Tense and Aspect: The contextual processing of semantic indeterminacy
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Abstract. This paper focuses on progressive aspect. Definitions of the progressive in various formal semantics frameworks, concerned essentially with the English be + V-ing form, provide a picture of the progressive as a single aspectual notion, a sort of universal primitive. Languages such as Spanish and others in the Romance family that have two progressive forms, one built with the verb of motion ir 'to go*, challenge the notion of a unique progressive perspective. We examine the semantics of the linear progressive form ir + gerund and contrast it with estar + gerund, not only with respect to truth conditions but also with respect to the lexical and contexual aspects that make ir + gerund better suited to describe certain situations. We introduce the notion of perspective in loose analogy with Asher (1992) and argue that the linear progressive describes more adequately those perspectives that select the asymmetries in an event. This observation is accounted for by the asymmetry inherent in the linear progressive relation, since the period of time for which the progressive is true is a sequence T = {tj < tj < ... <tn} rather than an interval lacking subdivisions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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