Tense and Aspect: The contextual processing of semantic indeterminacy
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Abstract. In this paper two paradigms of four Dutch adverbials are discussed, the first consisting of al ('already'), al niet meer ('already no longer'), nog altijd ('still always'), and nog altijd niet ('still always not'), the second of eindelijk ('finally'), eindelijk niet meer ('finally no longer'), al bijna ('already almost') and al bijna niet meer ('already almost no longer'). These are expressions of aspectual focus in that the actual course of events is inherently opposed to possible alternatives and evaluated as slower or faster than expected. A two-dimensional graphical representation is provided for each adverbial. The relationships between the eight representations are captured in terms of five binary parameters. Each adverbial thus corresponds to a bit-string of five binary values. The various relations of opposition or negation between these eight adverbials are then defined in terms of switching bit-values. The proposed analysis rejects the duality-relationship posited between al ('already') and nog ('still'). Together with nog niet ('not yet') and niet meer ('no longer') the latter constitutes an independent paradigm of continuity-expressions fundamentally different from the focus-paradigms around al. Furthermore, basic duality notions of internal and external negation are insufficient to adequately capture the various types of negation involved in aspectual focus.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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