A database of Russian verbal aspect


  • Maarten Janssen IULA, UPF
  • Olga Borik CLT, UAB




This paper describes a pilot project for a database of Russian verbal aspect. All prefixed verbs in the database are linked to their base form. Independently of this, all the verbs are classified as either perfective, imperfective or biaspectual, and the members of a perfective/imperfective opposition with the same derivational base are linked to each other. The linked members can further be classified into aspectual (perfective/imperfective) pairs. To keep the database as theory independent as possible, we establish the relation between the members of an aspectual pair for the largest part semi-automatically, on the basis of the information provided in their dictionary definitions. The databse is not meant as a model by itself, but it intended to provide empirical grounds for data generalizations which, in turn, can be used to support theoretical explanations. After the description of the database itself, we discuss a number of general claim about Russian aspect, and verify them against the database. Amongst other things, we show that not all prefixed verbs are perfective, and that there is no relation between the meaning of a prefixed за- verb and the presence or absence of a direct object.