Choice of Aspect in a Russian Modal Construction

The case of приходиться/прийтись + infinitive




Russian, aspect, modality, corpus data, quantitative methods


Russian aspect has been studied by many scholars over the decades within different perspectives and from different points of view, but its usage still presents challenges and controversial points. Within the cognitive paradigm, Janda and colleagues (Janda and Reynolds 2019; Janda et al. 2019) have recently demonstrated that the choice of aspect in Russian is not always determined by context but is relatively open to construal. In particular, among the cases that are open to construal, modal constructions figure prominently. In this article I present two quantitative studies on the modal construction приходиться/прийтись + infinitive, ‘have to’, with the aim of providing more evidence for their finding. The hypothesis is that the aspect of the infinitive is not fully determined by grammatical context but, to some extent, is open to construal. The first study is an analysis of corpus data taken from the Russian National Corpus. A dataset of 447 examples was annotated for several factors  in order to single out variables that significantly interacts with aspect choice in the infinitive. The second study consists of an experiment with Russian native speakers. An acceptability judgement survey was submitted to 110 informants that had to rate both aspects in the infinitive in the same contexts. In both cases statistical methods were used to analyse the data. Results to the corpus analysis led to the conclusion that no contextual factor significantly influences the choice of aspect, while the answers to the survey demonstrated that both aspects are rated as grammatically acceptable by the majority of the native speakers.


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How to Cite

Bernasconi, Beatrice. 2022. “Choice of Aspect in a Russian Modal Construction: The Case of приходиться/прийтись + Infinitive”. Poljarnyj Vestnik 25 (2):1–20.



Articles (peer reviewed)