Imperfectivity and complete events

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Imperfectivity is cross-linguistically associated with the subinterval property and a modal component induced by the famous ‘imperfective paradox’. These properties arguably hold for both the progressive and habitual-iterative readings. However, both in Romance and Slavic, the imperfective may also refer to complete events instantiated in the world of evaluation: the so-called <i>Imparfait narratif </i>in French and the <i>Factual Imperfective </i>in Russian. I propose an analysis of viewpoint aspect in terms of temporal inclusion relations between the event time and the assertion time. Importantly, however, the source of the two complete event readings in question are quite different inasmuch as the Russian imperfective is unmarked and is used whenever the marked perfective aspect is inappropriate, while the French <i>Imparfait </i>is marked. This means that the French <i>Imparfait </i>retains its meaning of contemporaneity even when it has a complete event interpretation.


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