Tense and Aspect

Ronny Boogaart and Theo Janssen

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Tense and Aspect

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Semantics


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This article explores tense and aspect, focusing on the relation between them. It considers the principal issues of tense and aspect as they are discussed in the traditional literature and then looks at the specific contribution of cognitive linguistics in these areas. General cognitive linguistic issues addressed here in particular are the symbolic nature of tense and aspect, that is, as representing pairings of form and meaning, and the idea that meaning can be identified with conceptualization. First, the article deals with the question of which elements can be considered to be tense forms and subsequently what meaning these forms signal and how they do it. It then considers Hans Reichenbach's proposed system of nine tenses, each encoding a temporal relation of the time of the event with respect to the point of reference and a temporal relation of the point of reference with respect to the time of speech.

Keywords: Hans Reichenbach; tense; aspect; cognitive linguistics; form; meaning; temporal relation; event; point of reference; speech

Article.  10892 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Semantics

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