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The construction of viewpoint aspect: the imperfective revisited

The construction of viewpoint aspect: the imperfective revisited

Arche, Maria J. (2014) The construction of viewpoint aspect: the imperfective revisited. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 32 (3). pp. 791-831. ISSN 0167-806X (Print), 1573-0859 (Online) (doi:10.1007/s11049-013-9209-5)

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This paper argues for a constructionist approach to viewpoint Aspect by exploring the idea that it does not exert any altering force on the situation-aspect properties of predicates. The proposal is developed by analyzing the syntax and semantics of the imperfective, which has been attributed a coercer role in the literature as a de-telicizer and de-stativizer in the progressive, and as a de-eventivizer in the so-called ability (or attitudinal) and habitual readings. This paper proposes a unified semantics for the imperfective, preserving the properties of eventualities throughout the derivation. The paper argues that the semantics of viewpoint aspect is encoded in a series of functional heads containing interval-ordering predicates and quantifiers. This richer structure allows us to account for a greater amount of phenomena, such as the perfective nature of the individual instantiations of the event within a habitual construction or the nonculminating reading of perfective accomplishments in Spanish. This paper hypothesizes that nonculminating accomplishments have an underlying structure corresponding to the perfective progressive. As a consequence, the progressive becomes disentangled from imperfectivity and is given a novel analysis. The proposed syntax is argued to have a corresponding explicit morphology in languages such as Spanish and a nondifferentiating one in languages such as English; however, the syntax-semantics underlying both of these languages is argued to be the same.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aspect; Imperfective; Perfective; Progressive; Coercion; Syntax–morphology mapping
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Literature, Language & Theatre
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Last Modified: 27 Apr 2017 10:22

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