Tense and aspect

Robert I. Binnick
Table of contents

All languages contain grammatical markers of tense and/or aspect (MTAs). Linguists who analyze tense and aspect from a functional point of view may define the meanings of MTAs in cognitive terms (Janssen 1996) or in terms of their discourse functions (Benveniste 1959; Weinrich 1964; Waugh 1975, 1991; Hopper 1979, 1982), and do not necessarily view their use and interpretation as dependent in the first instance on their semantics, as do the majority of linguists studying tense and aspect, who adopt a formal point of view from which tense and aspect are seen as basically referential categories.

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