- 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
Compositionality concerns the computation of complex meanings at higher levels of structure on the basis of atomic meanings. This article is based on the conviction that complex meaning of phrase structure should be approached on the basis of the principle of compositionality, and considers two temporal domains—tense and aspect—in which linguists have a choice between a compositional and non-compositional approach. It shows that H. Reichenbach's (1947) tense system suffers from not being compositional and argues that a strictly compositional approach to Slavic aspectuality produces better results than competing non-compositional approaches advocated by most scholars of Slavic languages, mostly on the basis of informal semantics. The article also discusses L. A. te Winkel's binary system, compositionality in Russian language, terminative imperfectivity, and durative perfectivity.
Henk Verkuyl is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Utrecht University. His main research interest has been the semantics of tense and aspect resulting in work including On the compositional nature of the aspects (1972), A theory of aspectuality (1993), Aspectual issues (1998) and Binary tense (2008). He is also one of the authors hiding behind the pseudonym L.T.F. Gamut in Logic, language and meaning (1992).
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