The Aspectual Type BEGIN
Mariana Damova, Sabine Bergler
Abstract : This paper deals with the notion of aspect as it is understood in the eventuality structure based formal approaches to aspect. These approaches typically link aspect to the interpretation of the philosophical and ontological notion of event, seen as a conceptual entity with rigid edges: beginning, protraction and end, and analyse and study extensively the end part of events ((Vendler, 1967),(Moens & Steedman, 1988), (Smith, 1991), (Pustejovsky, 1991), (Krifka, 1989), (Partee, 1984), (Hinrichs, 1986), etc.). The beginning, a semantic counterpart of the culmination on the other hand, has not been discussed so much at large. We analyse various language means that convey beginning and argue for the need of a mechanism to provide a uniform interpretation for them. We define the aspectual type BEGIN, and develop its semantic representation along the general lines of accounts of temporal reference of Discourse Representation Theory ((Kamp, 1979); (Kamp & Reyle, 1993)). We extend the DRT analysis of tense and aspect in postulating a three layered formal representation for aspect. The aspectual type BEGIN introduces a DRS aspectual operator, instead of a temporal discourse referent. We embed its explicit event structure into the operator’s definition, by adopting Pustejovsky’s formalisation (Pustejovsky, 1995). We show that the proposed approach represents the aspectual type BEGIN correctly across categories, that is, it works on all relevant levels: lexical semantics, grammatical devices, secondary predication, discourse, and it covers the semantics of BEGIN in a uniform way.