Interactions Between Lexical, Temporal and Aspectual Meanings
In my paper a universal aspect theory is presented which is based on the integration of the various types of states of affairs into the textual web of descriptions of situations and changes in situations. The states of affairs are thereby grouped according to their boundary characteristics. The grammatical meaning of the verbal aspect interacts with the lexical meaning of a given verb in group-specific ways, so that the kind of interaction in the case of a given aspect opposition can be used in order to classify verbs. In addition to the Slavic aspect opposition of perfective vs. imperfective, the aspectual systems of English, Modern Greek and the Romance languages are taken into consideration. The interaction between aspect and tense as well as the interaction within the aspect dimension itself, which plays a role if a language has more than one aspect category, is also discussed. The perfective imperfect and the imperfective aorist of Bulgarian are given as examples of problematic cases, along with the functions of the ing-form of the perfect in English. Generally the problem of the coming together of more than one aspect gram-meme in one verb form is solved by means of a hierarchization, which can be deduced from the particular interaction meaning in question. The grouping of verbs into aspect-sensitive semantic classes is only stable in the centre of the classes, but we find language-specific peculiarities on their peripheries. In addition, regroupings are also possible in the course of the development of a language.
Published online: 01 January 1994
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