The perfective/imperfective distinction

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I defend an aspectual operator approach of the perfective/imperfective distinction against a coercion approach, as, for example, proposed for French by de Swart (1998). I propose an analysis that follows de Swart on many points, but keeps temporal and aspectual contributions separate. I argue that such an analysis has a larger cross-linguistic coverage than one that combines the two in a single operator. The argumentation is based on the aspectual system of Ancient Greek, but holds for any language in which temporal and aspectual information are encoded in separate morphemes, and in which the opposition perfective/ imperfective is not restricted to the past tense. In addition, I show that a coercion analysis is problematic for French as well.


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