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Summary Details

Query:   Summary: Aspect in Hindi
Author:  Srija Sinha
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Semantics

Summary:   Dear All,

A little more than a week back I had posted a query requesting information on literature on Hindi aspect (recent works, current approaches). A summary of the responses follows.

1. A downloadable paper on Hindi aspectual structure is available on Gillian Ramchand's website, to have a look at this paper go to scroll down and follow the link to the paper 'Complex Aspectual structure in Hindi/Urdu' by Miriam Butt and Gillian Ramchand. References cited in this paper provide a lot of information on the available literature on aspect.

2. Apart from syntactic and semantic approaches and analyses, aspectual systems have been analysed from the perspective of 'Grammaticalization'. I am grateful to Dr Harold F. Schiffman for a detailed response, and knowing no better way to express what was said in it, I have quoted and paraphrased parts of Dr Schiffman's response on the process of grammaticalization, and provided further links to this, below:

''The whole approach of Grammaticalization is that when a
language recruits lexical verbs or nouns and uses them to express grammatical categories, it's almost always a process that takes centuries to be completed, and some of the items will be more complete than others.
This allows for a kind of variability that is not sociolinguistic, but grammatical, and it also allows for polysemy and shows why there is phonological reduction.''
Grammaticalization can be seen as a metaphoric or metonymic process and some people prefer one over the other (i.e. metaphor or metonymy), however, both processes are the same in so far as they both involve the use of a verb of motion, e.g. to express 'futurity' or another verb
to express completion, etc. Further, this also helps explain why Indian languages
have verbs that are expressive of various kinds of 'attitude' about the
situation or the speaker or the action, e.g. verbs that lexically mean
'throw' or 'cast down' or 'drop down' to have some aspectual meaning, but
also are expressive about the speech situation. These are, believed to be less
grammaticalized than the others, and may always remain so. But
interestingly, they are also verbs of motion, though not common verbs like 'go' or 'come'.

Dr Schiffman teaches a course on grammaticalization and the interested readers can visit his website link
for details on this and for his own research and work on Tamil. Peter Hook's work on 'vector verbs' as quoted in Hopper and Traugott's book on Grammaticalization, are cited by Dr Schiffman, as a seminal work in the same area.

3. A model has been recently developed by Xiao and McEnery (2003), which builds on earlier work on English aspect and takes it further still. This work utilises distinctive features to attempt a decomposition into binary features of event structure, and it employs a two-tiered approach to Hindi aspect---taking into account lexical and sentential levels of aspect. This model has been successfully applied to corpus-based studies on aspect in Chinese and English. The reference to this paper is:
Xiao and McEnery, A.M. (2003). Aspect in Chinese, John Benjamins. Amsterdam. (forthcoming).

THanks to everyone for their responses/replies,
Kind Regards,

LL Issue: 14.1535
Date Posted: 29-May-2003
Original Query: Read original query


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