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Tense- and Aspect-Forms and Their Referents

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In a given language, where multiple forms exist which can be used to describe distinctions of tense and aspect, speakers can often choose among different forms to describe a single event, in order to make pragmatic or stylistic distinctions that emphasize different elements of the event to which they are referring. The relationship between such variation and processes of grammaticalization will be discussed, and in particular the influence on each other of syntactic reanalysis and the more or less rigid association of verbal forms with particular semantic distinctions; it will be suggested that it may in some cases by useful to consider the degree to which the encoding of a particular distinction is compulsory separately from other aspects of the development of the verbal system.

This talk is part of the Linguistics PhD seminars series.

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