18. The role of grammar in the conceptualisation of ‘progression’

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In this chapter, we explore the universal and language-specific features of how we speak and think about dynamic temporal relations. Previous studies suggest that the availability of grammaticalised aspect affects temporal perspective-taking (e.g. Carroll, von Stutterheim, and Nüse 2004; von Stutterheim, Carroll, and Klein 2009). Adopting an experimental and crosslinguistic approach, the current chapter examines the role of grammar on Dutch and Japanese speakers’ understanding of the time course of events using the video clips of ongoing events. Results suggest that the interaction between the semantic characteristics of events and the grammatical inventory of language, rather than the sheer availability of grammaticalised aspect, may play an important role in speaker’s temporal perspective-taking in event descriptions.


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