This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."
Note: This is the re-issue of a previously published book.
Laurel Brinton's important study of the development of English aspectual systems provides an exceptionally clear and systematic account of an area of syntax and semantics that continues to be the subject of both terminological and notional confusion. Not only has the study of aspect been confused, but the variety of aspectual markers in English has also been unduly neglected. In this book Dr Brinton convincingly demonstrates the need to make clear distinction between 'aspect' and 'aktionsart' and betwen the aspectual meaning of individual forms and the meanings that result from the combination of verbs, auxiliaries, particles, and adverbs, as well as nominal arguments within a sentence. This exceptionally clear account of two sets of aspectual forms points to the coherence and systematicity of aspectual marking in Modern English. The wide range of theoretical issues explored makes this a significant contribution to the synchronic study of aspect and to the diachronic study of language change. The book will undoubtedly have applications cross-linguistically.