Article published in:The Linguistic Expression of Mirativity
Edited by Agnès Celle and Anastasios Tsangalidis
[Review of Cognitive Linguistics 15:2] 2017
► pp. 385–410
The expression of mirativity through aspectual constructions
While some languages appear to have dedicated mirative constructions, others convey mirative meanings through originally “non-mirative categories which acquire mirative meanings in a given context” (Aikhenvald, 2012, p. 462). Such mirative extensions of existing constructions have been observed and analyzed at length for evidentials, yet this paper demonstrates that mirative meanings can also be conveyed through certain aspectual constructions, specifically those that select event verbs. A detailed discussion of various aspectual constructions in diverging languages shows that progressive, perfect and perfective aspect markers often prompt mirative interpretations of surprise, novelty or incongruity. I claim that these mirative features are a consequence of the intrinsic association of these aspectual constructions with event verbs and the ‘phenomenal’ situations they refer to, i.e., situations that are susceptible to change. Such phenomenal situations lend themselves more naturally to mirative readings, as their occurrence and development at a certain point in time cannot be fully predicted.
Keywords: mirativity, aspect, progressive, perfect, perfective
Published online: 08 December 2017
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Cited by 4 other publications
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