2 2 Lexical aspect and multiple incremental themes

John Beavers

in Telicity, Change, and State

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693498
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741715 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics

2 2 Lexical aspect and multiple incremental themes

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Aspectual properties of dynamic predicates such as telicity and durativity are often assumed to be partly determined by the expression of some privileged argument of the predicate called an ‘incremental theme’ where the progress of the event described by the predicate is measured by parts of the incremental theme. The chapter provides evidence that many if not all dynamic predicates actually have at least two incremental themes, namely some theme that undergoes the change described by the predicate and some scale that measures the change the theme undergoes, which stand in a mutually constraining relationship to the event. This chapter proposes a ternary Figure/Path Relation by which events are measured by the progress of subparts of the theme changing along subparts of the scale sharing a common goal. This analysis makes a number of key, novel predictions about the aspectual properties of dynamic predicates, and more accurately captures their truth-conditional content.

Keywords: lexical aspect; telicity; durativity; incremental theme; scales; change-of-state; homomorphism

Chapter.  17984 words. 

Subjects: Semantics

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