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Is a morphological distinction between perfective and imperfective aspect available on verbs?


This feature is concerned with phonologically bound marking of imperfective and perfective grammatical aspects. These categories could go by the name of punctual and continuous, preterit and progressive, etc. The answer could be 1 even if only one of these is overtly marked, e.g. if the imperfective is marked by an affix and the perfective is marked by an auxiliary. Please take notice that this feature (GB086) and the features on aspectual auxiliaries GB120 and particles GB520 do not cover exactly the same functions. The features on auxiliaries and particles cover more grammatical aspects than just perfective and imperfective.

If this distinction is only available in some TAM-conditions, this counts as well. For example, if there is no aspectual distinction in the past but it only exists in the present, this still triggers a 1.


  1. Code 1 if perfective or imperfective aspect can be marked on the verb by an affix or clitic, suppletion, tonal marking or reduplication.
  2. If only perfective aspect or only imperfective aspect is overly marked, code 1.
  3. If there is no marking of aspect at all, code 0.
  4. If it is not possible to tease apart present tense and imperfective, and that is the only possible relevant construction in the language for this feature, code as ?.


Chukchii (ISO 639-3: ckt, Glottolog: chuk1273)

In Chukchi, there is aspectual marking on the verb that distinguishes progressive aspect from a neutral aspect. The suffix differs between men's and women's language (-rkə / -ccə) and varies somewhat with phonological context. Dunn (1999: 176) gives the following examples. Chukchi is coded as 1 for this feature.

non-future future
Neutral aspect jetɣʔi ‘She came.’ re-jetɣʔe ‘She will come.’
Progressive aspect (men) jetə-rkə-n ‘She is coming.’ re-jetə-rkə-n ‘She will be coming.’
Progressive aspect (women) jetə-ccə-n ‘She is coming.’ re-jetə-ccə-n ‘She will be coming.’

Further reading

Comrie, Bernard. 1976. Aspect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Comrie, Bernard. 1985. Tense. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dahl, Östen. 1985. Tense and aspect systems. Oxford: Blackwell.

Dahl, Östen & Viveka Velupillai. 2013. The past tense. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.


Dunn, Michael J. 1999. A grammar of Chukchi. Canberra: Australian National University. (Doctoral dissertation.)

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