Manner/Path Typology of Bulgarian Motion Verbs


  • Traci Speed


This study examines the Bulgarian motion verb system in terms of what information is typically conveyed by motion verbs in addition to motion itself. The theoretical framework is Talmy’s (1985) typological theory, which divides languages into low-manner verb-framed languages and high-manner satellite-framed languages according to what additional information is typically conflated with motion in a motion event. Bulgarian motion verbs emphasize path of motion to a greater extent than do most other (non-Balkan) Slavic languages. Non-Balkan Slavic languages more often use verbs of motion expressing manner in combination with (satellite) prefixes indicating path, while Bulgarian focuses on verbs which express the path of motion, some of which are Bulgarian innovations. These verbs are often prefixed, but the prefixes may be fused to the root to the extent that an unprefixed form of the verb does not occur, and prefixation here is no longer productive. Typical examples include the frequent use of the path verb izljaza ‘to exit, go out’ when speakers could also use izletja ‘to fly out’ or izmâkna ‘to sneak out’. This variation in the Bulgarian motion verb system brings Bulgarian closer to the other Balkan languages (especially Greek, with its parallel motion event conflation), and is viewed here as a possible instance of Balkan Sprachbund influence.




How to Cite

Speed, T. “Manner/Path Typology of Bulgarian Motion Verbs”. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 23, no. 1, June 2015, pp. 51-81,