Progressive and Continuous Aspect

Christian Mair

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Progressive and Continuous Aspect

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Pragmatics


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All natural languages—whether or not they have a designated grammatical category conventionally referred to as “progressive” or “continuous”—can convey the idea that an event is progressing dynamically over a timeframe opened up by an utterance. This timeframe is variously known as the “event frame,” the “contextual occasion,” the “focalization point,” or the “topic time.” Periphrastic constructions will be included in the category of progressives if they display a medium-to-high degree of grammaticalization and routinization. Even in languages with fully grammaticalized progressives, there is no tidy correspondence between progressive aspectuality (as a semantic notion) and the progressive aspect (as a grammatical category). Closely related to the progressive is the continuous aspect.

Keywords: progressives; continuous aspect; event frame; timeframe; grammaticalization; routinization; progressive aspectuality; progressive aspect

Article.  10533 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Pragmatics

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