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Temps et aspect

De la grammaire au lexique

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Edited by Véronique Lagae, Anne Carlier and Céline Benninger

Temporalité et aspect peuvent être exprimés tant par la grammaire que par le lexique. De la comparaison entre langues, il ressort toutefois qu’il n’est pas possible d’établir une répartition, valable pour toutes les langues, des tâches dévolues respectivement à la grammaire et au lexique dans l’expression du temps et de l’aspect. Pour l’aspect en particulier, les différences entre les langues sont grandes. Ainsi certaines oppositions qui relèvent de l’aspect lexical en français se présentent comme grammaticalisées dans les langues slaves. Même à l’intérieur d’une même langue, on ne peut admettre l’existence d’une réelle frontière entre grammaire et lexique. En effet, certains marqueurs temporels ou aspectuels se trouvent dans la zone frontière entre ces deux domaines. Il en va ainsi des semi-auxiliaires d’aspect en français : leur origine étant lexicale, ils ont subi un processus de grammaticalisation qui n’a toutefois pas entièrement abouti. Par ailleurs, on observe des interférences voire des incompatibilités entre aspect grammatical et aspect lexical.
Le présent recueil, qui réunit des contributions à la troisième édition du colloque Chronos (Valenciennes, 29-30 octobre 1998), se propose d’ouvrir des pistes de réflexion en explorant quelques-uns des moyens propres à l’expression de la localisation temporelle et de l’aspect, des plus grammaticalisés aux plus nettement lexicaux, en particulier la construction verbale (A. Carlier, V. Lagae), l’auxiliaire be associé à V- ing (G. Girard, G. Mélis), les semi-auxiliaires (D. Battistelli et J.-P. Desclés), les préfixes (D. Amiot, A. Israeli, D. Paillard), les compléments temporels (L. José, H. de Penanros) et les noms (N. Flaux, K. Paykin).

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Edited by Emmanuelle Labeau and Pierre Larrivée

Le tiroir de l'imparfait a subi une extension considérable de ses usages à travers l'histoire du français. Il est devenu prototypique dans des contextes comme la description où l'ancienne langue utilisait le passé simple. Ces emplois prototypiques ont donné lieu à un large ensemble d'usages stylistiques. : hypothèse, discours indirect libre, imparfait de politesse, forain, hypocoristique, ludique et narratif. La diversité des usages pose la question de l'unité sémantique de la forme, non seulement en synchronie mais aussi dans les cadres de son évolution diachronique et de son acquisition. Ce problème est appréhendé à travers les analyses de Damourette et Pichon et de Wilmet, par le guillaumisme, la sémantique logique et la pragmatique de la pertinence. Ces cadres permettent d'identifier les paramètres en jeu dans chaque emploi, et les modes de leur application à une problématique sémantique particulièrement délicate.
Le présent ouvrage saura donc intéresser autant les théoriciens du sens linguistique que les praticiens concernés par son organisation.

The uses of the French imperfect have undergone a vast extension throughout the history of the French language. It has become prototypical in contexts such as description where old French used simple past. The prototypical uses have resulted in a large number of stylistic uses: hypothesis, free indirect speech, and the so-called forain, hypocoristique, ludique and narratif. The wide range of uses raises the question of the semantic unity of that form in synchrony as well as in diachrony.
Here are gathered for the first time discussions of emergent uses of the imperfect, that are tackled through a variety of approaches (Damourette and Pichon’s, Wilmet’s or Guillaume’s systems, logic semantics or relevance theory).
This volume will be of interest for theoreticians interested in linguistic meaning and applied linguists concerned with its organization.

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Patrick Caudal and Marie-Ève Ritz

This paper examines uses of the present perfect (PP) in Australian police media reports published on the web, as these show that the Australian English PP is currently acquiring perfective viewpoint features. We specifically focus on rhetorical relations in patterns of alternation between the PP and simple past, in order to identify discourse structural parameters underlying this evolution. We find that the relation of Elaboration plays a key role as it can lead to the inference that an event described in the PP is temporally included within or includes a past perfective event, thereby giving the PP a past perfective interpretation.

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Juliane House

Abstract

This paper presents an overview and some tentative results of the project "Covert Translation – Verdecktes Übersetzen", which is currently carried out at the Research Center "Multilingualism", University of Hamburg. The paper is structured as follows: I will first give the background to the project and describe the research questions it is trying to tackle. Secondly, I will present the working hypothesis underlying the investigation conducted by the project’s research team. Thirdly, I will describe the corpus, fourthly the analytic procedure used. Finally, I will present, interpret and discuss some tentative results.

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Bergljot Behrens and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen

Abstract

The present paper reports on part of a research project financed by the Research Council of Norway, in which we are concerned with contrastive linguistic issues that are central to theoretical as well as practical translation studies. Grounding our reflections on a corpus-based, contrastive study of English, German and Norwegian, we hope to shed new light on the relation between structural differences and language use in the three languages. Our study explores the use of connectives and their translational counterparts. Our goal is to come closer to an understanding of how propositional meanings are linked in text across languages, and what type of constraints regulate the use of connectives with similar meanings.

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Jorunn Hetland

Abstract

This paper focuses on the notion of contrast: how contrast has been defined in the literature, how contrast is realised in natural language, how contrast is related to pitch accent. One pitch accent seems to have an inherent ability to express contrast: the fall-rise. The fall-rise accent plays a key role in the discussions of contrastive topics – and partly foci – in languages as different as English, German, Hungarian and Korean. In the present paper, I show that – whereas all pitch-accents can be used to signal contrast, depending on the relevant context – the fall-rise may induce contrast also in cases where there is no sign in the context that contrast is intended. The fall-rise itself seems to create an illusion of a given closed set to which the accented constituent belongs. This, in turn, induces an implicit reference to alternatives, and thereby contrast, within the given set.

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Olga Borik and Berit Gehrke

Abstract

In this introduction, we provide a general overview of the semantic and syntactic properties of pseudo-incorporation, which is intended to serve as a basis for accessing the papers in this volume. Given that pseudo-incorporation shares semantic properties with other phenomena, in particular morphosyntactic and semantic incorporation and weak referentiality (expressed by bare plurals and weak definites), we will also present the main characteristics of these phenomena. Additionally, we point out issues in the study of pseudo-incorporation that still need to be resolved, such as, for instance, the definitional debate as to what kind of empirical facts fall under the umbrella of pseudo-incorporation. We conclude by providing short summaries of each contribution to this volume.

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Nicholas Smith

Abstract

There is a fair degree of consensus that progressive aspect has undergone a substantial growth in use in late modern English, but so far few studies have systematically exploited corpus data to reveal the extent to which changes are still going on. The availability of ‘matching’ one-million word corpora of recent written English, namely the British LOB and FLOB corpora dating from 1961 and 1991 respectively, and their American counterparts Brown and Frown, allows some redressing of the balance: Mair and Hundt (1995) have found that in the newspaper sections of these corpora some functions of the progressive already existing in the 1960s become more common in the 1990s. This paper aims to extend the analysis by exploring the full versions of the British corpora, looking at a wider range of variables. The most striking rise in the progressive occurs in the present tense, where it is realised by a wider range of verb types (increasingly with a contracted auxiliary verb), and appears increasingly far more in main clauses than in subordinate clauses. However, as cautioned by Mair and Hundt, the impression of ‘pure’ grammatical change is somewhat clouded by evidence in the written corpora of stylistic change, in particular a drift towards more colloquial speech habits.

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Christiane von Stutterheim, Ralf Nüse and Jorge Murcia-Serra

Abstract

The paper reports on a series of empirical studies in which language-specific patterns in the construal of events are investigated. The background of the studies is given by crosslinguistic analyses of the verbalisation of events in film renarrations. The results for English, German, Spanish and Arabic suggest that grammaticised categories are relevant for the strategies which speakers of different languages rely on in verbalising information. These results are confirmed by three studies which approach the question from different aspects. In the first investigation speakers are asked to verbalise a sequence of unrelated events presented on a screen. The hypothesis was that speakers of different languages select different components of the depicted scenes for verbalisation. In the second study the voice onset times for these verbalisations are measured to see whether the different event constructions are reflected in the planning processes of the utterances. In the third study comprehension of sentences referring to events is tested, using a self paced reading experiment. The results of the individual studies converge in showing that the construal of events for verbalisation follows language specific patterns.

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Olav Mueller-Reichau

Abstract

Russian imperfective sentences can be used to express quite different from each other interpretations, among them being the so-called (general-)factual interpretation. The article deals with bare singular noun phrases that appear as direct objects in Russian factual imperfectives. In the first part it is shown that these bare singulars behave like pseudo-incorporating, which means that they satisfy all of the conditions that pseudo-incorporating nominals are standardly considered to satisfy: they show number neutrality, have narrow scope with respect to negation, are reduced in discourse transparency, provide bad support for subsequent pronouns and give rise to establishedness effects. In the second part an analysis is presented that explains these “pseudo incorporation effects”. It is argued that factual imperfectives come with a specific information structure at the level of VP. Focus is exclusively on event realization, implying that the whole information about the kind of event realized is backgrounded. Under the assumption that backgrounded information is presupposed, constituents of the VP therefore contribute to the formation of the presupposed event kind. Bare singular direct objects are, accordingly, doomed to be interpreted at the kind-level, which can explain the above noted effects.