The Prefix PO- and Aspect in Russian and Polish: A Cognitive Grammar Account
Christensen, Jason Heath
University of Kansas
Slavic Languages & Literatures
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This study examines the meanings of the prefix po- and verbal aspect in Russian and Polish in a Cognitive Grammar framework. The principles of Cognitive Grammar adopted in this study are based on Langacker (1991). This study follows Dickey's (2000) East-West division of aspect, within which the prototypical meanings of the Russian perfective and imperfective aspects are temporal definiteness and qualitative temporal indefiniteness, respectively, and the prototypical meanings of the Polish perfective and imperfective aspects are temporal definiteness/totality and quantitative temporal indefiniteness. According to Cognitive Grammar, the prototype is the most salient node in a network; this study is based around an analysis of the meaning and grammatical function of the Russian delimitative in po- and the Polish distributive in po- as prototypes in their respective semantic networks for po-. Regarding the methodological approach of this dissertation, in addition to relying on the views presented in the traditional literature, quantitative data is also presented, consisting of dictionary counts and hit counts and relative frequencies drawn from online corpora in support of the view that the delimitative is the prototype verb in po- in Russian and the distributive is the prototype verb in po- in Polish. The results of the corpus-based research show that the productivity and level of use are higher for the prototype Russian delimitative in po- relative to the Polish delimitative in po-and for the prototype Polish distributive in po- relative to the Russian distributive in po-. The main conclusion arrived upon in this study is that the meanings of the prototype verb in po- and the prototypical perfective meaning in each language overlap, which is manifested as the ability of the prototype verb in po- to function as a perfective partner in the grammar.
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