See, Now They Vanish
Third-Person Perfect Auxiliaries in Old and Middle Czech
Keywords:cognitive linguistics, auxiliary
This article argues that Czech retained a semantic distintion between the expression of current relevance/emphasis and a neutral preterit in third-person compound preterit forms until the late sixteenth century. The distinction was expressed by the presence (expressing current relevance/emphasis) vs. absence (neutral preterit) of third-person auxiliaries. The hypothesis is based on data from two late fourteenth-century narratives (Asenath and The life of Adam and Eve) and from letters written by two Czech women from 1365 to 1615. The results of statistical analyses are presented as support for the hypothesis, and it is suggested that the continued distinction between current relevance/emphasis and a neutral preterit in the third person is in part responsible for the fact that the two-way use of imperfective verbs never became a major usage pattern in Czech, in contrast with Russian, where the tense system was reduced relatively early.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.