Edna Andrews

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195381979
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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The concept of markedness is often used to formulate the solution to problems that arise in the morphology and/or semantics of tense, aspect, and mood, and is especially prominent in certain fields, one of which is Slavic linguistics. This is perhaps not surprising, given the roles of Roman Jakobson, Nikolai Trubetskoy, and other members of the Prague School in the founding of the theory of markedness and distinctive features. Jakobson's markedness theory is a qualitative theory of oppositional relations, presented not in a comprehensive discussion of markedness in general, but rather in applications to specific problems within the areas of phonology, morphology, and semantics. This article reviews the development of basic concepts in markedness theory and considers some “myths” where that theory is concerned. It also looks at Jakobson's theory of “shifters,” its application to the Russian verb, and its revision by C. H. van Schooneveld and H. I. Aronson, and finally discusses markedness in the study of Russian verbal aspect.

Keywords: markedness; tense; aspect; mood; Roman Jakobson; shifters; verb; van Schooneveld; H. I. Aronson; markedness theory

Article.  11183 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Pragmatics

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