Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian: Conceptual structure versus syntax

Inna Tolskaya University of Tromsø/CASTL

Abstract At first glance, the variety of possible denotations of a given prefix might appear a chaotic set of idiomatic meanings, e.g. the prefix zamay refer to the beginning of an action, movement to a position behind an object, a brief deviation from a path, or completion of an action. I propose a unified analysis of prefixes, where the differences in meaning are claimed to arise from different syntactic positions, while the lexical entry of a prefix remains the same. The main focus is on the verbs of motion due to the consistent duality displayed by the prefix meanings when added to directional and non-directional motion verbs. It turns out that prefixes modify path when added onto a directional motion verb and refer to movement in time with non-directional motion verbs. This semantic distinction corresponds to distinct sets of syntactic properties, characteristic of the lexical and superlexical prefixes. Furthermore, a tripartite division emerges in each set of prefixes, corresponding to source, path, and goal of motion (FROM, VIA and TO) for lexical prefixes and to beginning, duration and completion for superlexical prefixes. This leads to the suggestion that the same prefix with a consistent conceptual meaning, shared with the corresponding preposition, receives part of its denotation from its position in the syntactic representation. The separation of conceptual meaning from the structural meaning allows the polysemy to arise from position, rather than from arbitrary homophony. Thus, conceptual structure is unified with syntax.

1. Introduction The assumption in this paper is that Russian verbal prefixes fall into two classes, which correspond to the lexical vs. superlexical distinction (Isaˇ cenko (1960), Romanova (2004), Svenonius (2004a)). According to Romanova (2004), the lexical prefixes attach mostly to perfective or telic stems (if the verb is supplied with both), allow the verb to form secondary imperfectives, cannot stack, do not measure over objects, and can change the

I am grateful to my supervisor Peter Svenonius for his advice and suggestions throughout the work, to Marina Pantcheva for comments on the previous versions, and to the participants in the Spring Seminar on Cross-categorial Scales and Paths.

Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian argument structure of the verb. This behavior corresponds to a low prefix position inside VP (pere- in (1a), vy- in (1b), nad- in (1c)). Superlexical prefixes attach to imperfective or atelic stems, do not allow the verb to form secondary imperfectives, can stack, can measure over events or objects, do not change the argument structure of the verb. The examples below illustrate the superlexical prefixes (ot-, pro-, po-) stacking over the lexical prefixes:1 (1) a. Ot-pere-biral ty bumagi. ...Uvoljnjajut tebja. ot-pere-takeI you papers-acc. ...Fire-3 pl you-acc ‘You are done with sorting papers. They are firing you’2 Pro-vy-dergival morkovk-u poldnja. pro-vy-pullI carrot-acc half.day ‘He spent half a day pulling out carrots’ ((1a,b) are adopted from Beliakov (1997)) A ˇ cto ne sjem, to po-nad-kuˇ su! and what not eat that po-nad-bite ‘And whatever I cannot eat, I will bite slightly one by one’



In (1a) and (1b) the first, superlexical prefix, attached to the prefixed imperfective stem, refers to time of the event, without affecting the meaning of the main verb. Ot- in (1a) refers to the permanent completion of the event, while pro- in (1b) refers to duration. Po- in (1c) is an example of the distributive reading. The lexical prefixes are closer to the root and change the lexical meaning of the verbal stem, rather than barely modifying the time. Crucially, the same prefix may act both as lexical and superlexical, with interpretations different enough to provoke a suspicion of homophony. E.g. the superlexical prefixes in (1) (ot-, pro-) may act as lexical prefixes with the same verbs, when adjacent to the root: (2) a. ot-bira-tj bumagi ot-take-inf papers-acc ‘to take away (from smb., by force) / to select the papers’ pro-dergiva-tj nitku v igolku pro-pull-inf thread-acc in needle-acc ‘to pull the thread through the needle’


Not only can a prefix have two meanings depending on whether it is used as a lexical or superlexical prefix, but most of them also coincide to prepositions. The table below lists some of the uses of prepositions, and lexical and superlexical prefixes with motion verbs.
1 Romanova (2004) defines two more classes of superlexical prefixes: cumulative na-, which measures over objects, and prefixes like pri- and pod-, which measure over events, describing degree of intensity of the action. I assume that these prefixes (na-, pod-, pri-) occupy a higher syntactic position, which will remain outside of the scope of this paper. 2 ‘I’ stands for imperfective, see appendix for the full list of abbreviations


Inna Tolskaya (3) Lexical and Superlexical Prefixes with Corresponding Prepositions. Prefix Meaning of Lexical Prefix adlative occlusive ablative superelative perdurative inceptive translative Meaning of Superlexical Prefix completive inceptive completive ‘there and back’ duration limited duration excessive duration Meaning of Corresponding Preposition up.to behind from.near from.on about along, according to preposition pere does not exist (corresponds to ˇ cerez ‘across’)


This list is limited to the uses of prefixes and prepositions compatible with motion verbs. The motion verbs display a directional vs nondirectional distinction, where the directional verbs combine with lexical prefixes and the non-directional ones combine with the superlexical prefixes. As I will show, the homophony is far from sporadic. The lexical prefixes, cooccurring with directional verbs, and the superlexical prefixes, cooccurring with non-directional verbs, are in complementary distribution. Besides, the motion verbs are compatible with the spatial prepositions which coincide with the prefixes. The fact that all the three groups in question (prepositions, lexical and superlexical prefixes) are compatible with the motion verbs, and the clear cut complementary distribution of prefixes depending on the directionality of the verb, makes the class of motion verbs a perfect candidate for exploring the semantics of the prefixes. In the table below there is the nearly exhaustive list (adopted from Janda (2006)) of the motion verbs characterized by the presence of both directional and non-directional forms. The directional verbs involve a path and a goal, e.g. beˇ zatj means ‘to run in a certain direction’. The nondirectional verbs describe sporadic or repetitive movement, e.g. b´ egatj means ‘to run around, or to run back and forth, or to run regularly’.


so the prefix refers to time. They allow secondary imperfectivization (5). (6) a. through-rundir. pro-. ‘to run five kilometers every morning’ b. refers to the time duration when it is superlexical. P five kilometers. sail crawl drag The prefixes with the directional verbs are lexical. SI five kilometers every morning. *pro-xaˇ zivatj pjatj ˇ casov kaˇ zdoe utro pro-walknon-dir. which refers to the length of path when lexical. pro-beˇ zatj pjatj kilometrov. through-rundir. The examples. pro-b´ egatj pjatj ˇ casov pro-runnon-dir. ‘to run five kilometers’ pro-beg´ atj pjatj kilometrov kaˇ zdoe utro. With non-directional verbs.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian (4) Motion Verbs: Directional and Non-directional Directional beˇ zatj bresti vezti vesti gnatj exatj idti katitj leztj letetj nesti plytj polzti taschitj Non-directional begatj broditj vozitj voditj gonjatj ezditj xoditj katatj lazitj/lazatj letatj nositj plavatj polzatj taskatj Meaning run walk with difficulty carry (by vehicle) lead drive. The non-directional verbs do not involve a path to be modified. arguing for a single meaning of each. Many examples were also obtained by searching through the National Corpus of 3 xaˇ zivatj is the irregular secondary imperfective of the verb xoditj ‘to walk’ 4 . e. come from my native speaker intuition.g. SI five hours every morning (‘to walk for five hours every morning’)3 The following section gives examples of lexical and superlexical usage of each of the prefixes. the prefixes are superlexical and are not susceptible to secondary imperfectivization (6b). unless otherwise stated. chase ride walk roll climb fly carry (on foot) swim. imp five hours ‘to walk for five hours’ b. and modify path. (5) a.

after which swimming is too tiring in (7b)) for non-directional verbs. Perdurative pro. pere-xitritj ‘outwit’.g. The prefix pro. The corresponding preposition. which may be a boundary in space for directional verbs. For a discussion of these prefixes see Romanova (2007) and Souˇ ckov´ a (2004a) 4 There 5 . (7) a. A central meaning for each lexeme emerges. where the crossing of the boundary refers to quality. pere-streljatj ‘to shoot all one by one’. pro-jti pjatj kilometrov pro-walkdir five km ‘to walk for five kilometers’ pro-xoditj vesj denj pro-walknon-dir all day ‘to walk (around) all day’ b. 2.g. Lexical and superlexical prefixes and their interpretation This section describes the identical lexical and superlexical prefixes as manifestations of a single lexeme. occupying a node above space and time.1. These are measure and distributive domains. comparing the meaning to the coinciding prepositions. e. in Russian there are two prepositions with a rather close meaning to ‘about’.4 This usage is similar to the English preposition ‘over’.g.ru). pere-plytj rek-u pere-swimdir river-acc ‘to swim across a river’ pere-plavatj v bassejne pere-swimnon-dir in swimming pool ‘to swim too much in the swimming pool’ b. e.‘about. of course. or a temporal boundary (e. which I am not including in the present discussion. and it turns out that lexical usage corresponds to path modification. 2. though the parallel can be drawn for most prefixes. and the comparison between them might shed light on the similarity of the preposition pro.ruscorpora.and pereThe prefix pere. more uses with verbs other than verbs of motion.Inna Tolskaya Russian language (www. with the meaning ‘to outdo someone’. Another use is distributive over objects. which may also be used to refer to crossing a boundary both in space (‘the bridge over the river’) and in time (‘to spend over an hour’). has a very different meaning: ‘about’. through’ is a measure of distance with directional verbs. and a measure of time with non-directional verbs: (8) a. while the superlexical usage belongs to the time domain. are.to the corresponding prefix.refers to crossing a boundary. however. Yet.

the talkers’ own love or life.e. govoritj talk govoritj talk pro about o about lingvistik-u linguistics-acc lingvistik-e linguistics-loc The usage of the preposition pro.‘up to’ refers to movement or persistence of activity up to a certain point (usually the goal. There is also a third.‘behind’.implies a deeper discussion of the topic from inside. time. b. govoritj o ˇ zizni could refer to a philosophic discussion about the meaning of life. So. so the uniting schema would be piercing of space. 6 . and inception when used as a superlexical prefix: (10) govoritj za ˇ ziznj talk about life. The point reached can be a point in space for directional verbs (the shore in (11a)).in (9b) implies a conversation about linguistics as a science (possibly. or difficulty is involved. Completive ot. Thus. while the preposition o. and entering an activity in the inceptive superlexical meaning. such as love and life). time. similar to entering a certain space in the lexical meaning. or a point in time for nondirectional verbs (the end of the trip in (11b)). so the preposition za refers to entering a large topic.and doDo. compared to o-. Thus. the preposition za in the meaning ‘about’ implies neither thorough penetration into the topic like pro (and is mostly used with things hardly susceptible to an exhaustive discussion. or a topic from beginning to end. while govoritj za ˇ ziznj would be used of a long pointless discussion of life’s strangeness and complication. English ‘a talk on linguistics’ and ‘a talk about linguistics’. time. as in (11a). low colloquial and usually ironic translation of ‘talking about something’ with the preposition za. with za such topics as love and life are usually discussed from the inside. which refers to movement behind a ground when used as a lexical prefix. As opposed to the previous prepositions o and pro.implies a more thorough penetration. the preposition pro. Cf. In both cases overcoming of some considerable distance. nor does it imply a conversation from outside about a topic as a whole like o does. space and conversation topics are united. by non-linguists). (11b). i. 2.acc ‘to talk about life’. often accompanied by large amounts of alcohol. or unpleasant consequences with reflexive verbs as in (11c) and (11d)). Thus.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian (9) a. govoritj pro ˇ ziznj would be more appropriate of a conversation about the events of a particular piece of one’s life.2.

refers to reaching the completion. ‘do-umyval-sja’ . 5 Note the reflexive suffix -sja in (11c) and (11d). Esenin) b. ot-talked grove golden.’ (A.Inna Tolskaya (11) a. Milne ‘Winniethe-Pooh’.refers to reaching a certain point. the lexical usage of these two prefixes is rather different: do.skazal Ia-ia. and the end of the event corresponds to the goal in space: thus. while ot.refers to moving away from it. Both prefixes refer to completing event. For directional verbs. the meaning of ‘reaching unpleasant consequences for oneself’ comes from the combination of the prefix do. translation by B. do-play-ref till that that him kicked.stresses its permanent irreversible completeness. ‘The golden grove finished talking’.‘from near’ refers to movement away from a point. the domain is time. ˇ cto ego vygnali iz domu. talking in (12c)) is increasing.to shore-gen ‘to swim up to the shore’ do-plavatj rejs do-swimnon-dir trip-acc ‘to sail up till the end of the trip (and then quit)’. do-washed-ref . separating the figure from the past event (flying in (12b). where the distance separating the figure (the boy in (12a)) from the ground (the fire in (12a)) is increasing. while otrefers to moving (in time) away from the achieved goal. A.said Eeyore ‘So much for washing’.out from house.and the suffix -sja 7 .. Thus. while ot. do-plytj do bereg-a do-swimdir up. ot. (i. do. c. while for non-directional and nonmotion verbs the time. d. IL-76 its ot-flynon-dir ‘(The plane) IL-76 has done its flying (and will never fly again)’ Ot-govorila roscha zolotaja. boy ot-jumpdir from fire ‘The boy jumped away from the fire’ IL-76 svoe ot-letal. Maljˇ cik ot-skoˇ cil ot kostra. In the superlexical usage. ‘He played around to the point that they kicked him out of the house’. (12) a. winter came) (S. Zakhoder ) Do-igral-sja do togo.e. though from opposite angles: do.stresses the effort in reaching the end.said Eeyore..5 b. c.

or the uncle enters a jumping state in (13c). clock za-walkednon-dir ‘The clock started to work’ Djadja za-prygal ot radosti. Petja za-worked intended: ‘Petja began working‘ (but grammatical under idiomatic reading: ‘Petya earned some money’. the inceptive meaning is only possible with inanimate subjects:6 (14) a. (13) a.displays an interesting contrast. za-prygatj ‘to start jumping’. while as a superlexical prefix it gives rise to an inceptive meaning. (13a).is notoriously versatile. cover ‘to pop by the store.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian 2. e. The prefix za. c. *Petja za-rabotal. e. so that the figure enters an occluded area. pointed out in Dobrushina (2001): with verbs like ‘work’. guests one behind other left ‘The guests left one by one’. za-jti za magazin / pod / under za-walkdir in store za-walkdir behind store naves. The inceptive use of the prefix za. e. and the whole diversity of its meaning may hardly be discussed in the limited space here. that the animate subjects are possible with verbs of motion and sound. d. Perhaps the reason for the contrast is that the motor usually makes a lot of noise while working.g. zameans occlusion. With directional verbs the prefix modifies path. in addition to other meanings ‘for’ and ‘after’.g. motor za-rabotal. yet there is the path-time parallel present as well. b. in which the 6 Note. za-petj ‘to start singing’. uncle za-jumped from joy ‘The uncle started jumping from joy’ za dom-om za house-ins ‘behind the house’ Gosti odin za drugim razoˇ slisj. za-: occlusive and inceptive The preposition za means ‘behind’. while the person does not stereotypically. referring both to occlusion (13d) and sequences (13e). to walk to behind the store/ under the cover’ ˇ Casy za-xodili. Za-jti v magazin. the clock enters the working state in (13b). 8 . As a lexical prefix.g. With non-directional verbs the subject enters a new state. motor za-worked ‘The motor started to work’ b.3. e. however.

*za-krasitj zabor.on’) involves a slight deviation from the normal path (16c) or location (16a) and (16b) in case of directional verbs (cf. ‘off’). while such a simple opposition is not salient for human subjects.) b. 9 . Yet. ok under the reading in (b). where the change of the agent is not as radical as the change inflicted upon the patient. in case of non-directional verbs (16d). Predictably. the idea that the change of state inflicted upon the subject is decisive for grammaticality may help to understand this contrast. visible sporadic movement or smell) as opposed to inflicting changes upon the patient. This contrast provides support to the view of inception as a figure entering a new state. a motor or a clock has two states: either working or not. the inceptive prefix is incompatible with transitive verbs such as krasitj ‘to paint’. characterized by noise. za-krasitj nadpisj na zabore. 2. and a brief deviation from one’s regular and expected location. zabegatj ‘start running around’.as a deviation from a previous state.(with the corresponding preposition ‘from. za-paint fence (‘*To begin painting the fence’) (ungrammatical with superlexical meaning.4. (15) a. where the prefix is lexical. with subsequent return. Superelative sThe prefix s. Thus. The verbs possible with human agents are intransitive.Inna Tolskaya prefix is lexical) Dobrushina (2001) explains this contrast as arising from the interpretation of za. za-paint inscription on fence ‘To cover with paint the graffiti on the fence’ Dobrushina does not explain how human subjects are possible with such verbs as zapetj ‘start singing’. thus the agent enters a perceptibly new state (e.g. zagovoritj ‘start talking’.

5.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian (16) a. insane s-randir from hospital ‘The insane man ran off from the hospital’ poezd so-shel s reljs.produces an inceptive reading with directional verbs. (17) a. shawl s-crawleddir from. and delimitative reading with non-directional verbs. 2. and in the second case the degree of intensity is limited. and then return)’ b. The prefix po. with a meaning different from superlexical use. po-beˇ zatj po-rundir ‘to start running’ 10 . and the other one scopes over the degree of intensity of the event (17g) (preceding the lexical prefix ob-). Limitative poThe preposition po means ‘along’ (17c). With non-directional motion verbs.would be used if a longer distance was involved. and the figure returns to the starting point. There are also ‘super-superlexical’ prefixes. specialization. the distance does not matter in escaping as long as one manages to get out.e. as in the first case the event is limited by the number of participants. These fall with the interpretation of po. which coincides with the rails. what is relevant is that the trip does not take a long time. parallel to short path with directional verbs. Platok s-polz s ee golovy.as limitative. domain and distribution. the train did not go very far without the rails. i. the insane man is supposed to be in the hospital. ‘according to’ (17d). Two components are common for s. c. ‘after’ (17e) and can also denote reason. the normal location. One of them scopes over plural undergoers (17f) (preceding the lexical prefix ‘vy-).with directional verbs of motion: • There is a sense in which the figure is expected to stay at the origin (the shawl is supposed to stay on a head. the train has an expected path.on her head ‘The shawl displaced from her head’ Sumasˇ sedˇ sij s-beˇ zal iz leˇ cebnicy. d.) • Short distance: the shawl did not even fall to the ground. train s-walked from rails ‘The train derailed’ S-begaj za pivom! s-runnon-dir for beer ‘Run get some beer (quickly. The prefix u.

shift the central prefix meaning into the time domain.women in village po-vy-die ‘All the old women in the village have died out one by one’ Sapoˇ zki za zimu po-ob-nosilisj. boots in winter po-ob-wear ‘The boots became a little worn out over the winter. occurring with non-directional motion verbs. modifying the movement of figure in space with respect to a certain ground. and can stack . g. published heirs ‘The heirs published notes which remained after the death of the princess’ Vse starushki v derevne po-vy-merli.Inna Tolskaya b. occurring with directional motion verbs. a clear distribution emerges of lexical and superlexical prefixes. which scopes over the plural undergoers (17f). thus breaking away from the general pattern where the lexical prefix appears with the directional motion verbs and the super-lexical prefix appears with nondirectional verb. belong to the spatial domain.6. notes. The superlexical prefixes. Summary Thus. (Majakovsky) Zapiski.attaches to the atelic stem. 2. does not allow secondary imperfectives. all old. Importantly. e. ostavˇ siesja po smert-i knjagin-i. There is also a super-superlexical po-. but like a superlexical prefix does not allow secondary imperfectives.to Hegel-dat ‘We learned dialectics not according to Hegel’. the inceptive po. The delimitative po.attaches to the telic stem and cannot stack.’ c. or over the degree of an achievement (17g). where the lexical prefixes. po-b´ egatj po-runnon-dir ‘to run for a little bit’ beˇ zatj po dorog-e run along path-dat ‘to run along the path’ My dialektiku uˇ cili ne po Gegelj-u we dialectics learned not according. describing the movement of figure in time with respect to the event. both po-s pattern more with superlexical prefixes. Like a lexical prefix. The prefix meanings discussed are summarized in the table below: 11 . d. remaining after death-dat princess-gen opublikovali nasledniki. f.like a typical superlexical prefix.

the last three prefixes s-. on the other hand. and the fact that they sound the same is historically grounded. za. Treating the polysemy as homophony does not allow one to capture any generalizations about these relations. and the relations between them are predictable.to’ ot‘away from’ szapo- N/A ‘about’ ‘up to’ ‘away from’ ‘off’ ‘behind’ ‘along’ It becomes apparent from table (18) that while for most prefixes. one would be free to hypothesize the existence of a homophone with a close meaning but slightly different properties for every word. which have some overlap in meaning. An ideal solution.and podemand additional explanation. An analysis attributing polysemy to homophony has no predictive value. Yet. as well as in Shvedova (1980) grammar. where there are several idiomatic meanings per prefix. these meanings are interrelated. Homophony would also present a problem for language acquisition: if a child. but synchronically irrelevant. would unite prepo- 12 . structural content There are several logically possible directions of analysis. Conceptual vs. 3.1. However. encountered with two identical morphemes. Analysis 3. in the classic Oˇ zegov (2001) dictionary. all the prefixes and prepositions are listed with at least two meanings. leading to completely unacquirable chaos. it seems that these generalizations are too omnipresent to be attributed to mere coincidence. e. is free to assume homophony.g. The least desirable alternative is homophony. so any meaning of a prefix would be equally expected while their use is not arbitrary. An exhaustive list of all the uses is descriptively adequate.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian (18) Prefix Meanings Preposition Prefix with directional verbs (SPACE) crossing a boundary distance reaching a location movement away from a point slight deviation/displacement behind inceptive Prefix with non-directional verbs (TIME) exceeding duration reaching a state state after an end state movement away in time leave and come back inceptive delimitation pere‘over’ pro‘through’ do‘up. the common meaning is straightforward.

together with the structural properties of functional vocabulary and syntactic structure’ (Borer 2005: 11). ‘to look intensely’). according to Borer. This is too little carpet for the money. There are three wines in the cellar. where the meaning of the entire sentence emerges. or proper vs. Ramchand (2008)). as evidenced by functional words. E. common names (19e). computational principles of interpretation assignment.. (19f). are compared in a cognitive place which is neither the grammar nor the conceptual system. the transitive syntactic structure in (19b) adds the causative meaning.Inna Tolskaya sitions and prefixes. Borer (2005). f. which significantly is also compatible with nominal syntactic structure. siren is a verb not because it is thus listed. The alien stared Kim out of the room. ‘A grammatical structure will return an interpretation as well.g. (19b) or the distinction between mass and count nouns (19c). so that each prefix would have one meaning. not present in its substantive listeme. morphology and word order. b. Borer (2005) argues that the structural position is the source of syntactic and argument structure information such as transitivity in (19a). stare ) will return a meaning based fundamentally on its conceptual value (e.. (proper name interpretation) The three Kims I met yesterday were all tall. due to the fact that it is used as a transitive verb. (19) a. I assume that one part of the meaning comes from the lexicon and another part of the meaning comes from the syntactic structure (cf. contributes meaning. The ‘generative-constructivist’ view taken in Ramchand (2008) is that the reason syntactic structures have meaning is that they are “systematically constructed as part of a generative system (syntactic form) that has predictable meaning correlates”. which would vary predictably depending on its function. which is not a part of the substantive listeme stare.g. The alien stared at Kim. Thus. c. The two outputs. according to Borer. e.g. Cat came. (common name interpretation) (examples from Borer (2005)) The syntactic structure. d. A substantive listeme is a unit of the conceptual system. For example in (19b) stare obtains a new causation meaning. 13 . the use of any particular substantive listeme (e. Here. The following range of examples is offered by Borer for the English verb ‘siren’. (19d). or even part of speech (20). based on combinatorial. but because it is embedded within a specific functional projection which ‘verbalizes’ it. and its meaning never interacts with the computational system.

(from Borer 2005). is not. whose meaning is affected by structure. the contrast below emerges: 14 . village ‘The vehicle hammered /hooted /sloshed /screamed through the village’ b. In (23) what is measured is determined solely by whether the prepositional phrase or a compound is used. The police sirened the Porsche to a stop. like temperature. The police car sirened the daylights out of me. The fire stations sirened throughout the raid. and does not depend on the lexical entries of the lexemes involved. while the degree of ‘non-monotonic’ properties. Diliˇ zans exal /plyl /skoljzil /pilil /ˇ cesal ˇ cerez vehicle drove /floated /glided /sawed /brushed through derevnju. as described by Schwarzschild (2002). Another case of structure giving rise to a linguistically relevant distinction is the contrast between monotonic and non-monotonic measurable properties. village ‘The vehicle drove /floated /glided /sawed /brushed through the village’ Diliˇ zans molotil /uxal /xljupal /uljuljukal ˇ cerez vehicle hammered /hooted /sloshed /screamed through derevnju. or noise accompanying the motion. the ‘making noise along the way’ interpretation is not available with potentially addressed noise production such as: (22) a. but available interpretation: ‘The boy sang /shouted /screamed (to smb. In the construction below. is a reflection of amount. The factory sirened midday and everyone stopped for lunch. However. boy sang /shouted /screamed /through village ‘*The boy sang /shouted /screamed (while walking) through the village’. *Maljˇ cik pel /kriˇ cal /uljuljukal ˇ cerez derevnju. While (20) shows the flexibility of one root. (21) shows the productivity of one construction or frame for several roots. A similar Russian example of argument structure and meaning determined by the structural position of a verb in a sentence (21) is brought up in Rakhilina (1998). Thus. e.) across the village’. may replace ‘move’: (21) a. practically any imperfective verb denoting manner of motion. The police car sirened up to the accident. d. like length. b. The degree of ‘monotonic’ properties.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian (20) a. c.

whose lexical entry cannot possibly contain the distinction. decreases if we take less cable. such as do-. ot-. one aspect of meaning of po.in Czech as measure functions. does not change with the amount of cable in question. za-. pro-. For example. it is the structure that allows one to distinguish between the monotonic and non-monotonic properties. as they are the same except the presence of the preposition ‘of’. I. possibly. straightforward transfer of the conceptual meaning to time has limitations for the prefixes po-. However. d. Similarly. while the measurement in (23b) refers to the diameter of the cable. In this view a directed motion verb introduces the path. who analyzes the prefixes na. Thus. perethe superlexical meaning can be obtained by simply taking the meaning of the lexical prefixes and applying this same meaning to time. for many prefixes. the interpretation of a prefix may depend on the position where it is attached. as a non-monotonic property. The same distinction is used by Souˇ ckov´ a (2004a). independently motivated meaning. a foot of cable quarter inch cable seven pounds of potato seven pound babies The measurement in (23a) refers to length. which scopes over different domains in different syntactic positions.Inna Tolskaya (23) a. time.is attached at the path level) or lasting a certain time (if pro. where the domain of the measure function depends on the structural position where it is introduced. s.remains constant. depending on structure. ‘a little’ ) is the contribution of the conceptual listeme po-. non-monotonic properties. the unique meaning of pro. there is nothing about the spatial meaning of za.‘through’ would combine with the meaning contributed by the position either in the path domain or in the time domain. and each position in a syntactic representation has a specific. thus both the lexical entries and the structure are brought together to derive the relevant meaning.and po. b. The position which I adopt here is that there is a non-structural component of meaning of a preposition/prefix. or degree. The lexical entries of the words used are unlikely to be the source of the contrast. the interpretation of certain verbal prefixes as measure functions becomes parallel to the contrast of monotonic vs. which may scope over path.is attached at the time level). applied both to homogeneous and quantized predicates.‘behind’ 15 . As the table (18) shows. while in the absence of other scales the time becomes the domain of the measure function. to result in the reading of overcoming a certain distance (if pro. as argued in this paper.g. which. and that meaning (e. allowing it to preserve its conceptual content as a single function. illustrated in (23). c.and. as a monotonic property. For example. Then.e. which acts as the monotonic scale measured by the prefix po-. which.

are not. where Source prefixes. Lexical Prefixes Once the existence of two classes of prefixes is established: lexical and superlexical (see introduction for references).3 with the time measurement phrases. How this is achieved is the subject of the next section. which remains constant across both uses of the prefix. and prefix po. e. according to Filip (2003) and Souˇ ckov´ a (2004a). It could feasibly just as well be a completive prefix with the meaning ‘behind completion’ and a denotation similar to ot-. open scale interpretation 16 . determined by the closed vs.2.g. lit. respectively referring to the source. while Goal prefixes. Filip (2003) arguing for source-goal asymmetry displayed by Slavic prefixes). the contrast between Source and Goal prefixes is evident from their compatibility with measurement phrases (e. and there must be something about the position that introduces the initiation vs. ‘a little’.loc ZA-pinch-past. Moreover. bite (about frost)’ (transitive).does have a completive meaning. it turns out that each class should be subjected to a tripartite division. 3.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian that would correspond to inception. schekotatj ‘to tickle’ za-schekotatj ‘to tickle (to death. The contrast between source and goal prefixes in Slavic languages has been widely discussed.7 Filip (2003) also argues for a telicity contrast between Source and Goal prefixes. I show in this section that the lexical prefixes are grouped into three types with contrasting syntactic properties: ‘FROM’.3n ‘The eye started to hurt’ (inceptive. to unconsciousness.)’ (completive) v glazu za-schipa-lo in eye. to extreme annoyance. c. ‘VIA’ and ‘TO’ prefixes. etc. ‘it started to hurt in the eye’) This contrast between the uses of the same prefix shows that the association to a specific position is not driven by the conceptual entry. to hiccups. b. as closed scale predicates. etc. or goal of movement.)’ schipatj ‘to pinch. d. completion meaning. path. In Czech. ‘to hurt’ (intransitive) za-schipatj ‘to pinch (to death.with a similar meaning). for many transitive non-motion verbs za. as open scale predicates. So there must be some syntactically visible diacritic. 7 Note the similarity of such contrast to the compatibility of superlexical prefixes in section 3. supported by the similar syntactic behavior of the prefixes in each class (cf. are compatible with measurement phrases. and the same verb with the same prefix zamay be ambiguous: (24) a. which determines which prefix may occur in which position.

*exatj ostanovk-u drive-inf bus.g. which might appear to introduce a direct object in very limited contexts. process P and result P) they instantiate. but the sentence is grammatical if bus-stop is interpreted as a measure of distance between two bus stops. Pantcheva (2007) divides the motion verbs into four classes.stop-acc ‘The bus drove past my stop’ b. do not lead to a particular result state (e. Axial Parts (Svenonius 2006) and Case (Caha 2007).inf river-acc (‘to swim a river’) a. girl pere-swam river-acc ‘The girl swam across the river. usually with measurement phrases. VIA and TO). is not available. Crucially. the phrase in Accusative is just as grammatical with the intransitive unprefixed verb plytj ‘to swim’. The ability to introduce a direct object which is not an argument of the verb separates the ‘VIA’ lexical prefixes from the others. path and goal.prefixes.in (27). and is most likely an adjunct: 17 .Inna Tolskaya Similarly. The existence of separate source and goal nodes has also been widely used in analysis of adpositions. tancuvam ‘dance’. unlike in (26). Devoˇ cka pere-plyla rek-u. This section will show that contrasting syntactic properties of motion verbs with various lexical prefixes allow for a tripartite division (FROM. based on the compatibility of prefixes with verbs with different subevential structure. where the bus stop is a point along the path. bus pro-drove my-acc bus. Only the pro. the Goal prefix attaches only to motion verbs that have no res feature. i. which involve movement through or across. padam ‘fall’. In (25a) and (26a) the ability of the VIA prefixes to license a direct object is illustrated.e. (25) Avtobus pro-exal moju ostanovk-u. lack an external ‘Initiator’ argument (e. depending on which subevential heads (initiation P.e. path and goal. Pantcheva (2007) considers a tripartite division of Bulgarian prefixes into source.stop-acc intended reading ‘to drive a bus stop’. butam se ‘push oneself’). Similarly. butam se ‘push oneself’). (26) Compare the contrast in (26) with the behavior of the prefix do. *plytj rek-u swim. introduce direct objects as in (25a) and (26a). which turns out to correspond to the semantic division of the prefixes into source.and pere. ‘ b.g. a. i. It turns out that Source prefixes appear to be available only for motion verbs that do not instantiate init.

with the Goal prepositions v-. These prepositions are set apart under the label VIA.pereyes yes no no vno yes zano yes FROM and pod. The prefix and the preposition do not need to be identical.acc /out house. simply belonging to the same type 18 .are always grammatical as well. Do-plytj ostavshiesja pjatj kilometrov emu do-swim. we out-went in house. The waves were preventing him from swimming the last five kilometers. The waves prevented him from completing swimming of the remaining 5 kilometers. rather than the departure point or the goal. as describing the path taken. My vy-ˇ sli *v dom /iz doma. which appears to be subject to the Identity Condition: (28) Identity Condition The verbal prefix corresponds to the type of the prepositional phrase it co-occurs with. Another property uniting them is the lack of corresponding prepositions: there is no preposition pere.infP remaining. pod-.nom.nom. do. (Markovskaya 2006: 6) As illustrated in (29).gen We went (into the house/)out of the house.are grouped together as introducing a direct object. (he did not reach the goal) Plytj ostavshiesya pjatj kilometrov emu swim. Thus. The combinations of the Goal prefixes v-.dat pomeshali volny.and pere. where the type refers to the distinction between Goal and Source prefixes/prepositions. preventedI waves.dat meshali volny. and semantically they also belong together.acc km him. and the preposition pro ‘about’ does not have a spatial meaning. VIA pro. the combinations of the Source prefix vy.infI remaining. za-.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian (27) a. k-. the prefixes pro.acc km him. obj.acc five.acc five. Preposition Markovskaya (2006) presents evidence from Russian in favour of the existence of a Goal and Source asymmetry based on the distribution of Goal and Source prefixes.dono no yes yes TO sno yes vyno yes otno yes Dir. do.with the Source preposition iz are grammatical: (29) a. (but he still might have reached the goal) b. preventedP waves.

which may also cooccur with Goal prefixes in cases when the structure contains a Source PP in addition to Goal PP or where the source is clear from the context (31).gen We went up to the house(/away from the house) b.gen at polnoˇ c midnight The children reached the house(/from the graveyard) at midnight (examples a-c from Markovskaya 2006: 6) My za-ˇ sli v dom /*iz doma.gen /in shade. However. we out-went in Saratov. we from-went from house.gen /on floor. (31) a. the Goal prefixes strictly obey the identity condition.from-slid down.Inna Tolskaya (Source or Goal) is sufficient: (30) a.gen We went into the house(/out of the house) My podo-ˇ sli k domu /*ot doma. c.to-went to house. My oto-ˇ sli ot doma /k domu /v tenj.acc /out house. The co-occurrence of Goal prefixes with Source prepositions (30). My vy-jehali v Saratov (iz Moskvy).acc /to house. we in-went in house. My vy-ˇ sli v sad. we into-went in house. and the presence of a source does not yield completely grammatical sentences: 19 . we out-went in garden.gen We went into the house(/out of the house) Deti do-ˇ sli do doma /*ot kladbiˇ csa v children to-went to house. we up.acc We went in the garden (from the house)..acc out Moscow.gen We left for Saratov (out of Moscow). My vo-ˇ sli v dom /*iz doma.acc The children slid down from the hill /onto the floor. d. the Identity Condition is not so strict on Source prefixes. We went away from the house(/to the house) Deti s-katilisj s gorki /na pol.acc /out house. c. and Source prefixes with Goal prepositions (29) yields ungrammaticality.from hill. chidren down.gen /from graveyard. d. b. On the other hand.dat /away house.

Thus. Since Slavic prefixes are. and more visibly so. The prefixes grouped under FROM are compatible with arguments in PPs in genitive. with some minor exceptions. and without the Goal PP do kladbischa it is completely ungrammatical. the following division emerges between non-VIA prefixes. ??Deti do-ˇ sli ot doma *(do kladbischa) v children to-went to house. according to their susceptibility to the identity condition: Identity Condition vstrict zastrict TO podstrict dostrict? sno FROM vy. Svenonius (2004b) as well argues that the lexical prefixes in the Slavic languages should be understood as originating in a prepositional complement of the verb. A prefix is a P head that takes a verbal projection as its complement.9 8 Markovskaya (2006: 6) lists this sentence as borderline. and to the classification of prefixes based on Identity Condition in the table above. a preposition is a P head that has a DP or a CP complement. especially with an added measurement phrase za polˇ casa ‘in half an hour’. However. though to myself and native speakers I consulted it sounds ok.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian (32) a. surprisingly.otno no The Source-Goal assymetry is also present. The prepositions can be classified on the basis of the case they assign to their DP complements. *My v-jehali iz Moskvy (v Saratov). the contrasting properties of the corresponding prepositions should bear upon the classification of prefixes.gen in Saratov. The prefixes grouped under TO correspond to the prepositions ambiguous between static place. It has been argued by Matushansky (2002) that prepositions and prefixes constitute a single category P and have the same morpho. patterns with FROM prepositions. This classification turns out to coincide to some extent with the semantic division between Source and Goal prepositions and their homophonous prefix counterparts.acc We left Moscow for Saratov. we into-went out Moscow. midnight ‘The children reached the house from the graveyard at midnight8 ’ b. for the prepositions.phonological status (see also Pantcheva 2007). homophonous to spatial prepositions. As its meaning ‘up to a certain point’. 9 Note that the prefix do-.gen at polnoˇ c. rather than 20 . or bystro ‘fast’. and dynamic place-to-which. involves overcoming a certain distance. without any time modification it does feel somewhat incomplete. (Markovskaya 2006: 6) Thus.gen from graveyard.

Thus.Inna Tolskaya Dir. the distribution of prefixes among these groups is not identical for lexical and superlexical prefixes. Crucially. VIA and TO. which could be achieved by joint node occupation. (33) a. 21 . d. obj. c. child s-fell s couch-gen ‘The child fell off the couch’ Malyˇ s vy-lez iz krovatk-i. Superlexical Prefixes The previous section displays and conceptually motivates the tripartition for the lexical prefixes. Identity Condition Case assigned in PP s* no GEN FROM vyot* * no no GEN GEN VIA propereyes yes N/A N/A N/A N/A do* strict? GEN TO vza* * strict strict ACC LOC ACC INS pod* strict ACC INS The examples below illustrate the cases used with the prepositions corresponding to the prefixes discussed. /under table-acc ‘The cat climbed into the wardorbe / behind the wardrobe / under the table’ Koˇ ska sidit v ˇ skafu /za ˇ skafom /pod cat sits in wardrobe-loc /behind wardrobe-ins /under stolom table-ins ‘The cat sits in the wardrobe / behind the wardrobe / under the table’ Malyˇ s do-polz do stola child do-crawled do table-gen ‘The child crawled (all the way) to the table’ Malyˇ s s-valilsja s divan-a. ‘duration’ and ‘completion’. child vy-climbed from. 3.3. however.in bed-gen ‘The child climbed out of the bed’ b. it may display properties of both TO and FROM prefixes. barely arriving. three groups of lexical prefixes emerge: FROM. Koˇ ska za-lezla v ˇ skaf /za ˇ skaf cat za-climbed in wardrobe-acc /behind wardrobe-acc /pod stol. path and goal. This section shows how the superlexical prefixes mirror the division in the temporal domain. e. corresponding to source. falling into ‘inception’.

po.allows only ‘in an hour’ modification. the addition of the structural component of inception. pattern together allowing only modification of ‘for an hour’ type. which all refer to duration.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian but appears rather arbitrary. which could be explained by the fact that lack of duration is a part of the meaning of the prefix. However. The superlexical prefixes may be divided into three groups on the basis of ‘in an hour’ and ‘for an hour’ tests. Some of the superlexical meaning of prefixes may be derived by simply applying the conceptual (spatial) meaning to time. as well as the existence of diacritics. which would suffice for pro-. suggests a tripartite (actually. Do-.’ 22 .pattern together as disallowing both modifications. allowing ‘in an hour’ modification. The prefix s. po-. as it is a part of the meaning of s.pereyes yes yes * * * COMPLETION do. It turns out that the inceptive po. counting the prefix s-) division of prefixes: those that allow no time modification. (34) a.is incompatible with ‘for an hour’ modification appears to be pragmatic.and do-. The reason why s. which I suggest analyzing in terms of division into inception.ot. those that allow only ‘for two hours’ modification. pere. The data. where the time duration is an argument of the verb. quadripartite. This motivates the existence of the three levels on superlexical level as well. where the temporal PP is a modifier with a freer syntactic position. a tripartite division emerges. turned. ot-. pro-. thus occupying an intermediate position. and the prefixes that allow both. and s-.that the trip has minimal duration. INCEPTION po. In (34a) and (34b) ‘for an hour’ modification is illustrated. s-.allow ‘for an hour’ modification.syes yes * yes yes yes -dva ˇ casa (for two hours) -za dva ˇ casa (in two hours) The examples below present all the felicitous combinations. The completive prefixes do. along with ‘in an hour’ modification. specifying to which structural position a given prefix may be inserted. duration and completion.za* * * * DURATION pro. for the other prefixes. all of which refer to completion also pattern together. duration and completion is the only way to derive the superlexical meaning from the conceptual entry. Then. summarized in the table below. which allows only ‘in two hours’ modification.out so hard do-swim extra twenty minutes ‘It turned out so hard to finish swimming the extra twenty minutes. Okazalosj tak tjaˇ zelo do-plavatj liˇ snie dvadcatj minut.and za. and pere-.and ot.

(36) a.and s. ˇ po -swam two hours Certko ˇ ‘Certko swam (briefly) for two hours’ b. girl ot-swam missed sessions in two hours ‘The girl finished swimming (what she was supposed to) for the missed sessions in two hours’ Napugannaja gostj-a s-begala v apteku za pjatj scared guest-fem s-ran in pharmacy in five minut. Matrosy ot-plavali rejs. minutes ‘The scared guest ran to the pharmacy (and back) in five minutes’ b. a Certko vse esche net. ‘for an hour’ time modification is rather marginal.out but Certko yet no. c.Inna Tolskaya b. but Certko is still not here. desjatj linix minut ˇ time. ten extra minutes pereplaval. Za tri goda on do-plaval do kandidat-a v mastera in three years he do-swam till candidate-gen in masters sporta. With pere-. sailors ot-swam trip. and the ‘extra ten minutes’ measures the duration of the excess compared to norm. rather than duration of the whole event: (37) ˇ Pora vyxoditj. ot.are compatible with ‘in an hour’ type of modification: (35) a. pere-swam ˇ ‘It is time to get out.to go. he swam for ten extra minutes’ 23 . ˇ Certko pro-plaval dva ˇ casa. ‘The sailors completed sailing the trip (and will not sail again)’ ‘The sailors completed sailing the trip (and will not sail again)’ All the completive prefixes do-. The duration prefixes are only compatible with ‘for an hour’ modification. sampled by one example on Ruscorpora. sports ‘In three years he swam enough to be a Candidate for Master of Sports’ Devoˇ cka ot-plavala propuschennye zanjatija za dva ˇ casa. ˇ pro-swam two hours Certko ˇ ‘Certko swam for two hours’ ˇ Certko po-plaval dva ˇ casa.

s-begatj ‘to run there and back’) are sometimes analyzed as semelfactive (Janda 2006) and are.4. The ‘duration’ prefixes add duration to the activity. hence compatibility with both types of time measure phrases.g. 3. which can be measured by ‘for an hour’ measure phrase. then the structure is interpreted as ex → ey (ex ‘leads to’ ey ). has no length and cannot be measured.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian Thus. The ‘completion’ prefixes introduce an end to an activity. in the same fashion. hence its incompatibility with any type of time modifiers. three groups of superlexical prefixes emerge with distinct semantic and syntactic behavior: inceptive. embeds a projection YP where Y introduces the eventuality variable ey . First Phase Syntax and Principle of Event Decomposition On the basis of a cross-linguistic study of verb semantics and argument structure. where initiation leads to process and process potentially leads to a result state: (38) If a head X which introduces an eventuality variable ex .prefix (e. the starting point. 24 . as such. as a part of the meaning of the prefix is lack of duration. The verbs with the s. leads to result. durational and completive. which. ordered in the hierarchical embedding relation as shown below in (39) (Ramchand 2008: 46). incompatible with ‘for two hours’ modification. Ramchand (2008) proposed a tripartite division into initiation. Thus. as a point. and the head Y is the process. which. turning a line into a closed measurable piece with a definite endpoint. the initiation leads to the process. This order is motivated by the Principle of Event Composition (Ramchand 2008). depending on whether the duration or completeness of the activity is emphasized. Inception introduces a point of transition. if the head X is initiation. process and result. Each of these subevents is represented as its own projection.

Inna Tolskaya (39) initP (causing projection) DP3 subj. departing FROM the source leads to traveling VIA a certain path. and if the superlexical prefixes can also be divided into three types as I suggested in section 3. Thus. and three VP external projections. each of these path subparts may be put into a separate projection in a Path phrase inside VP (Svenonius 2004b).. according to the Principle of Event Composition (38). proc. so that.3. it is conceivable that the subevent types also correspond to the structural tripartition of the structure above VP where the superlexical prefixes are located. which mirror the VP subeventual structure of init. Each subevential head enters in a predicational relation with the specifier position.. This would lead to two tripartitions instantiated by the grammar. 25 . one spatial tripartition for the lexical prefixes inside the Path Phrase. with the hierarchical ordering: FROM → VIA → TO. Thus. possibly in AspP. and another tripartition corresponding to the event decomposition. the three core projections suggested by Ramchand (2008: 48) are: • init P introduces the causation event and licenses the external argument (subject of cause = INITIATOR) • proc P specifies the nature of the change or process and licenses the entity undergoing change or process (subject of process = UNDERGOER) • res P gives the telos or result state of the event and licenses the entity that comes to hold the result state (subject of result = RESULTEE) (Ramchand 2008: 48) Pantcheva (2007) shows that for lexical prefixes the same schema works. of ‘proc’ proc DP1 subj. which leads to arrival TO the destination point. for superlexical prefixes. Thus. of ‘caus’ init procP (process projection) DP2 subj. of ‘res’ resP res XP . res. If this is correct. my claim is that there are three VP internal projections for lexical prefixes.

However. each prefix must have a central meaning in the conceptualintentional system. za. Thus. pro. ot VIA TO pro. Pantcheva (2007) for related discussion of Bulgarian).or the inceptive meanings of zaand po-. pere v. e. A feasible solution is that the structural positions for superlexical prefixes may contain empty DPs with the denotations Inception. Prefixes united The position I adopt is that both the lexicon and structure give rise to meaning. even the combination of the structural and the conceptual meanings seems insufficient to derive such superlexical interpretations as complete stop of an activity denoted by ot. there must be higher positions for distributive prefixes. for prefixes that measure the extent of the event. pere completion ot. ot.g. The existence of empty DPs would follow logically from 26 .Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian proposed by Ramchand (2004). Yet. do XP . pod. PathP VP AspP Interestingly. do. po duration po. vy. as is seen from the tree (40). there is no uniformity in association of prefixes to the positions.. introduced by each node. (40) inception za. Duration and Completion. 4. compatibility with which is determined by the diacritics in the lexical entry. s init proc res FROM s. which is combined with the the specific meaning of a different type. independently of each other. The independence of the syntactic distribution of prefixes ffrom the conceptual listeme. and may be some others. and the impossibility to derive the meanings by merely transferring the conceptual prepositional meaning to time domain. but merely a stipulation reflecting only the Russian motion verbs (cf. so the picture is far from final.is exclusively compatible with source node in the Path domain and with completion in the superlexical domain. is another proof that both the lexical entry and syntactic position contribute to the meaning..

under which the ability of prefixes to combine with the silent DP complements is not surprising.1. the combination of the conceptual meaning of ot. or motor za-rabotal ‘the motor started working’. imagine a figure moving in time. have no effect on the complement PP of the verb. just like it is behind the ground when we are talking about the spatial za-. i. The prefixes combining with the silent DPs. e. unlike lexical prefixes. in which case it would remain unclear what is the ground. thus the reference point is a time in the future after the beginning of the activity.g. This section concentrates on how the superlexical interpretation is derived from the combination of the conceptual structure with the empty DPs. in respect to which a figure is moving in space. Inception The figure crosses the beginning edge of the boundary.e. which would be explained by a stipulation that their requirements for a complement are satisfied by DPs in the position where the prefixes are introduced. Za. Now the figure is behind the beginning. away from which the movement takes place. For example. Such interpretation would be hardly available without the empty DP ‘completion’. that the event is completely over. or future perfective. of which the figure is the initiator. telefon za-zvonil ‘the phone started ringing’. Even in the future tense. Figure 1: 4. Po. the viewer is imagined to look back.is used with non-directional verbs. as well as other monotonous atelic activities. This is in line with the widely used ‘TIME is SPACE’ metaphor (Lakoff and Johnson 1980) where space is seen as the source domain for time. In order to unify the meaning in time and space.is used with directional verbs 27 . Since the verb is either past.‘away from’ with the DP ‘completion’ would mean that the figure is moving in time away from the completion point.Inna Tolskaya the hypothesis about the identity of prefixes and prepositions. as shown below. the verbs are perfective. and encountering an event. thus starting the activity. from the retrospective point of view. An empty DP would act as the ground.

and psych verbs such as to po-kazatjsja ‘seem’. which specifies that the prefix may be inserted into inception node. where each undergoer is in turn affected by the event. The conceptual meaning of po. ‘according to an author’. Thus. which is also a possible interpretaton of both po. po zaverˇ senii ‘upon completion’. and inchoative za-. po-ˇ cuvstvovatj ‘feel’ or po-ljubutj ‘to fall in love’. But how does the inceptive meaning fit in? Recall that there are two inceptive prefixes in Russian: ingressive po. po pribytii ‘upon arrival’. It denotes both the beginning of the activity and the fact that it took place.and za. recall that the preposition po means ‘along a path’. po vozvraschenii ‘upon returning’. or by the number of undergoers.is. The Conceptual Intentional content determines which prefix (po. The constructions where the preposition po means ‘after’ are rather limited and mostly archaic. or ‘after’. used with atelic motion verbs and monotonous intransitive verbs where the subject 28 . what the reason for the distribution of po. tightly connected. two questions arise. how such diverse meanings can be united. Figure 2: Immediately. and second. which corresponds to the ingressive meaning of the prefix po-.prefixes with other non-motion verbs. First. In (17d) and (17e) the preposition po can also be argued to have a limitation meaning. according to its beginning. where it is combined with the silent Inception DP.and za. In (17d) the PP limits the means of learning. The fact that the superlexical interpretation involves inception (rather than completion. see (24)) comes from the diacritic. and in (17e) the limitation is temporal sequence.is limitation: the activity is limited by time duration.with telic motion verbs and psych verbs such as ‘fall in love’. po predjavlenii dokumenta ‘upon showing the document’. and in all cases they delimit a transition to a point of no return: po smerti ‘after death’.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian of motion. Now.or zais appropriate to denote inception with a particular verb. and most likely reaching the goal. the figure proceeds along the telic activity. ‘get to know’.

The diacritic that specifies that the prefix may be inserted into a particular node (Inception in this case) is identical for the two prefixes. po-dumatj ‘to think’.”. while a person calling goes through a sequence of different actions. za.) on the phone’) a. is described by Zaliznyak (2005) as pointing to the fact that the action started. Zaliznyak (2005) uses this property to explain the grammaticality contrast of two uses of za-zvonitj ‘to ring’ below. po-ljubitj ‘fall in love’. without distinct beginning.denotes the beginning of a monotonous action at the beginning of which the subject appears to enter a new state. Most of the verbs denote perceptible events such as za-ˇ sumetj ‘to start making noise’. perhaps stretched to the example discussed in the previous section: (42) *Tom za-krasil zabor. za-beletj ‘to become visible as white’. Tom za-painted fence intended meaning ‘Tom started painting the fence’. The prefix is compatible with the telic motion verbs po-jti ‘walk/go’. but only the result interpretation is available. za-bespokoitjsja ‘to start worrying’. Thus. b. The same contrast may be explained. while the subject of calling does not go through any radical change of state while performing the act of calling. where the beginning of the process and the fact of it taking place are hard 29 . these verbs are used both to denote the beginning of an action and the fact that it took place. process and end. and with psych verbs pokazatjsja ‘to appear/to seem’. The discussion below is dedicated to the differences between the two. as mentioned above.Inna Tolskaya goes through a considerable change of state. the inceptive za. (41) Telefon za-zvonil. the phone ringing is a homogenous event. The ingressive po-. According to Zaliznyak (2005). za-b´ egatj ‘to start running around’. This analysis could be. *Ona za-zvonila po telefonu. with an implication that it will finish. in line with Dobrushina et al. on the other hand. (‘She started calling (smb.3) by the fact that the phone enters a new state when ringing. she za-rang on phone. po-letetj ‘fly’. Thus. It could be argued that painting a fence is not a homogenous event. (2001) analysis (discussed in section 2. phone za-rang ‘The phone started ringing’. According to Zaliznyak (2005). similarly to making a phone call in (41). The inchoative phase is described as cutting out the beginning phase which allows to expect the whole process to look similarly.is used with verbs denoting homogenous situations. za-vonjatj ‘to start smelling badly’.

in Russian is special as violating the consistent two-fold picture of lexical and super-lexical prefixes. the motion verbs with po-. Ivan in (44a) stayed home. but felt sick on the way’ Vˇ cera po-ˇ sla na lekciju. mne po doroge stalo Yesterday po-went on class me-dat on. where the beginning of the telic journey limits the figure to a certain path determined by the directional verb. Ivan za-bolel i na rabotu ne po-ˇ sel. Also. where directional verbs combine with lexical prefixes with spatial meaning and non-directional verbs combine with super-lexical prefixes with a temporal meaning. in Czech. and thus the verb refers to the fact of both beginning and completion of the trip taking place. and never even started walking. according to Souˇ ckov´ a (2004b). parallel to short time with non-directional verbs. Yesterday po-went on class me-dat there became bad ‘Yesterday I went to class. thus resulting in a perfective meaning. where the speaker did not get to the destination due to illness. but felt sick there’ b. to be caught by illness there. but turned into a pub’ b. (44) a. Thus. while in (44b) he went in the direction of work. Po-. while with non- 30 . With psych verbs.to refer to a short distance with directional verbs.sick and to work not po-walk ‘Ivan fell sick and did not go to work’ Ivan na rabotu ne po-ˇ sel. or just the arrival point may fall under the scope of negation. and seems to be superlexical in both cases. either the beginning of the process. in a sense.modifies path and derives ‘move a short distance’. though he turned before getting to the destination. a svernul v kabak. Indeed. Ivan za-fell. the fact of beginning to love/seem/think makes loving/seeming/thinking inevitable. Vˇ cera po-ˇ sla na lekciju. where the speaker clearly arrived to the point of destination. (43) a. The general picture would lead one to expect po. and produces an implication of reaching the goal. refers to time with both directional and non-directional verbs. Crucially. the opposition is as predicted by the path vs. Compare (43a). po. bad ‘Yesterday I started walking to class. and thus the verb refers to the beginning of walking. as well. often imply completion. so the beginning portion did take place in spite of the negation. mne tam stalo ploxo. time opposition: with directional verbs po. limitation is also present in the ingressive meaning. and (43b). on the contrary.the way became ploxo.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian to pull apart. So. Ivan to work NOT po-walked but turned in pub ‘Ivan did not go to work.

as ‘a little’. or the normal end boundary.and za. measures the duration. 4. or of a directed motion. when it is a superlexical prefix combined with the idiomatic DP ‘duration’. allowing it to contain a measure function. which fits ideally with the time vs. Then the combination of the structural meaning of ‘inception’ with the conceptual prefix meaning derives the special variety of inception: either beginning of a homogeneous activity. space dichotomy as presented for Russian. their usage is rather different. Duration and Completion Figure 3 shows how the same pro.2. when it is a superlexical prefix. which takes a boundary crossed as a complement when it is a lexical prefix. means crossing a normal duration. while both prefixes po.refer to beginning of an activity. Figure 3: Figure 4: 31 .modifies time and derives ‘walk for a short while’. and tightly connected to their basic conceptual meaning. Thus.that measures the distance as a lexical prefix. The pere-. Souˇ ckov´ a (2004b) then unifies the meanings of po.Inna Tolskaya directional verbs po.

can appear as specifier of ‘inception’ or ‘TO’. 4. the uniting schema for the prefix s. e. or for short distance for lexical prefixes. parallel to moving away from the ground. Figure 6: Thus.is short distance (paralleled by brief time on superlexical level) and presence of a basic location. Summary Below is a summary of the structural meanings combined with the preposition meanings deriving the verb interpretation. The figure displaces from the normal location either for a short period of time. while otinvolves the figure moving on the timeline away from the endpoint of the event. parallel to the figure approaching the ground in space.g.3. Figure 5: In Figure 6. with subsequent return for superlexical prefixes. do.is considered. Each prefix is compatible with certain nodes. 32 .is shown as the figure approaching the end point of the event. the challenging prefix s.Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian In Figure 5. za.

and rarely with pere. having completed the activity.(crossing) + ‘duration’ = the figure crosses the normal duration of the activity.(from. – do. The figure begins and finishes the activity in no time. i. but disallows ‘for an hour’ modification as it involves no duration. and such properties contrast to lack thereof in lexical entry of coercible cases such as ‘three wines ’. obligatorily with pro-. started the activity.(where it denotes excessive duration). – pere. – za. according to) + ‘inception’ = the figure is limited by the beginning edge of the activity.(boundedness. – po. and ends up at the starting point.e. a short deviation): the prefix patterns with completion prefixes. while the duration till completion may be modified with ‘for an hour’ phrase. and there is an implication that the activity will be finished. delimitation. optionally with po.e. – po. 33 .Inna Tolskaya while po. hence the possibility of both modifications. – ot.(where it denotes a small time when empty). is moving in time away from the activity (which leads to the implication of never repeating the activity). – pro.(away from) + ‘completion’ = the figure. has started the (telic) activity. • ‘Duration’ may be modified with a ‘for an hour’ phrase.(behind) + inception = the figure is behind the beginning edge of the activity.is compatible with ‘inception’ and ‘duration’. This is supposedly achieved by formal syntactic properties which can only be ‘checked’ in the given syntactic position. This is possible along the lines of Borer (2005).(untill) + ‘completion’ = the figure is moving towards the completion (and has reached it. if the verbs is in the past).(through) + ‘duration’ = the figure goes through a certain duration of an activity (which must be specified) from beginning to end.(limitation) + ‘duration’ = the figure goes through a limited duration of an activity. and proceeds accordingly. who suggested the existence of robust syntactic properties resistant to coercion to rule out such constructions as ‘*too much carpets ’. • ‘Inception’ refers to the start boundary of the activity. as allowing ‘in an hour’ modification.on. i. – s. • ‘Completion’ may be modified with ‘in an hour’ phrase.

thus resulting into a closed scale predicate. a lexical and a superlexical one. Mili´ cevi´ c (2004) talks about two distinct iz. including related Slavic languages with stacking prefixes. More evidence from Bulgarian is presented in Pantcheva (2007). case stacking. and shows that the fixed order of superlexical prefixes is reminiscent of Cinque’s (1999) adverb hierarchy. where 34 . It introduces a line. has no length to be measured. where the entire piece from beginning to end is measured. The ‘inception’ DP does not allow any modification. as a dot. the role of the prefixes is taken by the multitude of case suffixes in such languages. The basic meaning of lexical prefixes is spatial. and the ability of suffixes to stack in between the two leads leads to the conclusion that a more elaborate event structure would be necessary for a complete analysis. and the temporal superlexical interpretation arises from the addition of the idiomatic DPs. a piece of which can be measured out with the ‘for an hour’ type of modification. which. The ‘completion’ DP allows ‘in an hour’ modification.. The order of lexical prefixes is reminiscent of a common phenomenon (Finnish. Conclusion Though there is no direct evidence for this particular order of the nodes occupied by the prefixes. there is a range of data with a suspiciously familiar hierarchy. Lezgian) where a ‘place to which’ interpretation is achieved by stacking of a location suffix onto a direction suffix. with no predefined endpoint. It introduces the starting point. Indeed. 5. The ‘duration’ DP allows ‘for an hour’ modification..Unifying Prepositions and Prefixes in Russian The figure (45) shows the tree uniting all the superlexical prefixes with their respective idiomatic DPs. (45) za DP inception po DP duration ot DP completion FROM VIA ot pro TO do XP . Istratkova (2004) discusses a similar case of prefix stacking in Bulgarian. and Cinque (1999) adverb hierarchy.prefixes in Serbian. where compatibility of verb sub-events with the prefixes containing various path sub-parts are explored. It introduces the endpoint to the line.

For directional motion verbs the domain. The non-directional verbs lack path. is path. in reference to a point in time (beginning or end of an event) that acts as ground. and refer. The ‘time is space’ metaphor was shown to play a crucial role in interpretation of the prefixes. illative.Inna Tolskaya allative. which leads to the differences in the syntactic behavior of these prefixes. it is clear that an elaborate structure is necessary to account for the usage of the Russian verbal prefixes. The contrast of the prefix meanings between the directional and non-directional verbs of motion gave an opportunity to describe a systematic variation of Russian prefixes from their prototypical meaning. This interpretation is derived by the combination of the prototypical preposition meaning with the idiomatic temporal DPs at a higher syntactic level. prolative etc. 6. appear on the noun rather than on the verbs. allowing a step towards unification of prepositions and prefixes. rather. modified by the prefix. and movement is described in reference to a physical ground in space. to movement of a figure in time. ablative. Though these parallels demand much deeper investigation. Appendix: Abbreviations 1 2 3 acc adj Asp DAT dir GEN I INF init INS LOC N nondir nondir P PL proc REF res sg SI first person second person third person accusative adjective aspect dative directed genitive imperfective infinitive initiation instrumental locative neuter non-directed non-directed perfective plural process reflexive result singular secondary imperfective 35 .

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