ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF CZECH VERBAL NOUN FORMS IN PERFECTIVE CONTEXTS
Background. Diametrically opposed views on the ability of Czech verbal nouns ending in -ní/-tí like rozlévání ‒ rozlití (spilling, spill) to convey the category of verbal aspect necessitate a revision of existing approaches and the development of a new methodological platform for research. Regularity of the formation from verbs, characteristic pair correlation (rozlévat ‒ rozlít), as well as the inheritance of action semantics do not proof the presence of the aspect in verbal nouns. The latter needs to be supported by research on how consistently the forms of the verbal noun used in real contexts express the perfective and imperfective aspect semantics. Moreover, from the circle of analyzed units should be eliminated those nominals ending in -ní/-tí, which are used as terms, deviate from the initial semantics of a procedural action or can not be transformed into structures with verbs within phrases. The means of diagnosis are contexts that are sensitive to aspect, which, actualizing the meaning of one of the aspects, allow the use of the appropriate aspect form of the verbal noun: neustálé zvyšování / *zvýšení (continuous increase).
The purpose of the article is to investigate the distribution of the aspect forms of nominals ending in -ní/-tí in perfective contexts (actualize the perfective aspect semantics) in line with the issue of the aspect correlation of the Czech verbal noun.
Methods. The method of distributional analysis is used as a basis, the logic of which is to establish the possibility of using aspectual forms of the verbal noun in diagnostic contexts that actualize the semantics of the perfective aspect. The selection of such contexts was realized using the methods of transformational and contextual analysis. The source of the actual material was the corpus SYN of the Czech language (4th version).
Results. Two diagnostic constructions 'Po + verbal noun' and 'Před + verbal noun' are chosen as diagnostic contexts. They denote actions preceding or occurring after the actions expressed within the sentence by the verb-predicate and can be transformed into subordinate clauses of time joined by the conjunctions Poté, co and Než. In the latter, the perfective verbs are mostly used. Analysis of SYN corpus data showed that in selected perfect contexts the distribution of aspect forms of the verbal noun is similar to the distribution of aspect forms of the verb: in 96% of occurrences verbal nouns are motivated by perfective verbs. The presence in these contexts of verbal nouns motivated by imperfective verbs, quite few and peripheral (4%), does not contradict the general trend.
Discussion. The similarity of the distribution of verb forms and nouns ending in -ní/-tí in perfect contexts suggests that the aspectual semantics is an integral part of the semantic structure of the verbal noun in modern Czech. Promising in line with the current problem is the study of "pseudo-action" variety of verbal noun forms ‒ units that are used as terms, deviate from the initial semantics of a procedural action or can not be transformed into structures with verbs within phrases. Such forms are attributed to the inability to express the verbal aspect, but due to the existing, not completely lost conceptual connection with the concept of action, they can be mistakenly considered for potential exponents of verbal aspect.
Keywords: verbal noun, category of aspect, hybrid parts of speech, syntactic transformation, aspectually significant context.
Copyright (c) 2021 Андрій Скоплєв
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