A Detailed Characterization of Aspectualizers — I: Begin and Start Compared

  • Alice F. Freed
Part of the Synthese Language Library book series (SLAP, volume 8)


There is a great temptation when studying an isolated segment of English grammar to consider independently the syntactic and semantic characteristics of the items under investigation. However, when the goal is to correlate syntactic and semantic properties of particular linguistic elements (here related to aspectualizers and their complement structures), these two types of information must be analyzed side by side. The theme of the next several chapters is a description of the nature and use of various aspectualizers with emphasis on the presupposition and consequence relations associated with the sentences in which the verbs appear. In addition, the interaction of these verbs with the event analysis presented in Chapter II is considered. These are essentially SEMANTIC questions. Yet, since all analysis presented herein assumes the existence of a context in which a given form can be analyzed, it is obvious that the SYNTACTIC shape of the various sentences studied will be an important part of the description. The characteristic structures in which each verb is found will thus be identified. As different forms occur in different contexts, we will be able to conclude that particular syntactic forms can be correlated with specific semantic features and further that particular verbs, because of their associated presupposition and consequence relations, occur in certain syntactic structures and not in others.


Deep Structure Versus Form Characteristic Activity Semantic Characteristic Chapter VIII 
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  1. 2.
    Elizabeth Riddle and Philip Tedeschi, ‘Some Aspects of Temporal Aspectual Verbs,’ 1974, LSA Winter Meetings, New York CityGoogle Scholar
  2. 2a.
    and Susan D. Fischer and Byron A. Marshall, The Examination and Abandonment of the Theqry of Begin of D. M. Perlmutter...’, 1969, Indiana Univ. Linguistics Circle.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    In Tense, Aspect and Con/unction: Some Inter-relations for English, Richard Kittredge (1970) takes a similar position and also calls ‘be... ing’ an imperfectivizing operator. This is consistent with the description of the progressive presented in Chapter I.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Lawler (1973) points out that a generic reading is harder to get in the present tense; this may explain why the V-ing form often occurs more comfortably than to V following a present tense verb form.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice F. Freed
    • 1
  1. 1.Montclair State CollegeMontclairUSA

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