The interpretation of imperfective aspect in Basque and its implications for our traditional classification of verbs



Argitaratua 2013-04-13
Asier Alcázar


This paper addresses a paradox in the interpretation of verbal aspect in Basque. In Indo-European, imperfective and progressive forms coexist with overlapping interpretations. In French and Spanish, for example, both forms are used to express the progressive (Comrie 1976, Giorgi and Pianesi 1997). In contrast, the equivalent forms in Basque compete for interpretation. If available, simple imperfective forms block the progressive interpretation of compound imperfective forms, which then read unambiguously as habitual. This reading distribution supports habitual as an independent feature (Chierchia 1995, Cinque 1999). In addition, simple forms replace the progressive form. The two losing forms contain the verbal suffix -t(z)en, considered an imperfective aspect marker (Ortiz de Urbina 1989, Laka 1990). I propose that -t(z)en lacks semantic content and that the blocking effect derive from competition for affix insertion. My proposal accounts for the syntactic and morphosemantic idiosyncrasies of the data set, which had not received a principled explanation to date. The conclusions of this nalysis make it unnecessary to treat verbs with simple forms as a separate class, unlike the tradition in descriptive grammars of Basque.

Nola aipatu

Alcázar, Asier. 2013. «The Interpretation of Imperfective Aspect in Basque and Its Implications for Our Traditional Classification of Verbs». Anuario Del Seminario De Filología Vasca "Julio De Urquijo" 35 (2):511-29.
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