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Aspects of Aspect: The acquisition of viewpoint and situation aspect in Modern Greek

Panitsa, G.; (2010) Aspects of Aspect: The acquisition of viewpoint and situation aspect in Modern Greek. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis describes the acquisition of aspect in Modern Greek. The morphology, syntax and semantics of aspect are presented and discussed. We look especially at C. Smith's theory of viewpoint and situation aspect. Smith's situation aspect theory is based on the Vendlerian classification of verb phrases into Activity, Achievement, Accomplishment and State; plus a category of Semelfactives. As aspect is a property of the whole verb phrase, and in the light of its ‘interaction’ with aspectual adverbials, aspectual coercion is discussed. Further, we look at the role of adverbial expressions in the determination of aspect and at the positioning of aspectual adverbials in children’s grammars. The continuity and the maturation hypotheses are discussed in developing a theory of the acquisition of aspect and children's awareness and mastery of the system is examined. We carried out two experiments at a nursery school in Greece to look at viewpoint and situation aspect and their interaction in children's grammars. The first was a sentence-picture matching task and the second an elicited imitation task. We investigated patterns in the acquisition of viewpoint aspect by the children and how these were affected by situation aspect across the ages. It is shown that the way children combine aspectual adverbials with verbs marked for viewpoint aspect provides insights into their acquisition of the semantics of aspect. This is further looked at in terms of the means children employ towards an adult target response: omission of the aspectual adverbial; changing of the aspectual marking on the verb, substitution of one aspectual adverbial for another one. Regarding the positioning of aspectual adverbials in children’s grammars, it is found that they place them in immediately post-verbal position. Finally we examined children's comprehension of the semantics of perfective vs imperfective viewpoint aspect and their ability to successfully combine aspectual adverbials with verbs set for the perfective or imperfective value.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Aspects of Aspect: The acquisition of viewpoint and situation aspect in Modern Greek
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Linguistics

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