Perfective, Imperfective, and Iterative

Mark Wilson emory2oo2 at
Tue May 28 08:46:44 EDT 2002


You wrote:

>   2) The so-called "lexical aspect" is normally not applied to single 
>verbs but to verb phrases. The more factors (here there are several words 
>and their relationships) that possibly can account for a characteristic, 
>the more difficult it is to connect the characteristic with just *one* 

Correct me where I am wrong.

I have not found this to be the case. Rather, "lexical aspect"
is ONLY applied to a SINGLE WORD/LEXEME.

Using the verb "run" for example, we can see how +DURATIVITY is
its semantical (uncancellable) lexical aspect, even if we use
it as part of a +TELIC phrase.

To see a verb's semantical lexical aspect, you have to consider it
in a vacuum, all by itself with no other grammatical intrusions.
I use the word "aspect" to denote INHERENT PROPERTIES. (For
example, the words you list DURATIVITY, TELIC, DYNAMICITY, STATE
are what I call Lexical Aspect.)

"Run" regardless of context, morphological features, modifiers, etc.,
will always denote a +DURATIVE aspect.

"I run." (Here, "run" is +DURATIVE.)

"I run a lap now and then." (Here, "run" remains +Durative,
but the PHRASE "run a lap" is +TELIC. But overall, you have the sense
of "I run for the duration of a lap now and then.")

One can not change "run" into a -DURATIVE action.

Now, when "run" is used with an imperfective FORM, perfective FORM,
or a stative FORM, you will have the SAME +DURATIVITY of the verb,
but WHERE the author/writer wants to FOCUS the readers' attention
is now brought to bear. These FORMS I call Grammatical Aspect.

Imperfective forms are Present and Imperfect.
Perfective forms are Aorist, Future, and Pluperfect.
Stative form is the Perfect.

So that, we might have this:

1. run plus imperfective: focus on this action IN PROGRESS
2. run plus perfective: focus on this action AS A WHOLE, IN SUMMARY
3. run plus stative: focus on the AFTERMATH/RESULTS of this action

Am I right in thinking that you disagree with Olsen on the issue
of Lexical Aspect?

Grammatically, what is your definition of ASPECT?

And what terms do you use to denote what I am calling:

Lexical Aspect
Grammatical Aspect


Mark Wilson

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