The grammatical profiles of Russian biaspectual verbs
Russian has a relatively large group of biaspectual verbs, which can be used to convey both perfective and imperfective meaning. However, some of these verbs are used more often in perfective contexts and others in imperfective contexts, which is likely to influence the direction of the further development of overt aspectual oppositions in these verbs (such as whether a biaspectual verb will acquire a prefixed perfective aspectual partner or a suffixed imperfective partner). In this paper, I propose three methods for determining the status of a biaspectual verb, namely, by estimating the relative frequencies of its perfective and imperfective gerunds, by classifying its grammatical profile (i.e. frequencies of major Tense/Aspect/Mood categories) using the k Nearest Neighbors algorithm and by running an experiment on the perception of the inherent aspect of biaspectual verb forms. The study shows that Russian biaspectual verbs are gradually becoming more common in imperfective contexts. The classification based on the grammatical profiles of the verbs yields results that are quite close to the context-free perception of the aspect of biaspectual verb forms by Russian speakers. The data also show that Russian biaspectual verbs are quite dissimilar: some of them resemble imperfective verbs, while others behave more like perfective verbs, and between the two poles there is still a large group of truly biaspectual verbs.