Article published in:Tense and Aspect: The contextual processing of semantic indeterminacy
Edited by Svetlana Vogeleer, Walter De Mulder and Ilse Depraetere
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 12] 1998
► pp. 1–19
The Progressive in Japanese and Temporal Advancement in Narrative
Abstract. Various studies have indicated that the aspectual class controls the narrative temporal structure. In principle, sentences with a bound/perfcctive interpretation advance time in narrative. For example, a sentence with either an achievement or an accomplishment predicate does not overlap with surrounding discourse and, therefore, it is interpreted as a description of an event that happens later than the event described in the previous sentence. However, it has also been pointed out that the progressive aspect in English moves time forward in the narrative. Dowry (1986) provides examples in the progressive aspect that alllow time advancement. He argues that in such exceptional cases, a quasi-inceptive reading is possible through "perceptual observations". The present paper examimes the progressive construction in Japanese, which involves the stativc suffix te-iru. The aim of this study is to show that the progressive aspect in Japanese also brings about a perceptual effect under certain conditions, which induces a boundedness reading of the sentence with a predicate in the progressive aspect.
Published online: 01 January 1999