The Scale Hypothesis and the Prefixes pere- and nedo-

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Abstract

This article proposes a semantic approach to Slavic verbal prefixes. A hypothesis is put forward according to which a verbal prefix imposes a relation between two degrees on a scale. One is a degree associated with the event denoted by the verbal predicate. The other one is the standard of comparison, contributed by a linguistic expression that appears in the sentence, or by the context. The scale to which the prefix applies is most typically contributed by the linguistic environment in which the prefix appears. The article demonstrates how the proposed analysis applies to two specific morphemes in Russian: the prefix nedo- and the prefix pere- under the interpretation of excess. It is demonstrated that these prefixes apply to a wide range of scales, including property and volume/extent scales, a time scale, as well as certain scales that do not affect the aspectual properties of the predicate but are lexicalized by the verbal stem. It is also argued that the two prefixes apply to the same type of standard of comparison, which has been shown in the literature to play a role in the adjectival domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-176
Number of pages17
JournalScando-Slavica
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Russian linguistics
  • degree semantics
  • scale structure
  • standard of comparison
  • verbal prefixation

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