[b-hebrew] VERBS

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Jul 27 11:07:03 EDT 2005

On 27/07/2005 15:06, Ken Penner wrote:

> ...
>>>>"All singing, all dancing" as a description of a product (e.g. 
>I am unclear about what the "singing" might refer to in this article, but I
>don't see that it excludes change or duration. Are you suggesting that when
>it "sings" nothing is happening? Or that it is instantaneous?

No, my point here is that the meaning here is stative rather than 
dynamic, because a disk drive is a essentially static product. OK, it 
rotates, but I don't think this movement is what "singing" is about here.

>>>>"'Is that true?" he asked. 'No', he continued"? (OK, it takes 
>>>>a finite 
>>>>time to utter even the short word "No", but very few of 
>>even the most 
>>>>punctiliar verbs are actually strictly instantaneous.)
>It seems to me that the event that is continued is the speech begun by the
>previous statement, "Is it true?" It extends the event to include the new
>statement, "No." One might argue that during the pause between the two
>statements, the speaker was not "continuing," but in that case the "No"
>would be a resumption, not a continuation of the speech. ...

Yes, this is a resumption rather than a continuation. Nevertheless, the 
verb "continue" is regularly used in this sense. That, I suppose, was my 
point, that the semantic domain of the verb "continue" is not entirely 
restricted to strictly durative senses.

>... It is true that in
>order for the continuation to be considered durative, the second part of the
>event must cover a span of time. One could continue blinking, but only if
>there was more than one blink. So the continuation is durative because the
>statement "No" covers a span of time, even if it is very short.
Well, in practice any event, even the single blink of an eye, takes a 
non-zero time. But the semantic concept of punctiliarity does not 
exclude this, but only suggests that the event is considered to be brief 
and indivisible. If you object that "No!" is divisible into two 
phonemes, replace it the continued (or resumed) speech by "Ah!" or "Mm!" 
which is one phoneme.

>>>>"She is always creating a fuss"?
>How do you interpret this one? Is there one "fuss" that is constantly in the
>process of being created but which never actually comes into existence, or
>several repeated "fusses" each coming into existence at a different time? I
>think the latter, in other words, "she repeatedly creates fusses." At the
>point the fuss exists, the event of creating has reached its telic point.
>One could argue that that once created, the fuss must be maintained for a
>span of time, thereby extending the telic point to a telic span. I am
>willing to consider that possibility. But creating is still a telic event;
>it is building up to something. Contrast a non-telic event, "He is always
>twiddling his thumbs."

Well, I see your point that there is some kind of telicity in the action 
of creating. But I am not sure that the fuss here is something really 
being created in this sense. Another example, which excludes the 
repetitive interpretation which I did not intend, might be "She has been 
creating a fuss for the last hour". Well, presumably the fuss has 
already started, so this excludes the normal interpretation of this kind 
of sentence with telic verbs that the telic point has not yet been 
reached - and that it will be reached at some point in the future if the 
action continues. And the alternative that she has been repeatedly 
creating separate things is ruled out by the singular "a fuss". So the 
Aktionsart here has become somewhat complex, which illustrates my point 
that extended and idiomatic senses of verbs don't follow rules that 
Aktionart is uncancellable.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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