, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 359-401
Date: 02 Jul 2008

A feature-theoretic account of tense and aspect in Russian

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Abstract

This paper offers an analysis of Tense and Aspect as temporal predicates with complex interpretable content represented as grammatical and abstract semantic features. Building on Klein (1995) and Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria (2000), it is proposed that although Tense and Aspect are distinct grammatical categories they both express a relation that can be characterized as (non)-coincidence. Tense expresses (non)-coincidence of the utterance time and the assertion time, while Aspect expresses (non)-coincidence of the assertion time and the situation time. Tense and Aspect are represented by a set of two features: grammatical features [±past] and [±perf], and the abstract feature [±coin]. Thus, they have different grammatical content but the same abstract semantic content. This fine-grained distinction enables us to capture the similarities and differences between the two categories. The interaction between the two types of features together with the syntactic operation of feature agreement accounts for the temporo-aspectual interpretation of verbal morphology, and it also derives the interaction between Tense and Aspect in languages such as Russian.