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Biaspektuell, monoaspektuell, Aspektpaar?

Zur aspektuellen Integration von Lehnverben in der obersorbischen Standardsprache vor dem Hintergrund des Polnischen, Tschechischen und Russischen

Tanja Anstatt, Lenka Scholze

Pages 131 - 173

Biaspectual, Monoaspectual, Aspectual Pair? Aspectual Integration of Loan verbs in Standard Upper Sorbian against the Background of Czech, Polish, and Russian

Loan verbs form a considerable part of the verbal inventories of Slavic languages and provide interesting insights into their aspectual systems. The aim of our study was to analyze 50 loan verbs such as ‘korigować’ ‘to correct’ for their aspectual behavior in Standard Upper Sorbian, based on evidence from ‘hotko’, a corpus of written Upper Sorbian. To obtain a comparison, we used 10 loan translations of verbs (‘calques’), e. g., ‘wotrumować’ ‘to clear up’ (lit. ‘up-room + verbal suffix’ based on German ‘aufräumen’ ).
In Czech, Polish, and Russian, loan verbs of the former type (e. g., Cz. ‘formulovat’ ‘to formulate’, Po. ‘analizować’ ‘to analyze’, and Ru. ‘informirovat’’ ‘to inform’ ) are consistently classified as biaspectual (if semantically appropriate, and at least during the initial period after the borrowing). In the grammaticographic and lexicographic tradition of Upper Sorbian, however, these verbs are classified as imperfective only, which is strangely at odds with the situation in the aforementioned languages. As a first step, we analyzed the 60 Upper Sorbian verbs, i. e., 50 loan verbs and 10 loan translations, for diagnostic contexts of the perfective aspect. We found that the loan verbs of the ‘korigować’ type occur far more frequently in grammatical forms reserved for imperfect verbs (imperfect tense and gerunds of simultaneity), which was in accordance with the predictions of standard grammars. On the other hand, we also found some tokens, albeit not many, in forms that are typical of perfective verbs (aorist tense and gerunds of anteriority). The opposite was the case with respect to the 10 loan translations. More revealing, however, was the analysis of the aspectual functions of the verbs. In a separate study (Anstatt, Scholze 2021), referred to in this paper, we carried out a semantic analysis for a subcorpus of ten Upper Sorbian loan verbs of the ‘korigować’ type and found that, in ‘hotko’, each of them occurred at least several times with the concrete-factual function which is typical for the perfective aspect. This function may occur even with forms typical of the imperfective aspect, e. g., the imperfect tense. Thus, there is clear evidence for classifying loan verbs such as ‘korigować’ as biaspectual in Upper Sorbian on a functional basis. Their persistent classification as imperfective can be attributed to an orientation towards formal criteria and the lack of explicit diagnostic contexts for the perfective aspect.
Our second analysis concerned the derivation of aspectual partners from loan verbs. In Czech, Polish, and Russian loan verbs like Cz. ‘formulovat’ ‘to formulate’, Po. ‘analizować’ ‘to analyze’, and Ru. ‘informirovat’’ ‘to inform’ tend to form aspectual pairs rather quickly, usually by prefixation, rarely by suffixation. In our study on Upper Sorbian, we only looked at prefixation for the derivation of aspectual partners, as suffixation from verbs with -owa- is not possible for formal reasons. Corpus queries for prefixed derivations of the 60 verbs resulted in a large number of tokens for the loan verbs and very few cases for the loan translations. Over 80 % had the prefix s-/z-, followed by za- with 4 % of all tokens. Both prefixations can safely be considered as aspectual partners. In this respect Upper Sorbian behaves similarly to Czech and Polish, integrating loan verbs into its aspectual system and formally following a typical West Slavic pattern. Whether this is due to internal language development or to conscious language planning by the authors or editors of written texts must be left open for further studies.


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