Prototype Theory and Hebrew Tense/Aspect

Joe A. Friberg JoeFriberg at
Tue Dec 14 18:52:56 EST 1999

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Washburn" <dwashbur at>
Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 1999 4:34 PM

<re: randall buth's statement>
> > as for aspect and tense, they are both semantic categories, and to be
> > distinguished from the lexically bound semantics of 'kind of action'.
> > semantics, of course, must be integrated to syntax and surface
> >  in order to have any linguistic relevancy for a particular language.

<washburn commented:>
> "Of course"?  Once again we seem to be assuming what we're
> setting out to prove,  otherwise known as circular reasoning.
> Semantics do indeed need to be integrated into syntax and surface
> structures, but the key phrase there is "surface structures."
> Seeking to determine the force of a particular syntactic feature
> necessarily takes us well below surface structure, so the
> statement is correct but irrelevant.

I do not follow: in what way are syntactic features not surface structures?
I know the Generative terms of deep structure/vs. surface structure, but
even then, there is a surface structure to syntax.

I would consider the real distinction between surface structure and
semantics to be between the forms that are found in the text, and the
meaning/function that they have in conveying the message.

In this regards, surface structure is found at many levels:
discourse structures above the sentence

I interpret buth's statement as saying that 'kind of action' is lexically
bound to particular morphemes, but that aspect and tense are bound at higher
levels to higher structures.

I might also ask, is not there meaning associated with the structure of

Joe Friberg

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