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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The topic of this chapter is the acquisition of lexical and grammatical aspect. Given wide cross-linguistic variation in aspect expression, the learnability issues center around form-meaning associations: how do learners determine the meaning of a certain aspectual form? Focusing on the literature on telicity and on the perfective-imperfective distinction, two main results stand out. Predicate telicity is easier than compositional telicity. The completion entailment of perfective is acquired at different ages across different languages, somewhere between 2.6 and 5. One novel direction of research asks whether aspect is acquired easier in some languages than in others. The answers will uncover possibly universal aspectual primitives and heuristics that guide children with their task of acquiring temporal meanings.

Keywords: acquisition, grammatical aspect, telicity, perfective, imperfective, form-meaning mapping, cross-linguistic variation

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