Article

Typology of Tense, Aspect, and Modality Systems

Ferdinand de Haan

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199281251
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199281251.013.0021

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Typology of Tense, Aspect, and Modality Systems

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This article is concerned with the notions of tense, aspect, and modality from a typological point of view. It provides an overview of the major areas of ongoing research and also a description of where the three areas overlap or not. The semantic category of tense is usually defined as the linguistic representation of time. There are three absolute tenses: present, past, and future. The category of aspect tells how the action unfolds. The area of modality is concerned with notions such as obligation and necessity, possibility and permission, and volition and ability. The perfect is characterized as a past event with relevance to the present. The status of subjects of modal sentences and the phenomenon of split ergativity are investigated. The semantic map model is beneficial compared with other representational methods.

Keywords: tense; aspect; modality; typology; linguistic representation; split ergativity; modal sentences; semantic map

Article.  7684 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Linguistic Typology ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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