The origins of telicity


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Abstract
The distinction between telic and atelic predicates has been described in terms of the algebraic properties of their meaning since the early days of model-theoretic semantics. This perspective was inspired by Aristotle’s discussion of types of actions that do or do not take time to be completed1 which was taken up and turned into a linguistic discussion of action-denoting predicates by Vendler (1957). The algebraic notion that seemed to be most conducive to express the Aristotelian distinction appeared to be the mereological notion of a part, applied to the time at which these predicates hold: atelic predicates, like push a cart, have the subinterval property, that is, whenever they are true at a time interval, then they are true at any part of that interval; this does not hold for telic predicates, like eat an apple, cf. Bennett & Partee (1972), Taylor (1977), and Dowty (1979)2. Bach (1986) integrated these insights into a semantics based on events.
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References found in this work BETA

Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter Simons - 1987 - Oxford University Press.
The Logical Form of Action Sentences.Donald Davidson - 1967 - In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Word Meaning and Montague Grammar.David R. Dowty - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (2):290-295.

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Citations of this work BETA

Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, Vol. 2. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
The Semantics and Ontology of The Average American.Collins John - 2017 - Journal of Semantics 34 (3):373-405.

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