Lexical and Grammatical Aspect

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    The temporality of a given situation ‘out there in the world’ can be described in many ways. Tense and aspect offer the essential parameters. Lexical aspect characterizes event descriptions; a situation with a sleeping child can be referred to as a state of affairs (be asleep) or as a happening (sleep, wake up). Grammatical aspect imposes a perspective by focusing a particular time slice of a situation, such as the ongoing process (the baby was sleeping, mom was waking up the baby), the event as a whole (the baby slept, mom woke up the baby), or the resulting state (the baby has slept, mom has woken the baby up). Tense locates a situation at a certain time (was sleeping, is sleeping, will sleep).
    Temporality is thus determined by the three grammatical notions of lexical aspect, grammatical aspect and tense. Tense anchors the time of an event vis-à-vis a reference time, often the moment of speech. Aspect imposes one or more layers of temporal structure on the event time thus defining its temporal properties. Lexical aspect (also called “situation type”, “inner aspect”, “Aktionsart”) characterizes the temporal contour, while grammatical aspect (or “viewpoint aspect”) determines the temporal viewpoint on the run-time of the event. The grammatical expression of aspect varies enormously: while there are languages with one, a few or many types of aspectual markers, other languages have no dedicated aspect markers whatsoever. In some languages tense and aspect morphology is conflated. This crosslinguistic variation makes aspect an interesting domain of linguistic investigation and a wide variety of acquisition studies have investigated aspect development in children, raising questions about its universal versus language-specific properties. In this chapter I review the acquisition literature of lexical and grammatical aspect; tense is beyond its scope. Section 2 summarizes the fundamental generalizations and linguistic analyses of the two types of aspect, and presents the cross-linguistic variation in aspect expression which leads to issues of learnability. Section 3 presents the acquisition literature for lexical aspect, and section 4 does the same for grammatical aspect. Section 5 draws conclusions about the coverage of aspect acquisition research to date and presents an outlook on novel directions of research.
    Originele taal-2English
    TitelThe Oxford Handbook of Developmental Linguistics
    RedacteurenJeffrey Lidz, William Snyder, Joe Pater
    UitgeverijOxford University Press
    ISBN van geprinte versie978-0-19-960126-4
    DOI's
    StatusPublished - jul-2016

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