MoL-2004-07: Event-calculus semantics of Polish aspect

MoL-2004-07: Labenz, Piotr (2004) Event-calculus semantics of Polish aspect. [Report]

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Verbal aspect is, alongside tense, an essential device for representing temporal information in Slavic languages, including Polish. To give a linguistic account of it is difficult because of the complicated verbal morphology. Recently this problem has been addressed by Anna Mlynarczyk's aspectual classification of Polish verbs. She argued that what underlies Polish aspectual system are several meaning classes of verbs. These can be treated as Aktionsarten in the Vendler's sense.

This approach called for explicating these meaning classes in terms of formal semantics. To obtain it is the objective of my thesis. I use van Lambalgen and Hamm's Event Calculus, which is well-suited for the purpose, since it allows to deal with temporal issues easily as well as explicitly construe the Aktionsarten involved. In its terms, I account for the meaning contribution of particular Aktionsarten and aspectual values.

I conclude that the Event Calculus provides a good framework for dealing with the semantics of Polish aspect. It avoids some problems that applying Verkuyl's work to Slavic languages encounters. While I do not deal with the quantificational effects of aspect (stressed by the latter), but solely with temporal ones -- and neglect habitual verbs throghout -- it seems that further work in this framework could include these issues as well.

On a more general level, the notion of planning, stemming from AI and psychology, pervades the Event Calculus, lending it cognitive plausibility as a tool for the semantics of temporal expressions. I argue that the two widespread, but opposing concepts of aspect -- as a subjective perspective on the temporal structure of an occurrence and as an objective report about its completion or duration -- can be reconciled in using that notion.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2004-07
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2004
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:38

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