Language Typology

Language Typology

Timur Maisak
Moscow State University
otipl@mail.ru

Multiple periphrastic perfectives: another case of "bounder perfectivization"

The paper deals with periphrastic forms expressing perfectivity, and in particular with cases when several periphrastic forms in a language express perfective meaning (sometimes having some additional semantic nuances as well). An overview of systems of perfectivizing auxiliaries (in Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Turkic, Daic languages; in Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.) is presented, and problems concerning the meaning and distribution of these periphrastic constructions are discussed. It is shown that both in meaning and in principles of distribution systems of auxiliary perfectivizers (called "multiple periphrastic perfectives") resemble organization of aspectual opposition in the so-called "Slavic-style" aspectual systems, where derivational means like prefixes and suffixes are used to form perfective verbs. In fact, multiple periphrastic perfectives may be regarded as another case of "bounder perfectivization": auxiliary verbs (usually verbs of motion or change of state) also have "the effect of making the process denoted by the verb 'bounded'" (Bybee & Dahl 1989), which is the effect typically associated with affixes or particles with locative meaning ('to', 'from', 'into', 'out of', 'up, 'down' , 'through', etc.). Like derivational perfectives, multiple periphrastic perfectives usually display low degree of grammaticalization: auxiliary verbs often retain much of their original lexical meaning, which is manifested in many co-occurrence restrictions and the presence of additional semantic nuances. At the same time, there also exist examples of gradual change of periphrastic perfectives leading to a (more and more) grammaticalized aspectual opposition.