Serge Minor – The Semantics of Grammatical Aspect in Slavic (and Beyond)

This course will center around formal approaches to the semantics of grammatical aspect, and their application to the aspectual systems of Slavic languages. The course will consist of two broad cycles.  The first cycle will introduce existing formal accounts of the semantics of aspectual categories. We will address a range of topics including the interaction between grammatical and lexical aspect, the imperfective paradox and ‘modal’ components of aspectual meaning, the ‘progressive’ and ‘habitual’ meanings of the imperfective and attempts at their unification, etc.

The second, empirical, cycle will focus more closely on the aspectual systems of Slavic languages. After an introduction to the structure of Slavic aspectual systems, we will look more closely at the semantic variation between these systems, and at formal ways to capture this variation. We will further discuss the similarities and differences between grammatical aspect in Slavic and other languages, locating Slavic aspectual systems in a broader typological context. Finally, we will touch upon existing evidence from the processing, L1 acquisition and diachronic development of Slavic aspect, and the potential of this evidence to inform theory building.