- 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
Verbal tense, defined as the “grammaticalization of location in time,” commonly serves in natural language to anchor the situation described by the sentence to the time axis. Aspect is not inherently deictic and does not anchor the situation to the time axis, but may affect temporal structure. English has a small set of verbs that are inherently telic and necessarily require a delimitating argument, and which are thus incompatible with a bare plural or bare mass noun. Aspectual class and grammatical aspect are independent theoretical notions, but there are clear interactions between them. For instance, the English progressive does not easily apply to stative verbs, or creates special meaning effects when it does. This article first offers some observations about English before exploring aspect in a cross-linguistic perspective. It then discusses the role of verbs and arguments in the grammar of aspect, perfectives and imperfectives in Russian and French, progressives and perfectives in English, multiple aspectual distinctions in Mandarin Chinese, the relation between perfectivity and telicity, and the amalgamation of tense and grammatical aspect.
Henriëtte De Swart is Professor of French Linguistics and Semantics at Utrecht University (the Netherlands). She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Groningen with a thesis entitled Adverbs of quantification: A generalized quantifier approach (1991). She works on topics in tense and aspect, negation, and indefinites. Her publications on tense and aspect include Meaning and use of not … until (Journal of Semantics, 1996), Aspect shift and coercion (NLLT, 1998), Aspectual implication of plural indefinites (2006), A cross-linguistic discourse analysis of the perfect (Journal of Pragmatics, 2007). She also wrote An introduction to natural language semantics (CSLI, 1998).
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