Russian Language Journal


duration, progressive continuity, general validity, repetition


It is a well-known fact that some secondary imperfective verbs in Russian cannot express duration – a notion, ascribed to the imperfective aspect. Of the three, or even four, possible aspectual meanings of the imperfective aspect – duration / progressive continuity, general validity, and repetition – some secondary imperfective verbs are limited to expressing only iterativity, a notion of repetition, embedded in their lexical semantics. The interpretation of the term iterativity in this work is close to the one given by Mehlig (2006) in which the iterative predicate describes an unbounded number of repetitions and the particular meaning is embedded in the verb’s semantics. In other words, iterativity is expressed by the verb form itself without additional contextual indicators of repetition, unlike regular imperfective verbs. To my knowledge, no comprehensive and generally accepted explanation of this phenomenon exists in theoretical works on the Russian verbal aspect; moreover, no reasonable classification of such verbs for practical teaching / learning needs is available.