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Chapter 9 Kearns: Reading guide

Make sure you know what the following concepts mean and how to use them appropriately:

  • eventuality
  • bounded, durative eventuality
    • (Note: the homogeneity / heterogeneity distinction we leave aside, since I don't agree with how Kearns explains it)
  • state, process (or activity), accomplishment, achievement, semelfactive (aspectual classes)
Make sure you understand:
  • that the aspectual classes are simply useful summaries of commonly co-occurring feature combinations, where features are boundedness, duration, and homogeneity (also dynamicity, but we don't cover this in this class);
  • that the linguistic tests introduced in the chapter target specific features (boundedness, ...), so you typically need to apply several of them to identify a single aspectual class;
  • that the progressive removes the boundedness of bounded events, and how that interacts with the aspectual class of a predicate in terms of acceptability and ensuing interpretations (section 9.2.5). 
Make sure you know how to:
  • apply the linguistic tests for boundedness, duration, homogeneity of eventualities
    • and that these tests yield different interpretations that lead to different diagnoses: for instance,
      • tests for boundedness:
        • in + time expression targets bounded eventualities. It yields duration of the whole eventuality with accomplishments, unacceptability or repair readings (onset, habituality) with semelfactives as well as with unbounded eventualites (states and processes); see examples (9-12);
        • for + time expression targets unbounded and durative eventualities. It yields duration with unbounded eventualities (states and processes), unacceptability or repair readings (onset, result state, iteration) for bounded eventualities, clear iteration reading with semelfactives;
        • take + time expression targets bounded eventualities, and is interpreted more or less like in + time expression (similar acceptability judgements and repair readings).
      • tests for duration + boundedness:
        • compatibility with finish (ex. (39); note that semelfactives are ok with "finish" in the iterative reading);
        • availability of different interpretations with almost depending on the aspectual class.
  • apply the linguistic tests for stativity:
    • simple present is interpreted as present with states, as habitual (and other special uses, see chapter 7) with the remaining aspectual classes (examples in (21));
    • the progressive is either unacceptable with state predicates, or yields a temporary or brief reading with states (examples in (22-23)).