On the evolution of verbal aspect in insular Celtic

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One of the most characteristic features of the insular Celtic Languages is the development of a system of spatially based and periphrastically constructed aspectual distinctions. These formations have, however, been the subject of comparatively little rigorous analysis. This is unfortunate, for the investigation of such a system can provide insights into the nature of verbal aspect in general and illuminate our understanding of the manner in which such grammatical categories develop over an extended period of time. In this paper, we will look at the formal and functional evolution of introspective, retrospective and prospective formations within insular Celtic, attempt to identify systemic reasons for the emergence of these formations, explore the pattern and sequence of their development and suggest ways in which the evolution of this insular Celtic aspectual system can throw light on the evolution of grammatical categories in general.


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