- Table of Symbols and Abbreviations
- About the Authors
- The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect
- Philosophy of Language
- Narratology and Literary Linguistics
- Computational Linguistics
- Universals and Typology
- Discourse and Text
- Diachrony and Grammaticalization
- Language Contact
- Creole Languages
- Primary Language Acquisition
- Second Language Acquisition
- Remoteness Distinctions
- The Surcomposé Past Tense
- Bound Tenses
- Embedded Tenses
- Nominal Tense
- Lexical Aspect
- Verbal Aspect
- Perfective and Imperfective Aspect
- Progressive and Continuous Aspect
- Habitual and Generic Aspect
- Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity
- Perfect Tense and Aspect
- Resultative Constructions
- Time in Sentences with Modal Verbs
- Evidentiality and Mirativity
Abstract and Keywords
For Plato and Aristotle, a verb was above all a word that indicates time. The Greeks and Romans made no very strong distinction between a marker and the concept that it marked. Consequently, for some two and a half millennia, the different forms of the verbal paradigm were called times or tenses. It was only in the twentieth century that a consistent distinction began to be made between two kinds of meaning distinctions morphologically marked in synthetic languages, namely “tense” as an indication of different times (such as past, present, and future) and a quite different indication of time, namely aspect, although that distinction was not unknown in the ancient world. This article explores tense and the representation of time, the coherence of verbal systems, tense and aspect, the binary tense systems of Indo-European languages, perfectives and performatives, the allosemes of verbal forms, the vast present, tense and aspect in Swahili, the tense systems of Ruhaya and Kikuyu, and the use of modal forms in tense function.
John Hewson (Ph.D. 1964, Université Laval, Quebec City) is Henrietta Harvey Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics, Memorial University of Newfoundland, which he was instrumental in founding in 1968. Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he has collaborated with two other RSC Fellows at Memorial, Vit Bubenik, with whom he wrote Tense and aspect in Indo-European languages: Theory, typology, diachrony (1997) and From case to adposition: The development of configurational syntax in IE languages (2006), and Derek Nurse, with whom he wrote articles on verbal systems in Bantu, and prepared (in 2010), along with Sarah Rose, a website on Verbal Categories in Niger-Congo.
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