Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity

Pier Marco Bertinetto and Alessandro Lenci

in The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity

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  • Linguistics
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Habituality, as commonly conceived, presupposes a more or less regular iteration of an event, such that the resulting habit is regarded as a characterizing property of a given referent. The notion of habituality is thus strictly related to iterativity, although the two should not be confused. This article describes the respective features of habituality and iterativity, and places them in the framework of the broader notion of “verbal pluractionality” on the one side, and of “gnomic imperfectivity” on the other. Pluractionality covers a variety of phenomena, including event-internal pluractionality and event-external pluractionality. This article proposes a set of criteria to distinguish habituality from iterativity within event-external pluractionality, and shows that the distinction depends on aspect. It also considers habituals and other gnomic imperfectives, the logical structure of gnomic sentences, and the spelling out of the precise interpretation of the gnomic operator, and, finally, examines habituality in English and Slavic languages.

Keywords: habituality; verbal pluractionality; imperfectivity; iterativity; event-external pluractionality; habituals; gnomic imperfectives; gnomic sentences; gnomic operator; Slavic languages

Article.  12907 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Semantics ; Pragmatics

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