LINGUIST List 11.508

Thu Mar 9 2000

Books: Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <scottlinguistlist.org>


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  1. R.J.U. Boogaart, Syntax/Semantics/Pragmatics: Aspect and temporal ordering

Message 1: Syntax/Semantics/Pragmatics: Aspect and temporal ordering

Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2000 15:34:02 +0100
From: R.J.U. Boogaart <rju.boogaartlet.vu.nl>
Subject: Syntax/Semantics/Pragmatics: Aspect and temporal ordering


Aspect and temporal ordering:
A contrastive analysis of Dutch and English

The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics

For ordering information: contact the author at
rju.boogaartlet.vu.nl


It is well known that grammatical tense and aspect, as well
as Aktionsart, all play a role in determining the
interpretation of temporal relations, both in sentence
grammar and across sentences in discourse. The precise way
in which these factors interact, however, is very complex.
This book examines the issue and concludes that grammatical
aspect is primary in imposing semantic constraints on
temporal interpretation, though without fully determining
it.

Approaching the issue from a contrastive viewpoint, this
study provides a detailed analysis of the ways in which
perfective and imperfective aspect are expressed in English
and in Dutch. In addition to showing how perfect and
progressive verb forms express aspect, it also tackles
certain problems posed by unmarked simple tenses. It is
shown that the aspectual interpretation of these tenses is
systematic and predictable, given an understanding of the
contribution of Aktionsart and discourse type.

The contrastive approach taken here also sheds new light on
two hotly debated issues within the domain of temporal
ordering in discourse, namely the interpretation of tenses
in complement clauses (sequence of tenses) and the so-called
reverse-order phenomenon. A unified analysis is proposed for
both problems, formulated in terms of aspect and the
distinction between narrative and non-narrative discourse.

The study should be of interest to anyone concerned with the
syntax, semantics, or pragmatics of tense and aspect, and
more generally to anyone concerned with the interface
between semantics and pragmatics.
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