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Aktionsart, progressive aspect and underspecification
- Aktionsart, progressive aspect and underspecification
- Lee S.-A.
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- Linguistic Research
- vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 151 - 193
- Achievement; Aktionsart; Aspectual progressive; Aspectual type-shift; Progressive aspect; State; Underspecification
- Institute for the Study of Language and Information
- SCOPUS; KCI
- This paper focuses on aspectual progressives in English and accounts for the interaction of the progressive aspect and Aktionsart by treating verbs as lexically underspecified for stativity and punctuality. Since Vendler (1957), it has largely been assumed that state and achievement verbs are incompatible with progressives (e.g. *I am knowing the answer and *I am recognising a mistake). Yet, according to Dowty (1972, 1979), Mourelatos (1978), Bach (1981) and Biber et al. (1999), among others, there are progressives that are resistant to this line of analysis (e.g. We are living in London and John is dying). The present account reconciles these positions by proposing that verbs are partially underspecified for aspectual type in the lexicon. More specifically, the proposed account follows Van Valin & LaPolla (1997) in treating Vendler's (1957) verb classes in terms of bundles of binary-valued features, namely [±static], [±telic] and [±punctual]. However, unlike in Van Valin & LaPolla (1997), these features are not fully specified in lexical entries. States are lexically unspecified for the distinctive feature [static]. The feature [punctual], which characterises achievements, likewise remains unspecified in the lexicon. The key idea of the present account is that the value of any unspecified feature F is resolved once in a given context by the use of certain adverbials and so on. By invoking the notion of 'underspecification', it is possible to accommodate counterexamples to Vendler's (1957) claims.
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