Re: english DOES have grammaticalized aspect!

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Tue Mar 18 1997 - 12:52:55 EST

Mari Broman Olsen wrote:

>Imperfective is expressed in the BE V-ing forms and perfective in the
>HAVE V-ed forms. The reason the meanings (e.g. the conative) do not
>match across languages has more to do with the inventory of other
>forms available in a language, e.g. English also has unmarked forms
>(Carlota Smith's "neutral aspect"), viz. the simple past, present and
>the will V future. Also, I wouldn't say that Aktionsart (Smith's
>"situation aspect") is objective, but that it is inherently a property
>of the verb.

I does my heart good to hear a linguist say this... The idea that the only
the singular verb form can be grammaticalized is, as I said, too rigid a
concept in my mind.

I also agree wholeheartedly with the idea that if we call Aktionsart
"objective", that we understand that its because of the lexical meaning of
the verb/-al action.

Many of the things which have been discussed in these threads are the
reasons that I like Fanning's treatment of Verbal Aspect so much; I'd be
interested in hearing from some of the linguists on their reaction to Fanning.

Dale M. Wheeler, Th.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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