The Lithuanian “buvo + be-present active participle” construction revisited

A corpus-based study


The paper presents the results of a large-scale corpus-based investigation of the Lithuanian construction involving a past-tense auxiliary būti ‘be’ and a present active participle, which in previous literature has been identified as avertive, i.e. expressing a past event that was imminent but did not occur. It is shown that although the avertive uses account for about three quarters of the occurrences of the construction, it has a robust share of progressive and proximative uses, and that, moreover, the counterfactuality meaning of the avertive is often provided by the context rather than directly encoded by the construction. The lexical and grammatical profiles of the different functions of the construction are investigated in detail, showing how lexical meaning and actionality interact with the semantics of the construction and with the context.


Lithuanian; aspect; actionality; avertive; proximative; progressive

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Published : 2019-12-31

Arkadiev, P. (2019). The Lithuanian “buvo + be-present active participle” construction revisited. Baltic Linguistics, 10, 65-108.

Peter M. Arkadiev 
Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Slavic Studies, Leninskij prospekt 32-A, RU-119334 Moscow & Vilnius University, Institute for the Lenguages and Cultures of the Baltic, Universiteto g. 5, LT-01131 Vilnius  Russian Federation