Ashwini Deo

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195381979
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



Tense and aspect are used in at least two distinct ways in typological and semantic literature. In morphology, they refer to grammaticalized, obligatorily encoded distinctions that express temporal properties of situations. In semantics, tense and aspect refer to temporal properties that may or may not have a morphological reflex in a given language. This article deals with morphology and lays out the essential components of a morphologically grounded theory of tense and aspect. It looks at the key meanings in the tense/aspect domain and their formal expression, describes empirical generalizations about the ordering of tense/aspect markers in languages locating their source in semantic scope relations and diachronic change, and discusses the correlation between categorial form (inflectional vs. periphrastic) and categorial meaning observed in languages and its implications. Finally, the article illustrates morphological and semantic blocking as they figure in analyses of tense/aspect systems.

Keywords: tense; aspect; morphology; semantics; categorial meaning; blocking; categorial form; ordering; diachronic change; semantic scope relations

Article.  12743 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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