Re: b-greek-digest V1 #661

From: Mari Broman Olsen (
Date: Fri Mar 14 1997 - 13:16:09 EST

Grammatical aspect focuses on the internal temporal constituency of a
situation; it is morphologically realized. Lexical aspect provides
that constituency. English example:

John was winning the race.
Tense: past
Lexical aspect: telic (bounded)
Grammatical aspect: imperfective (ongoing)

We can't tell from this sentence if the perfective eventually held
(John had won).

John was running (in the race).
Tense: past
Lexical apsect: atelic (unbounded)
Grammatical aspect: perfective (completed)

This sentence DOES entail the past perfective (John had run in the

One can also vary tense independent of lexical and grammatical aspect:
is winning, will be winning
is running, will be running

has won, will have won
has run, will have run

Of course, as Rolf notes, sometimes the term aspect is used to cover
lexical and grammatical aspect, as is Aktionsart. I agree, first
thing we do (is NOT kill all the lawyers, since I'm married to one),
is to separate tense (timen of an action/state), grammatical aspect
(view of an action/state) and lexical aspect (Aktionsart 'kind of

Mari Broman Olsen
Research Associate

University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies
3141 A.V. Williams Building
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

(301) 405-6754 FAX: (301) 314-9658


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