Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 711–733 | Cite as

About the primitives of aspect across languages

  • María J. ArcheEmail author


This introduction presents the matter that this Topic/Comment issue addresses—namely, the encoding of aspectual information in the syntax and morphology. The main aim of this issue is to shed light on the identification of the semantic primitives underlying the most prominent viewpoint aspectual forms referred to in the literature (e.g., Imperfect, Perfective, Perfect, and Neutral), and to give a principled explanation of the way in which these semantic primitives are represented in the syntax and mapped onto the morphology. The introduction surveys and compares the different proposals that the authors in the issue defend in this regard and discusses the need of finer grained analyses so that more accurate crosslinguistic correspondences, which are crucial for answering questions in realms such as that of second language acquisition, can be established.


Viewpoint Aspect Formal analysis Semantic primitives of Aspect Syntax of Aspect Morphology of Aspect 



I want to express my gratitude to all those who have made this Topic/Comment issue possible. Special thanks go to Hamida Demirdache, Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria, Tim Stowell and Ivano Caponigro for their input and support since the very beginning, when I was preparing the proposal for this issue; to Marcel den Dikken for his continuous encouragement and advice, punctually commenting on my every query. Many thanks to Ana Arregui and Marcel den Dikken for their comments on this introduction as well as to Elizabeth Laurençot and Teresa O’Neill for editorial assistance. Thanks to all the reviewers for accepting the job and for the generosity of their questions and comments to the authors, which have increased the quality of the papers. Thank you to all the contributors for their work, patience, and friendly correspondence throughout the process. My work in this special issue is dedicated to the memory of my son Pablo, stillborn when I was working on it, to his two brothers, Ignacio and Javier, and my husband, Rafa, for having had me wrapped in cotton wool since.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GreenwichLondonUK

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