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Aspect across languages: divergence and convergence

Organisers: Andrea Schalley and Helen Arnot, Griffith University

The level of complexity and importance of aspectual systems in languages, compounded by the diversity of approaches to representing aspect, make aspect an extremely interesting topic for discussion. In this workshop, we would like to engage in this discussion from a cross-linguistic perspective. Although many authors have thoroughly addressed and investigated issues surrounding aspect, there still remains a lack of uniformity in regard to the theoretical notion of aspect (Beavers, 2008, in press; Borer, 2005; Comrie, 1976; de Swart, 1998; Dowty, 1979; Filip, 2008; Klein, 1994; Krifka, 1998; Vendler, 1967, amongst others). Aspect can roughly be delimited as describing the speaker’s perspective on the internal organisation of an action, event or state, which not only covers temporal perspectives, but might also include characteristics such as progressive, habitual, repetition, momentary, bounded, perfective etc. (Bybee, Perkins, & Pagliuca, 1994; Dahl, 1985; Smith, 1997; Talmy, 2000; Verkuyl, 1993).

Topics of interest in this workshop include but are not limited to:
  • definitions and classifications of aspectual notions;
  • diachronic perspectives on aspect;
  • aspectual coding in specific languages, i.e. single-language treatments of aspect;
  • comparisons of aspect across different languages.
We particularly invite contributions that focus on the premise that aspectual categories reflect conceptual structures and which make these structures explicit. In addition, we welcome analytical and comparative studies of aspect across languages as well as discussions and presentations that help to clarify the current knowledge base of aspect terminology. Authors with problematic and non-standard examples as well as with work in progress are encouraged to contribute.

A session on aspect in Australian languages is envisaged to be held jointly with the workshop The verbal systems of Australian languages.

Program Committee
Helen Arnot, Griffith University, Australia
John Beavers, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Östen Dahl, University of Stockholm, Sweden
Stefan Engelberg, Institute for the German Language (IDS) Mannheim, Germany
Hana Filip, University of Düsseldorf, Germany
Mark Harvey, University of Newcastle, Australia
Beth Levin, Stanford University, USA
Robert Mailhammer, University of Western Sydney, Australia
Rachel Nordlinger,
University of Melbourne , Australia
Andrea Schalley, Griffith University, Australia
Ruth Singer, University of Melbourne, Australia

Beavers, J. (2008). Scalar complexity and the structure of events. In J. Dölling, T. Heyde-Zybatow, and M. Schäfer (Eds.), Event Structures in Linguistic Form and Interpretation, 245–267. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Beavers, J. (in press). Lexical aspect and multiple incremental themes. In V. Demonte and L. McNalley (Eds.), Telicity And Change Of State In Natural Language: Implications For Event Structure. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Borer, H. (2005). The Normal Course of Events. Structuring Sense (Vol. II). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bybee, J. L., Perkins, R. D., & Pagliuca, W. (1994). The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect, and Modality in the Languages of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Comrie, B. (1976). Aspect: An Introduction to the Study of Verbal Aspect and Related Problems. Cambridge: University Press.

Dahl, Ö. (1985). Tense and Aspect Systems. London: Blackwell.

de Swart, H. (1998). Aspect shift and coercion. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 16: 347–385.

Dowty, D. R. (1979). Word Meaning and Montague Grammar: The Semantics of Verbs and Times in Generative Semantics and in Montague's PTQ. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Filip, H. (2008). Events and maximalization. In S. Rothstein (Ed.), Theoretical and Crosslinguistic Approaches to the Semantics of Aspect, 217–256. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Klein, W. (1994). Time in Language. London: Routledge. Krifka, M. (1998). The origins of telicity. In S. Rothstein (Ed.), Events and Grammar, 197–235. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Smith, C. S. (1997). The Parameter of Aspect. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Talmy, L. (2000). Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Vendler, Z. (1967). Linguistics in Philosophy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Verkuyl, H. J. (1993). A Theory of Aspectuality: The Interaction between Temporal and Atemporal Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.