Aspect by BwuGZ5

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									         Tense and Aspect: Preliminaries
                           Laura Michaelis
                           Linguistic 7800
                              Fall 2005


Questions

1. What is the difference between tense and aspect?
2. What is the relationship between tense and aspect?
3. What is the conceptual basis of aspect?
4. Is English an aspect language?
5. What is the relationship between grammatical aspect and verbal
   aspect?
6. What do aspectual markers do?
7. What is generic aspect?

1. What is the difference between tense and aspect?

     A. Tense as a deictic category. Hans Reichenbach (1949)
        proposes that tense is not fundamentally a relation between
        the time of speech and the time of an event or situation,
        but rather a relation between speech time (S) and reference
        time. Only in the case of relative tenses are event time
        (E) and reference time R split apart:

       Past Tense:    E, R…S
       Past Perfect   E…R…S

     B. Aspect vs. tense. Pancake/plate analogy

     (1)    C’est la petite Cavinet! En remontant, tout à l’heure,
     je l’ai aperçue qui
       It‟s (pres) the little Cavinet! In coming up (prp), a
     minute ago, I her have seen
       se faisait embrasser par le fils Martinez dans le garage à
     velos!
       herself made (imp) kiss (inf) by the son Martinez in the
     shed for bikes

       “It‟s the Cavinet girl. While coming upstairs, just a
       minute ago, I saw her getting kissed (lit.„who was making
       herself kissed‟) by the Martinez boy in the bike shed.”
       (Binet, Les Bidochon 3, p. 10)

2. What is the relationship between tense and aspect?
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  A. The imperfective-perfective distinction exists only in the
     past tense.

  B. In English, a reporting interpretation is not available for
     the simple present tense when the situation is an event:

    (2)   #Look! Harry runs by the house!
    (3)   #They build a new Walgreen‟s on that corner.

         The present is conceived of as a moment.
         An event cannot be said to hold at a single moment
          alone.

3. What is the conceptual basis of aspect?
  A. The event-state distinction.

    Imperfectively described situations (also known as states)
   obtain throughout the interval at issue, possibly overflowing
   the boundaries of that interval.
    Perfectively  described   situations  (i.e.,  events)   are
   bounded insofar as they terminate within the relevant
   interval. To report the occurrence of an event is to report
   its cessation.

  B. Direction of inclusion (Partee 1984). Observation: states
     „leak‟ out of the reference time for which they are
     asserted to hold; events are contained within their
     reference times:

    (4) Harry turned around. Marge was happy.
    (5) A water balloon hit the pavement near his feet. He was
    soaking wet.


4. Is English an aspect language?
  A. English appears to lack the event-state distinction.

  The attempt to transfer the category of ‘aspect’
  from Slavonic to Germanic, and from there to Modern
  English grammar, strikes one as an instance of
  misdirected ingenuity. (Zandvoort 1962:19)
                                                             3


English has no morphological expression of the event-state
distinction, unlike French and Latin, etc. The progressive
cannot be used to translate the French imparfait:

  (6)        Ils avaient des lacets, les préhistoriques?
        They had (imp) some shoelaces, the prehistorics?
        “They had shoelaces, prehistoric people?”
        “*They were having shoelaces, prehistoric people?”
        (Binet, Les Bidochon 2, p. 30)

B. But    the   event-state    distinction  has    grammatical
   consequences. The grammatical behaviors can be used as
   diagnostics for the event-state distinction (some of these
   are more reliable than others):


     Test 1. If one can report the situation by means of the
      simple present tense, then it is a state. A state with a
      temporal bound specified is not a state:

      (7)    #She lives in Boulder for three years.

     Test 2. The when-clause test (Vlach 1981):

      (8)      When the phone rang, she was asleep.
      (9)      When the phone rang, she got up.

     Test 3. Extensibility.

      (10) She liked cats then and she still does.
       (11)  #She adopted a cat then and she still does.

     Test 4. Spatial and temporal location.

      (12)          Where did you see her?
      (19)     #Where did you like cats?
      (20)     At what point did you leave?
      (21)     ?At what point did you like cats?

     Test 5. Iteration.

      (22)          He spoke up four times.
      (23)          ?He preferred red wine four times.
                                                                                                    4


5. How do              grammatical              aspect            and         lexical    aspect
interact?
  A. Aspect first comes to the attention of English-speaking
     linguists through a set of distinctions referred to as
     AKTIONSARTEN. Aktionsart is typically defined as „inherent
     lexical aspect‟.



                                        Situat ion Ty p es




                                  Ep iso d ic                Stat ic



              Stat e chan ge               N o stat e chan ge



    Effected                 Mani fested
    A ccom plishm en t s     Achiev eme n ts                  A ctivi ties         S tates
    S he fixed th e fence.   S he fell down .                 S he skipped.        S he wa s sad.
                        Figure 1. The Aktionsart classes

States
Verbs of EXISTENCE (exist, live, remain); PROPERTY ATTRIBUTION/LOCATION
(copula + XP), verbs of PERCEPTION (see, hear, feel); POSSESSION
(own, possess), NEED (need, want); EMOTION (love, prefer); COGNITION
(remember, understand); BELIEF (believe, know, doubt).

Activities
Verbs of DIRECTED MOTION (walk, follow, run); POSTURE (sit, stand,
lie); MOTION (shiver, wiggle); LIGHT/SOUND EMISSION (shine, rumble);
CONVERSATION (argue, speak, discuss, converse); USE (eat, read, use,
enjoy); PATTERN EXECUTION (dance, exercise); DIRECTED PERCEPTION
(monitor, watch); COGNITION (consider, ponder).

Achievements
MENTAL EVENTS (realize, forget); SEMELFACTIVE EVENTS (cough, tap,
blink); SOCIO-PHYSICAL TRANSITIONS (die, collapse, win, lose);
MANIFESTATIONS (appear, disappear); boundary crossings (enter,
exit, arrive, depart); POSTURE CHANGES (sit down, stand up, lie
down, wake up); ACTION ENGAGEMENT (start, stop, finish).
                                                                  5


Accomplishments
Verbs of LOCATION CHANGE (go, bring, take); TRANSFER (teach, give,
load, tell); REMOVAL (remove, steal, strip); CREATION (make, build,
create, destroy); COVERAGE (do, memorize, learn, saturate, cover),
CAUSATION OF RESULT (fix, repair, smash).



  B. The array of participant roles will influence whether a
     situation is an event or a state.

            *see
     (24) I saw  a flash.
                 
            see
     (25) I saw the Flatirons.
               
            *remember 
     (26) I remembered to put the cat out.
                      
            remember  
     (27) I remembered the time we all went to Vail.
                      

  C. The type of a nominal complement will determine TELICITY (a
     notion belonging to a classification of event types).

                               *in
     (28) They flew over water for an hour.
                                  
                           in  
     (29) They sang a song *for ten minutes.
                               

  D. Aktionsarten can be represented as causal structures
     (Dowty, Vendler, Van Valin, Croft) or temporal structures
     (Talmy, Bickel).

           Aktionsart Class      Temporal
                                 Representation
           State                 
           Homogeneous           
           activity
           Heterogeneous         
           activity
           Achievement           
           Accomplishment        

    Table 1. Temporal    representation (based on Bickel 1997)
                                                                     6




Aktionsart Class           Causal Representation

State                      [x <STATE> ] e.g., seem

Homogeneous                [x   HOLD   [x <STATE>]] e.g., sleep
activity
Heterogeneous              [x   REPEAT   [x <EVENT>]] e.g., skip
activity
Achievement                [INGR [x <STATE>]] e.g., sink

Accomplishment             BECOME   [x <STATE>]]] e.g., go home

Active                     [x REPEAT [x <EVENT>]] & BECOME [x or y
accomplishment             <STATE>]]] e.g., run to the store
Causative                  A CAUSE B, where A and B are Aktionsart
                           representations of any type e.g., scare
                           the children

        Table 2. Causal   representation (based on Van Valin 2001)



6. What do aspectual markers do?
    A.    Basic principles

        Principle 1. Grammatical aspect (also know as viewpoint
         aspect) encodes speaker viewpoint by selecting components
         of the aspectual representation of the verb.

A theory of aspectual selection            (Bickel 1997)

The viewpoint aspects pick a component within the Aktionsart
representation of a verb. The components are phase ( and
endpoint (). An imperfective operator can only pick an
imperfective phase. A perfective operator can only pick a
perfective phase.

   States must be represented as [Il a été président.
   How would this theory account for the ambiguity of (32) (p.
    76)?
                                                                  7


   The following representation is generally proposed for the
    verb enter:

    enter’ (x,y)   BECOME   inside’ (x,y) ]

   Based upon the meaning of She was entering the room, Bickel
    argues that ] cannot be the correct representation for
    enter.
   Instead, he argues for the representation ].
   Why?

       Principle 2. There are numerous grammatical devices used by
        speakers to perform shifts of inherent (verbal) aspect.
        Almost   every   language   has   both   periphrastic   and
        inflectional type shifters.

       Principle 3. Aspectual type shifting can either be IMPLICIT
        or EXPLICIT (De Swart 1998). Implicit type-shifting is also
        called coercion.

       Principle 4. Aspectually sensitive markers, like the
        imperfective and perfective tenses of French, may either
        reflect verbal aspect or (implicitly ) shift it. This means
        that an „aspectual marker‟ may be a tense—or anything else,
        for that matter—that selects for an aspectual category!

       Principle 5 (a corollary of Principle 4). Form and function
        are distinct. When a linguist refers to a tense as nonpast,
        as Comrie (1976: Ch. 4) does when he calls the Russian
        future a „perfective nonpast‟, be wary. The linguist is
        confusing form and function. The form of the inflection is
        simply present tense. The function is that of denoting a
        future event, via coercion: the resolution of semantic
        conflict between the perfective stem and the present-tense
        inflection.

       Principle 6. The means of grammatical expression of an
        aspectual category will be determined by the coercion
        potential of each aspectually sensitive marker in that
        language. Coercion potential is in turn determined by the
        system of functional oppositions in the language. For
        example, Romance languages have a marginal progressive, and
        use the present tense to coerce „ongoing right now‟
        readings of event verbs. English has a robust progressive
        and accordingly does not use the present tense to coerce
                                                                  8


    „in process‟ readings of event verbs.       English   lacks   a
    future tense. What does it do about that?

   Principle 7. Some languages lack tense, but no language
    lacks the means by which to distinguish a situation that
    overlaps a reference time from one that does not overlap
    reference time.

B. Reflecting situation aspect

    Ils avaient des lacets, les préhistoriques?
    They had (imp) some shoelaces, the prehistorics?
    “They had shoelaces, prehistoric people?”
    “*They were having shoelaces, prehistoric people?”
    (Binet, Les Bidochon 2, p. 30)

C. Shifting situation aspect

    C‟est quand je suis passé devant le magasin! Il y avait un
    type qui faisait une démonstration pour aguicher la
    clientèle.
    “It‟s when I went past the store. A guy was doing (imperf)
    a demonstration to rope in customers.” (Binet, Les Bidochon
    8, p. 14)

D. Explicit vs. implicit type-shifting

   Implicit.   The process of composition interpolates a
    “coercing function” G to create instead the structure
    F(G(X)), where X is a suitable argument for G, and G(X) is
    a suitable argument for F.

    (30) She fell asleep in one hour.
    (31)      She was bored in a minute.

    (32)      I visited there twice.
    (33)      I was depressed twice.

    (34) Mais pendant quinze ans j’ai cru que j’étais un
    superman, moi!
         “But for fifteen years I thought (perf) I was a
            superman!”
         (Binet, Les Bidochon 13, p. 17).

   Explicit: phasal aspect. Phasal aspect is only used for
    type shifts involving the categories EVENT and STATE. Phasal
    aspects (known as superlexical aspect by Smith 2001)
                                                                                               9


    express     a      phase    of        a    given        REFERENCE      SITUATION   and   are
    PERIPHRASTIC:

    (35) a.   He is about to leave.
         b.   She is beginning to fix it.
         c.   We are playing cards.
         d.   She finished running at noon.
         e.   They have left.

                                    referenc e s ituation
                                                                          time




         prospective    inceptive       progressive         terminative      perfect
         state          event           state               event            state

                          Figure 2. Phasal Aspects

C. Three aspectual subsystems.

Aspectual           Semantic basis              Function            Example of
Class                                                               Morphological
                                                                    Realization

Viewpoint           The event-state             Tense               Perfective tense (as
Aspect              distinction                                     in Latin)

Situation           Set of                      NA                  NA
Aspect              idealized
(Aktionsart)        situations

Phasal Aspect       The event-state             Type                Progressive aspect
                    distinction                 shifting            (as in English)

Table 3: Three Aspectual Subsystems


7. What is generic aspect?
A. Generic aspect is not a form but a construal based on context.
   There is probably no inflection in any language that is
   uniquely dedicated to the expression of generic (as opposed to
   episodic) meaning.
B. Generic meaning is typically recognizable as such because of:
                                                                10


    Mismatch between verbal Aktionsart and tense inflection:
     present-tense inflection is most highly correlated with
     generic meaning.
    The presence of plural or mass arguments.
C. Bare nominal expressions are intimately connected with the
   expression of generic meaning. Bare NPs appear in both kinds
   of generic sentences, characterizing and kind-referring, as
   well as in episodic contexts:

      (36) a. Kind reference: Potatoes were first cultivated
              in South America. (true only of the collective
              and not any of its members individually)
           b. Characterizing: Potatoes are rich in vitamin C.
              (true of any given potato)
           c. Existential: Potatoes rolled out of the bag.

C. There are two basic analyses of bare nouns (mass and plural):

   Carlson (1977): bare plurals are held to refer only to
    kinds, with existential interpretations ('specimens of the
    kind') being imposed by episodic interpretations of verbs.
   Gerstner-Link & Krifka (1993): bare plurals are ambiguous
    between a kind-referring reading and instance-referring
    reading that is essentially the plural of an indefinite NP
    (an existential reading).

D. Support for the Carlson proposal. Evidence indicating that
  bare NPs are basically kind-denoting comes from the fact that
  they are often required to have narrow scope relative to
  intentional and other operators, as opposed to indefinite NPs,
  which can go either way:

      (37) Minnie wants to talk to a psychiatrist.
      (38) Minnie wants to talk to psychiatrists.
           (no possibility of wide-scope existential here)

E. Support for the Gerstner-Link & Krifka proposal. Anaphoric
   binding phenomena suggest that bare NPs may be vague rather
   than ambiguous with respect to the kind-instance distinction.
   Notice (39):

      (39) At the interplanetary congress, Martians claimed
           to [PRO to be almost extinct]

  The reader has to invoke both the existential reading of
  Martians and the kind reading, the latter of which is the
  reconstruction of PRO.
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