicated, both synchronically and duachronically. As for Russian, biaspectual verbs still remain a relatively stable component of its morphological system. The talk will provide several interesting case studies.