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Revista signos

versión On-line ISSN 0718-0934


PARIS, Luis. Events and times in the preterit, imperfect, and progressive. Rev. signos [online]. 2007, vol.40, n.65, pp.609-632. ISSN 0718-0934.

Spanish encompasses an elaborated grammatical assembly of morphemes in order to build temporal representations. This grammatical subsystem has not been properly described. On the one hand, descriptive grammars provide epistemologically fragile characterizations (Bello, 1970; Rojo y Veiga, 1999). On the other hand, formal grammars offer well-defined categories that have poor empirical coverage (de Swart, 1998). Couched in formal semantics, my proposal aims at overcoming both of these shortcomings with two strategies. First, it claims that certain meaning properties of temporal morphemes are semantic whereas others are pragmatic. Second, it represents the semantic knowledge needed to manipulate temporal expressions in Spanish in terms of an event structure and an interval structure. Both structures are systematically connected but they consist each of their own individuals and relations. This theory is able to define in terms of event properties the categories pertaining to Lexical Aspect (Aktionarten). In contrast, Grammatical Aspect ((im)perfectivity) as well as Tense (temporal location) are described as interval properties. This distinction between semantic structures neatly captures the opposition ‘Pretérito-imperfecto’ as well as that one ‘imperfecto-progresivo’. The presence of each morpheme in the system is, thus, justified on their unique contribution to the Spanish semantic system

Palabras clave : Intervals; events; imperfect; preterit; progressive.

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