Axel Holvoet

Phasal and proximative complementation: Lithuanian baigti

The article deals with Lithuanian constructions based on the verb baigti ‘finish’. They have traditionally been dealt with in the context of phasal complementation. In this article it is argued that the verb baigti actually underlies two different types of constructions: in addition to phasal constructions with imperfective infinitives there are also proximative constructions with perfective infinitives. The proximative construction refers to an imminent event viewed as the outcome of a (basically unexpressed) process that is in its final phase at the moment of speaking (or some reference time not coinciding with the moment of speaking). The Lithuanian proximative construction with baigti, which has no counterpart in Latvian, has probably evolved from the phasal construction; it has a number of properties that hark back to its phasal origin and are not necessarily characteristic of proximatives in general. The article gives a characterization of the proximative construction with baigti, analyses its interaction with different aspectual classes, and discusses its relation to another gram-type, the so-called avertive. It is also pointed out that, in view of the existence of a distinct proximative complementation type, combinations of baigti with perfective infinitives should no longer be adduced as evidence against the existence of aspectual oppositions in the Lithuanian verb. 


Keywords: Lithuanian, complementation, phasal construction, proximative construction, avertive construction, verbal aspect, aspectual class