Volitional Mood in South Slavic with a Focus on Bulgarian

A Paradigmatic View

  • Gergana Popova Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom
  • Andrew Spencer University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom
Keywords: Bulgarian, Slavic, volitional mood, periphrasis


In this paper, we survey some of the inflected and periphrastic volitional mood paradigms in South Slavic with a focus on Bulgarian data. Our review confirms typological observations in the literature that volitional mood paradigms tend to ‘fracture’, in that the cross-categorisation with different person/number features leads to systematic associations with different meanings and, typologically, frequent associations with different forms. This makes it difficult to argue that non-existent inflected forms are gaps in the inflected paradigm. Because of this periphrastic volitional mood forms that exist alongside inflected forms have to be seen as independent (syntactic) paradigms, rather than forms that fill missing cells in inflected paradigms, i.e. the product of feature intersection. Like more canonical periphrases, however, syntactic volitional mood forms are non-compositional and exhibit an organisation akin to the content-form paradigm organisation of inflected paradigms developed in certain inferential-realizational approaches to morphology. Following some recent formalisations, we suggest a tentative analysis of the most productive periphrastic volitional mood forms in Bulgarian based on the assumption that their properties are constrained partially by the morphology and partially in the syntax.


Download data is not yet available.


Academy Grammar, vol. 3 (1983) Gramatika na săvremenniia bălgarski knižoven ezik. Sintaksis. Sofia: Izdatelsto na Bălgarskata akademija na naukite.

ACKERMAN, Farrell/Gregory STUMP (2004) “Paradigms and periphrastic expressions.” In: L. Sadler/A. Spencer (eds), Projecting morphology. Stanford Studies in Morphology and the Lexicon. Stanford, California: CSLI Publications, 111–157.

ACKERMAN, Farrell/Gert WEBELHUTH (1998) A theory of predicates. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

ALEXANDER, Ronelle (2006) Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: A grammar with sociolinguistic commentary. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.

AMMANN, Andreas/Johan VAN DER AUWERA (2004) Complementizer-headed main clauses for volitional moods in the languages of South- Eastern Europe: A Balkanism? In: O. Mišeska Tomić (ed.), Balkan syntax and semantics, vol. 67 Lingustik Aktuell/Linguistics Today. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 293–314. https://doi.org/10.1075/la.67

BONAMI, Olivier (2015) “Periphrasis as collocation.” Morphology 25/1, 63–110. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11525-015-9254-3

BONAMI, Olivier/Robert D. BORSLEY/Maggie TALLERMAN (2016) “On pseudo-non-finite clauses in Welsh.” In: D. Arnold/M. Butt/B. Crysmann/T. Holloway King/S. Müller (eds), Proceedings of the joint 2016 conference on Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar and Lexical Functional Grammar. Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications, 104–124.

BONAMI, Olivier/Gregory STUMP (2016) “Paradigm function morphology.” In: A. Hippisley/G. Stump (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Morphology. Cambridge University Press, 449–481.

BONAMI, Olivier/Gert WEBELHUTH (2013) “The phrase-structural diversity of periphrasis: a lexicalist account.” In: M. Chumakina/G. Corbett (eds), Periphrasis: The role of syntax and morphology in paradigms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 141–167.

BROWN, Dunstan/Marina CHUMAKINA/Greville CORBETT/Gergana POPOVA/Andrew SPENCER (2012) “Defining ‘periphrasis’: key notions.” Morphology 22, 233–275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11525-012-9201-5

ČAKĂROVA, Krasimira. 2009. Imperativăt v săvremennija bălgarski ezik. Plovdiv: Izdatelstvo “Pigmalion”.

CRYSMANN, Berthold/Olivier BONAMI (2016) “Variable morphotactics in Information-based Morphology.” Journal of Linguistics 52/2, 311–374. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226715000018

EVANS, Nicholas (2007) “Insubordination and its uses.” In: I. Nikolaeva (ed.), Finiteness: Theoretical and empirical foundations, 366–431. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

GINZBURG, Jonathan/Ivan A. SAG (2000) Interrogative investigations: The form, meaning and use of English interrogatives. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

GOUSSEV, V. Ju. (2013) Tipologija imperativa. Moscow: Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury.

HANSEN, Björn (2004) “The grammaticalization of the analytical imperatives in Russian, Polish and Serbian/Croatian.” Die Welt der Slaven XLIX/2, 257–274.

HERRITY, Peter (2016) Slovene: A comprehensive grammar. London and New York: Routledge.

IVANOVA, E. Ju./A. A. GRADINAROVA (2015) Sintaksičeskaja sistema bolgarskogo jazyka na fone russkogo. Moskva: Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury.

KUEHNAST, Milena (2008) “Aspectual coercion in Bulgarian negative imperatives.” In: W. Abraham/E. Leiss (eds) Modality-Aspect interfaces: Implications and typological solutions. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 175–196.

MIŠESKA TOMIĆ, Olga (2012) A grammar of Macedonian. Bloomington, In.: Slavica Publishers.

NICOLOVA, Ruselina (2008) Bălgarska gramatika: Morfologija. Sofija: Universitetsko izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Oxridski”.

PITSCH, Hagen (2018) “Bulgarian moods.” Journal of Slavic Linguistics 26/1, 55–100. https://doi.org/10.1353/jsl.2018.0003

POLLARD, Carl/Ivan A. SAG (1994) Head-driven phrase structure grammar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

SADLER, Louisa/Andrew SPENCER (2001) “Syntax as an exponent of morphological features.” In: G. Booij/J. van Marle (eds) Yearbook of morphology 2000. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 71–96.

SAG, Ivan A. (1997) “English relative clause constructions.” Journal of Linguistics 33, 431–484.

SAG, Ivan A./Thomas WASOW/Emily M. BENDER (2003) Syntactic theory: A formal introduction, 2nd edn. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

SPENCER, Andrew/Gergana POPOVA (2015) “Periphrasis and inflection.” In: The Oxford Handbook of Inflection. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 197–230.

STUMP, Gregory (2001) Paradigm Function Morphology. A theory of inflectional form. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

STUMP, Gregory (2016) Inflectional Paradigms: Content and form at the syntax-morphology interface. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SZUCSICH, Luka (2010) “Mood in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.” In: B. Rothstein/R. Thieroff (eds) Mood in the Languages of Europe, vol. 120 Studies in Language Companion Series (SLCS). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, 394–408.

VAN DER AUWERA, Johan/Nina DOBRUSHINA/Valentin GOUSSEV (2004) “A semantic map for imperative-hortatives.” In: D. Willems/B. Defrancq/T. Colleman/D. Noël (eds), Contrastive Analysis in Language: Identifying linguistic units of comparison. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 44–66.

VAN DER WURFF, Wim (2007) “Imperative clauses in generative grammar. An introduction.” In: W. van der Wurff (ed.), Imperative Clauses in Generative Grammar: Studies in honour of Frits Beukema. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, 1–94.

How to Cite
PopovaG., & SpencerA. (2020). Volitional Mood in South Slavic with a Focus on Bulgarian. Linguistica, 60(1), 61-81. https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.60.1.61-81