The verbal categories of tense and aspect have been studied traditionally from the point of view of their reference to the timing and time-perspective of the speaker's reported experience. They are universal categories both in terms of the semantic-functional domain they cover as well as in terms of their syntactic and morphological realization. Nevertheless, their treatment in contemporary linguistics is often restricted and narrow based, often involving mere recapitulatoin of traditional semantic and morphotactic studies.
The present volume arises out of a symposium held at UCLA in May 1979, in which a group of linguists gathered to re-open the subject of tense-and-aspect from a variety of perspectives, including - in addition to the traditional semantics - also discourse-pragmatics, psycholinguistics, child language, Creolization and diachronic change. The languages discussed in this volume include Russian, Turkish, English, Indonesian, Ameslan, Eskimo, various Creoles, Mandari, Hebrew, Bantu and others. The emphasis throughout is not only on the description of language-specific tense-aspect phenomenon, but more on the search for universal categories and principles which underlie the cross-language variety of tense and aspect. In particular, many of the participants address themselves to the relationship between propositional-semantics and discourse-pragmatics, in so far as these two functional domains interact within tense-aspect systems.
1. Preface (by Givon, T.); 2. Preface (by Hopper, Paul J.); 3. I. Tense and Aspect in Discourse; 4. Aspect between Discourse and Grammar: An Introductory Essay for the Volume (by Hopper, Paul J.); 5. The Discourse Motivation for the Perfect Aspect: The Mandarin Particle LE (by Li, Charles N.); 6. The Function of Inuktitut Verb Modes in Narratives Texts (by Kalmar, Ivan); 7. Aspect in Conversational Indonesian (by Rafferty, Ellen); 8. II. The Creation of Tense and Aspect; 9. Universals of Aspect and Parts of Speech: Parallels between Signed and spoken Languages (by Anderson, Lloyd B.); 10. Tense-Aspect Modality: The Creole Proto-Type and Beyond (by Givon, T.); 11. III. Tense and Aspect as Cognitive Categories; 12. Aspect, Transitivity, and Viewpoint (by DeLancey, Scott); 13. Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Use of the Turkish Evidential (by Slobin, Dan I.); 14. Figure and Ground: The Interrelationships of Linguistic Categories (by Wallace, Stephen); 15. IV. Tense and Aspect as Semantic and Grammatical Categories; 16. The 'Perfect' as a Universal and as a Language-Particular Category (by Anderson, Lloyd B.); 17. Remarks on English Aspect (by Langacker, Ronald W.); 18. Invariance and the Syntax of Russian Aspect (by Timberlake, Alan); 19. V. Afterword; 20. On Cross-Linguistic Categories and Related Problems: A Discussant's Notes on the Tense/Aspect Symposium (by Chatterjee, Ranjit); 21. Index to References