Some Special Problems of Imperfective Derivation in Czech

Charles E. Townsend, Princeton University

Imperfective derivation is demonstrably more complex in Czech than in Russian and, perhaps, in other Slavic languages as well. There are four derivational suffixes, compared to three in Russian, and historical developments have contrived to make processes attending imperfectivization more complex and considerably less consistent than in the latter language as well.

This paper will outline some of these inconsistencies and difficulties (and non-correspondences with Russian or other languages) and suggest ways in which some of them can be remedied or even turned into advantages for descriptive analysis. Certain groups and subgroups among Czech verb classes, at least as analyzed from a one-stem system I have already formulated in previous work, yield patterns heretofore unnoticed. This applies particularly to verbs in the suffix -i-, but other classes will also be examined for their idiosyncrasies and possibilities for more economic analysis.

The paper will attempt to discover patterns and generalizations which will not only add to imperfective derivational theory and analysis, but should offer opportunities for pedagogical application as well.