Measure prefixes in Czech. Cumulative na- and delimitative po-
The thesis deals with two of the most interesting quantificational verbal prefixes (measure prefixes) in Czech, namely po- and na-. Po- means essentially ‘a little’ or ‘relatively small quantity’, na- contributes the notion of ‘relatively large quantity’, it means something like ‘a lot’. Although their semantics seems to be of the same type (just the polarity is opposite), the claim is that the two prefixes are structurally different. What is common to the prefixes is that both po- and na- attach to different classes of verbs, yielding slightly different interpretations depending on that. However, the claim is that both po- and na- are the same prefixes in all the constructions presented in the thesis – the differences can be accounted for by virtue of the interaction between the prefixes and different types of verbal predicates, all of them referring to events of gradual change. The core of the analysis offered is to describe possibly precisely the meaning of the prefixes (using the notion of extensive measure function) and their impact on the delimitation of events. A useful tool here appears to be the notion of scale. Using a scalar model, then, the proposal is that po- and na- are elements applying to events of gradual change, measuring/delimiting the events by measuring/delimiting intervals on scales (that are relevant for the delimitation status of a given type of event). Finally, the distinction between delimitation and telicity is introduced and illustrated on the cases of po- and na-verbs. The claim is that the in an hour test tests for telicity (as defined in the thesis) and not for delimitation, explaining the status of so called ‘short while’ po-verbs, which are, then, delimited, though atelic.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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