Aspectual meanings in two cognitive domains
A constructional approach to aspect in Serbian
I argue that certain aspectual forms that have given rise to descriptive problems in the past can be accounted for if we understand the contexts in which these forms appear as constructions. I provide evidence for two aspectual constructions in Serbian, which are used to describe situations in two cognitive domains, motion and consumption. These two domains are chosen because of their ubiquity in both language and cognition. The two aspectual constructions, termed type focus and duration focus, license the use of imperfective verb forms in Serbian with external arguments that refer to specified quantity, which other theories dismiss as exceptions to the rule or consider odd or even impossible. Furthermore, I show how adverbials such as for an hour add aspectual meaning in their own right and should be treated as construction elements on a par with verbs and internal arguments. I discuss these constructions in a contrastive context by looking at their potential meaning counterparts in Russian, English and Italian. I also show how semantic, syntactic and pragmatic information is integrated in the formulation of construction meaning.
Keywords: aspect, motion, Serbian, type focus, consumption, duration focus, construction meaning
Published online: 30 July 2010
Cited by 1 other publications
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