Probing for aspectual change: an analysis of lexical and grammatical aspect across three generations of Russian speakers in the Greater Toronto Area

Amer Ahmed, Iryna Lenchuk


The present study tests Pereltsvaig’s Lexical Hypothesis [2005, 2008] by investigating the interaction between the features of grammatical aspect (±perf(ectivity)) and those of lexical aspect (±telic(ity)) in the varieties of Russian spoken among three generations of heritage speakers of Russian (HSR) in the Greater Toronto Area. Two hypotheses are tested: (a) the variety of Russian as spoken by the first generation of HSR is not different from that of Contemporary Standard Russian (CSR); particularly, the constellations [+perf, +telic] and [-perf, -telic] are a tendency rather than a rule, (b) the Russian spoken by the second and third generations of HSR is distinct from CSR in that the constellations [+perf, +telic] and [-perf, -telic] are a rule rather than a tendency. The results of the study generally though not categorically lend support to the Lexical Hypothesis.

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Published by Eurasia Academic Publishers