Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000
188.8.131.52.2. The Aspectual Approach
Both the linguistic and philosophical literature have given a prominent role to Aspect (cf. Binnick 1991, Comrie 1976, Chung and Timberlake 1985 and Smith 1991 for overviews of the linguistic literature involving aspect). Of interest here is the aspectual information contributed lexically by the verb, known as Aktionsart (mode of action), and the role it has in argument realization. Aristotle’s taxonomy of verbal aspect was introduced in linguistics via the philosophical literature (Kenny 1963, Ryle 1949, and above all Vendler 1957). Some of the major recent linguistic contributions to the study of verbal lexical aspect are Bach (1986), Binnick (1991), Brinton (1988), Dowty (1979), Freed (1979), Grimshaw (1990), Krifka (1992), Mourelatos (1978), Parsons (1985, 1989), Pustejovsky (1991), Smith (1991), Tenny (1994), Verkuyl (1993), and for Spanish, Morimoto (1998).
Most taxonomies of verbs with regard to how they encode aspect lexically are based on Vendler’s four way classification of verbs into states, activities, accomplishments and achievements that was mentioned in the introduction. It has been only recently that verbal aspect has begun to be thought of as relevant for argument realization. In particular, Krifka’s use of homomorphisms from objects to events to relate the spatial boundedness of objects and the temporal boundedness of events has given rise to aspectual accounts of argument structure. Dowty’s incremental theme can be considered a step in that direction. Nevertheless, Carol Tenny (1987, 1992, 1994, and 1995a and 1995b for motion verbs) has presented the most developed theory of argument structure based on the aspectual properties of the verb. The central principle of her approach is the Aspectual Interface Hypothesis (AIH):
(5.29) Aspectual Interface Hypothesis: (Tenny 1994: 2)The universal principles of mapping between thematic structure and syntactic argument structure are governed by aspectual properties. Constraints on the aspectual properties associated with direct internal arguments, indirect internal arguments, and external arguments in syntactic structure constrain the kinds of event participants that can occupy these positions. Only the aspectual part of thematic structure is visible to the universal linking principles.
(5.30) a. Mary ran to the fence.
b. The five year old bounced downstairs.
c. Laura hiked to the top of the ridge.
d. The men sauntered across the street.
e. The wheelchair racers rolled across the finish line.
f. The rescue dog swam to the overturned boat
g. The women canoed to the border.
h. Erica drove from Colorado to Texas.
(5.31) Measuring-Out Constraint on Direct Internal Arguments (11):a. The direct internal argument of a simple verb is constrained so that it undergoes no necessary internal motion or change, unless it is motion or change which ‘measures out the event’ over time (where ‘measuring out’ entails that the direct argument plays a particular role in delimiting the event).
b. Direct internal arguments are the only overt arguments which can ‘measure out the event’.
c. There can be no more than one measuring out for any event described by a verb.
(5.32) The Terminus Constraint on Indirect Internal Arguments (68):a. An indirect internal argument can only participate in aspectual structure by providing a terminus for the event described by the verb. The terminus causes the event to be delimited.
b. If the event has a terminus, it also has a path, either implicit or overt.
c. An event as described by a verb can only have one terminus.
(5.33) The Non-Measuring Constraint on External Arguments:An external argument cannot participate in measuring out or delimiting the event described by a verb. An external argument cannot be a measure, a path or a terminus.
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Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000