On the Semantics of Russian Verbal Circumfixes

2023. № 4, 25-39

Oleg S. Volkov, Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Moscow), volkovolek@gmail.com


Russian verbal circumfixes have been a topic of interest among linguists for a while now, with different approaches taken to their analysis. While some researchers consider semantics of the circumfixes in conjunction with Aktionsart prefi xes, others debate whether circumfixes should be treated as a combination of a prefix and a suffix or as distinct single-piece derivations, thus questioning their status as derivations. These authors often do not dive deep into the semantics of the analyzed circumfixes, focusing more on the formal morphological issues.
In this paper, I propose a different perspective by examining the aspectual semantics of Russian verbal circumfixes in a typological context. Having analyzed the two-component structure of circumfixes, the article argues that circumfi xes convey semantics of getting into a certain state (distinct from the resulting state) as a consequence of the activity encoded by the verbal root. The properties of this particular state are determined by the prefixal part of the circumfix. The study focuses on three specific circumfi xes, namely do-...-sja, na-...-sja, and raz-...-sja, but the analysis also extends to other verbal circumfixes.
This paper contributes to our understanding of the grammatical semantics of Russian verbal circumfixes and their morphological status as a distinct construction. The findings shed light on the aspectual semantics and the role of prefixal parts in determining the meaning of Russian verbal circumfixes.

For citation:

Volkov O. S. On the Semantics of Russian Verbal Circumfixes. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2023. No. 4. Pp. 25–39. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170027460-5.