QLVL members - Dagmar Divjak


Dagmar Divjak (º1975) earned a BA (1995) and an MA (1997) in East European Languages and Cultures from the K.U.Leuven (Belgium) as well as a specialization degree (1998) in Polish language and culture from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland). Spring 2004 she defended her Ph.D. dissertation in Russian Linguistics “Degrees of Verb Integration. Conceptualizing and Categorizing Events in Russian.” for which she had a 4-year research grant from the Science Foundation (Flanders, Belgium). During the 2004-2005 academic year Dagmar Divjak was a postdoctoral Francqui fellow of the B.A.E.F. at the UNC at Chapel Hill (USA), where she extended her work on event integration in Russian to Polish and Serbian. Fall 2005 she joined QLVL as a postdoctoral research fellow of the Science Foundation (Flanders, Belgium) in order to work on a corpus-based analysis of aspect assignment in Slavic languages. She will be on leave through December 2007 as she has taken up a position as Assistant Professor of Slavic Linguistics at the University of Sheffield (UK).


E-mail: d.lastname@sheffield.ac.uk
URL: http://perswww.kuleuven.be/dagmar_divjak
Phone: +44 (0)114 222 7401
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 7416
Surface mail: University of Sheffield, School of Modern Languages and Linguistics, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, Arts Tower, Western Bank, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S10 2TN, UK
Office: (UK) Arts Tower, room 08.19



Aspect assignment in Slavic complex event structures

This research project aims to propose a model of how aspect is assigned in three Slavic languages, i.e. Russian (East Slavic), Polish (West Slavic) and Serbian (South Slavic). Focus is on clauses that express complex events and typically involve two verbs, i.e. [VV], e.g. He urged me to participate in that discussion.

Slavic aspect differs radically from aspect in other languages. Aspectual forms primarily mark different features of the temporal structure of the event depicted in a clause, yet, in Slavic languages, aspect is virtually independent of tense. In addition, it has reached an unusually high level of grammaticalization: every verb form is obligatorily marked for imperfective or perfective. Aspect, particularly Russian aspect, has been the object of a massive amount of research. Despite the advances that have been made in listing the many meanings both aspects convey, linguists have been unable to come up with an explanatory model and a set of rules that would, at least to a large extent, correctly predict which aspect is assigned.

A quantitative and corpus-based approach to aspect assignment will shed light on how the temporal perspective of each grammatical system, the lexical meaning of each verb and the pragmatic properties of the larger (con)text interact to provide the observable patterns of aspectual usage. In addition, [VV] structures incorporate the grammar/lexicon interaction and the semantics/pragmatics interrelation in two different ways and are therefore an ideal environment for contributing to the ongoing theoretical debate on the grammar-lexis interface and the semantics/pragmatics boundary.

Representative publications

The following publications are representative of Dagmar's research. The rest of her published work can be found in the QLVL publication list.

Divjak, D. and St. Th. Gries. 2006 "Ways of Trying in Russian: Clustering Behavioral Profiles". Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory 2(1): 23-60.

Divjak, D. 2006. "Ways of Intending: Delineating and Structuring Near-Synonyms". In St. Gries and A. Stefanowitsch (eds.), Corpora in cognitive linguistics. Vol. 2: The syntax-lexis interface 19-56. Berlin & New York: Mouton De Gruyter.

Smessaert, H., B. Cornillie, D. Divjak and K. van den Eynde. 2005. "Degrees of Clause Integration. From Endotactic to Exotactic Subordination in Dutch". Linguistics. An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences 43(3): 471-530.