Hadil Karawani – Aspect

This course offers an overview of theoretical and crosslinguistic approaches to aspect.

Research on aspect in linguistics traditionally concerns itself with the different ways of viewing the internal temporal constituency of a situation (as opposed to the temporal location of a situation with which the study of tense is concerned). We will discuss issues relating to time and events that help distinguish aspect from tense, pointing to cases where the distinction is difficult as tense is sometimes determined by aspect. We will also be talking about whether modality plays a role for the semantics of aspect.

i. We will look at lexical aspect: the meaning of the verbs themselves, how they are classified, and how they interact with internal objects and adverbs to produce VPs that are marked for telicity, atelicity, iterativity, genericity, or atomicity;

ii. As different languages/ language families make different choices as to which distinctions are expressed, we will look at crosslinguistic distinctions of grammatical aspect: the inflectional VP-external material, such as perfect, perfective, imperfective, progressive, prospective, and habitual;

iii. Finally, we will turn our attention to discuss philosophical questions as to whether aspectual operators introduce perspective and intensionality. 

More elaborate syllabus with readings