, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 335-380

The Syntax of Aspect in Thai

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This paper describes the syntax and semantics of the aspect system of Thai. Its interaction between linear order and scope has not been described in detail in the previous literature and its complexity makes it particularly relevant to discussions of the similarity of syntactic and semantic structures. It is argued that Thai presents challenges to some hypotheses about the interface between the syntax and semantics of semantic modifiers, in particular, Cinque’s (1999) hypothesis that the semantic structures of modifiers are isomorphic to the syntactic structures that express them, as well as Kayne’s (1994) Linear Correspondence Axiom. The syntax of aspect in Thai suggests that syntactic and semantic structures are independent levels of representation that are not mapped uniformly onto each other and that a functional category’s lexical entry must record both its part of speech and its combinatorial potential.

We gratefully acknowledge Pauline Jacobson, Jeff Runner, Mark Steedman and Steve Wechsler for comments on some of the material presented in this paper and Karin Michelson and Chris Phipps for comments on previous versions of this manuscript.