Cross-Linguistic Variation in the Processing of Aspect

  • Oliver BottEmail author
  • Fritz Hamm
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 44)


The present study investigates the cross-linguistic processing of aspect in English and German. Three self-paced reading experiments provide evidence that coercion of a (simple) past accomplishment into an activity reading causes processing difficulty in English (Experiment 1), but not in German (Experiments 2 and 3). We attribute this cross-linguistic difference to immediate aspectual specification in English, whereas we find delayed aspectual specification in German.


Grammatical aspect Aspectual coercion Non-monotonic inference English German 



We would like to thank Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, Barbara Hemforth, and Barbara Schmiedtová as well as two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft; furthermore Janina Radó for valuable suggestions on many issues of the present research and for her help in constructing the English experimental materials. We would also like to thank the audience at the AMLaP 2009 conference in Barcelona where this work was presented. The research was made possible by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to projects C1 of the SFB 441 (“Linguistic data structures”) and B1 of the SFB 833 (“The construction of meaning”) at the University of Tübingen. Last but not least, we would like to thank Stig Oppedal for proof reading the final version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Seminar für SprachwissenschaftUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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