Perfective and Imperfective Aspect

Jadranka Gvozdanović

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Perfective and Imperfective Aspect

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Semantics


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Situations may be conceptualized either as total, indivisible wholes, or by envisaging their internal constituency. The total view of situations takes into account the situations' boundaries, which are not conceptualized in the internal view of situations. These differences are ascribed to aspect, a multifaceted lexical and grammatical phenomenon with correlates at the level of discourse. It is mainly due to the complexity of these phenomena that no consensus on the kernel issues has yet been reached. This article examines grammatical aspect, with a primary focus on the distinction between perfectives and imperfectives in Slavic languages, partly in comparison with other European languages. It shows that the observed typological diversities can be accounted for in a straightforward way if the lexical and grammatical levels are kept apart consistently, and the layered structure of temporal phenomena is analyzed systematically. After discussing lexical aspect, the article describes aspectual derivation, internal versus external affixes, grammatical aspect, tense, temporal quantifiers, and verb prefixation.

Keywords: tense; perfectives; imperfectives; Slavic; lexical aspect; aspectual derivation; affixes; grammatical aspect; temporal quantifiers; verb prefixation

Article.  10086 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Semantics

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