Exploring the asymmetric coding of autobenefactive in Lithuanian and beyond


In this paper, I investigate a group of semantically close functions marked by the Reflexive marker in Lithuanian, which I address as autobenefactive. I provide a classification of these functions and then turn to a marking asymmetry which is characteristic of the them, namely the tendency to occur in perfective contexts and not to occur in progressive contexts. On the basis of a questionnaire, I show that this tendency indeed exists, although different verbs are involved to different degrees, and we are presumably witnessing an ongoing grammaticalization process. I then compare the Lithuanian marking asymmetry to a phenomenon in Georgian, in which the use of “subjective version” exhibits a similar kind of asymmetry with some groups of verbs. In the concluding section, I propose a typological explanation of the observed asymmetry, hypothesizing that the markers of both languages function in a way parallel to so-called “bounders” – telicizers with primary spatial meanings.


reflexive, middle, autobenefactive, aspect, Lithuanian, Georgian

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Published : 2020-12-30

Panov, V. (2020). Exploring the asymmetric coding of autobenefactive in Lithuanian and beyond. Baltic Linguistics, 11, 343–371. https://doi.org/10.32798/bl.707

Vladimir Panov 
Vilnius University  Lithuania