On the Compositional Nature of the Aspects

Dordrecht, Netherlands: D.Reidel Publishing Company (1972)
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Abstract

This study aims to make for a better understanding of the term 'Aspects' in linguistic theory. Its most current application is found in studies on Slavonic languages. In the abundant literature on the contrast between the Durative (or Imperfective) Aspect and the Nondurative (or Perfective) Aspect, their occurrence has been taken to be restricted to Slavonic and some other languages, generally speaking to languages whose Verbal systems are morphologically characte.rized with regard to this opposition. The central hypothesis of transformational-generative theory that a dis- tinction should be made between the deep structure and the surface structure of a language, entails the possibility for morphological systematicity to be nothing more than a manifestation of a general or even universal re- gularity expressed, for example, in the syntactic component of grammers of other languages. It will be shown in this study that the opposition between the two Aspects is present in Dutch, and as can be seen from the translated material, also in English, and that it should be described as the expression of regularities of a primarily syntactic-semantic nature.

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Henk J. Verkuyl
Utrecht University

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