The Meaning and Interpretations of the Japanese Aspect Marker -te-i-

Journal of Semantics 23 (2):185-216 (2006)

Abstract
The Japanese marker _-te-i-_ can have progressive, resultative, and existential perfect readings and has often been regarded as ambiguous. This paper shows that there is no clear evidence that _-te-i-_ is ambiguous. It proposes a monosemous analysis of _-te-i-_ that unifies its multiple readings and shows how progressives and perfects can form a natural semantic class. Within the context of a Discourse Representation Theory, I propose that _-te-i-_ consists of an imperfective operator _-te-_ and a stativizer _-i-_. The imperfective operator _-te-_ takes an eventuality as its argument and outputs a subpart of the eventuality, which precedes a reference time interval. Secondly, a stativizer _-i-_ maps the subpart of the eventuality, i.e. _-te-_'s output, onto a state which overlaps with reference time and whose category is semantically underspecified and is determined via pragmatic inferences. The vague output of the imperfective operator, i.e. whether it is a proper subpart or nonproper subpart of an eventuality, leads to the contrast between progressive readings and perfect readings of _-te-i-_.
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DOI 10.1093/jos/ffh036
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References found in this work BETA

Verbs and Times.Zeno Vendler - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (2):143-160.
Nominal and Temporal Anaphora.Barbara H. Partes - 1984 - Linguistics and Philosophy 7 (3):243--286.

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