Towards a Theory of the Semantics of Grammatical Categories
Carl Bache and Carl Bache
1. Introduction 9
1. Introduction This book addresses some challenging methodological problems in the analysis of tense, aspect and action in natural language. Over the last two decades an increasing number of linguists have been concerned with these verbal categories from a universal (or cross- linguistic) point of view. At the same time, and often as an immediate result of general-linguistic contributions to the subject (such as e.g. Comrie 1976, 1985 and Dahl 1985), there has been a proliferation of language-specific studies (for a recent publication on aspect and tense in a broad range of languages, see Bache, Bas bell & Lindberg 1994 ). In itself, this is highly desirable. Major advances have been made, both at the general-linguistic level and at the language-specific level. However, there is in this productive development of the field often a worrying lack of concern for certain fundamental methodological and terminological issues. The present study is an attempt to highlight notoriously problematic areas in the analysis of tense, aspect and action and to offer tentative solutions. At the same time it presents an alternative, or at least a supplement, to existing introductions to the field. In this study, an emphasis is placed on such basic questions as: How should we go about describing these categories and with what terminology? What are our working conditions? How does our work relate to descriptions of natural languages in general? What issues are we interested in and how should they be presented? What research strategies should be explored? In my attempt to deal...
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