Areal-typological aspects of word-formation
The case of aktionsart-formation in German, Hungarian, Slavic, Baltic, Romani and Yiddish
Ferenc Kiefer |
Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Aktionsart is defined as the modification of verb meaning by morphological means. The article claims that languages in which aktionsarten are derived by preverbs form a Sprachbund. The central area of the Sprachbund is occupied by Slavic languages. The Sprachbund includes Yiddish, Lithuanian, Hungarian, and to a lesser extent German and Romani. English and Romance don’t have any aktionsarten. In the discussion of the aktionsarten in the area Russian is taken as the language of reference. The development of aktionsarten may follow various paths. In Yiddish most aktionsarten were developed under the influence of Slavic. In Hungarian, on the other hand, no direct Slavic influence can be identified but borrowing from German played a role in the development of aktionsarten. Language contact and parallel development have brought about very similar aktionsart systems in genetically unrelated languages. At the same time, languages may differ in the number of aktionsarten, in the range of base verbs for which the derivation is possible, and in the productivity of aktionsart-formation.