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VerbsAspect and Causal Structure$
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William Croft

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248582.001.0001

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The aspectual structure of events

The aspectual structure of events

(p.31) 2 The aspectual structure of events

William Croft

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2, “The aspectual structure of events”, presents a fine-grained classification of aspectual types and introduces the two-dimensional geometric representation of aspectual structure. A verb denoting an event may belong to different aspectual types in different tense-aspect constructions; its range of types is its aspectual potential. Starting with Vendler’s four-way classification, additional aspectual types and alternative aspectual construals of events are introduced. The two-dimensional representation provides a systematic framework that accounts for the observed aspectual types. The first dimension is time (t), which is continuous (although some events are punctual). The second dimension are qualitative states (a) that the event goes through in time; the states may be discrete or continuous, when a scalar dimension is associated with the process. Aspectual structures are defined in terms of temporal phases that differ on the q dimension. One or more phases is profiled, and the remaining phases are part of the aspectual semantic frame of the event.

Keywords:   aspect, lexical aspect, Aktionsart, aspectual construal, (temporal) phase, profile, state, activity, achievement, accomplishment, English

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