Глагольный аттенуатив в горномарийском языке
Semelfactive, delimitative, attenuative, and similar meanings are frequently combined in one marker across world languages forming a single semantic area. The article addresses the verbal attenuative in-al- / -alal / -ə̑ ldal in Hill Mari, looking into its morphonological distribution and polysemy. The marker allows for multiple (perfective) interpretations, including: delimitative (‘do P for a while’); transition to a temporary state (‘enter state S for a while and return to the initial state’); transition to a weaker state (‘enter state S, which is expressed weaker than the norm’); partial accomplishment (‘accomplish X in part only’). Imperfective interpretations, i.e. a weaker state or a weaker atelic process, are not available for the attenuative except for a coercion interpretation emerging with a zero iterative affix (‘read a book sporadically’ = ‘read for a while in a series of separate attempts’). The actual interpretation is shown to depend on the Aktionsart properties of the stem. Interpretations that include a change of state (other than the delimitative) are only possible where the stem verb has a resulting state in its aspectual structure. Overall, attenuatives describe situations which have a shorter duration than a standard S, and b) do not lead to any resulting state. The latter is true either because there is no result state in the first place, or because the result state is either cancelled or only partially reached.