This masters thesis investigates the development of aspectual prefixes in Czech. The analysis in this work incorporates diachronic and synchronic perspectives and presents a theory about the path of development of aspectual prefixes in the framework of construction grammar. It draws from a central notion that grammar emerges from discourse and argues that the development of aspectual prefixes in Czech was fundamentally based in language use and processing. The synchronic layering of prefixed predicates in Czech provides evidence that the development of aspectual prefixes progressed gradually and suggests that grammaticalization and lexicalization processes took place. The analysis in this study is based on the assumption that major stages of development are attested in the synchronic layering of aspectual prefixes. Synchronic layering is transparent in semantically distinct types of prefixed predicate constructions. The semantic analysis of aspectual prefixes suggests that prefixed predicates can be categorized in relation to their characteristic stages of development. The semantic classification of prefixed predicates with prefixes za-, na-, po-, and do- defines six predicate types and studies their distributional properties in order to identify distinct developmental stages of aspectual prefixes in the Czech National Corpus. The semantic and distributional properties of predicate types present evidence that aspectual prefixes developed unidirectionally through grammaticalization and lexicalization processes. This thesis illustrates the general path of development and maps each aspectual prefix that was analyzed onto this path. It concludes that aspectual prefixes in Czech developed along the same path; however, they reflect distinct stages of development. The semantic classification of predicate types is supported by a phonological analysis of vowel durations in aspectual prefixes. The phonological analysis establishes that speakers of Czech have distinct mental representations of vowels in aspectual prefixes that directly relate to the grammaticalization and lexicalization processes hypothesized to have taken place.
aspectual prefixes grammaticalization lexicalization
Level of Degree
Department of Linguistics
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Peskova, Pavlina. "The Development of Czech Aspectual Prefixes Through Grammaticalization and Lexicalization Processes." (2014). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ling_etds/26