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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Situation aspect and viewpoint aspect : from Salish to Japanese Kiyota, Masaru


This thesis investigates lexical and grammatical aspect in two unrelated languages, Sencoten(the Saanich dialect of Straits Salish) and Japanese. In particular, the main focus is on how various perfect readings are derived in the two languages, which show striking similarities in this respect. In Sencoten, a particle kwlh yields various readings depending on the situation aspect and viewpoint aspect of the predicate with which it occurs (Kiyota 2006b). These various readings include an inceptive reading, an on-going situation reading, and a completion reading. The Japanese aspectual marker -tei- also induces a range of different readings: a progressive reading, a resultant state reading, and a perfect reading (Ogihara 1998a, Nishiyama 2006, a.o.). To account for these various readings, I propose that both kwlh in Sencoten and -tei- in Japanese are perfect markers. However, the actual semantic function of each is different: kwlh in Sencoten introduces a perfect time span (Pancheva 2003), whereas -tei- in Japanese denotes an anteriority relation between an event time and a reference time (Reichenbach 1947, Klein 1992, 1994), where the event time can be the time interval of a sub-event of a larger event. -Tei- also has a pragmatic component (or presupposition), just as Portner (2003) claims for the English perfect. Aspectual properties of predicates also play a crucial role in yielding the range of different readings. Therefore, this thesis also proposes a new aspectual classification of predicates in Sencoten and Japanese, which departs from the common classification of predicates based on Indo-European languages. In Sencoten, various readings are derived by interaction between the semantics of verbal predicates (i.e. lexical aspect), the semantics of the grammatical aspect (perfective or imperfective), and the semantics (and possibly pragmatics) of the perfect. In Japanese, the range of interpretations is due to interaction between the semantics of verbal aspect, the function of an adverb, and the semantics and pragmatics of the perfect. In other words, the same factors enter into my analysis of both Sencoten and Japanese, though there is one striking difference between the two languages: the perfective/imperfective opposition is involved in Sencoten, but not in Japanese.

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