ERIC Number: ED370416
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
Reference Count: N/A
Vendler Classes and Reinterpretation.
Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, v19 n1 p53-88 1994
This paper discusses the theoretical status of Vendler classes in grammar and utterance interpretation. In the 1950s Zeno Vendler outlined a taxonomy of verb classification which grouped verbs into four equal categories: (1) activity terms; (2) accomplishment terms; (3) achievement terms; and (4) state terms. Although Vendler's taxonomy still has a significant influence on linguistic research, many refinements of his scheme classify verbs or atomic sentences into more than four categories. This paper presents an alternative theory which aims to clarify the nature of aspectual information encoded in the lexicon of English, based on the assumption that aspect is a purely temporal phenomenon. It advances a theory that makes a clear distinction between semantic objects and their names on one hand, and between semantic meaning and pragmatic meaning on the other. It argues that Vendler's taxonomy is linguistically significant as classification of situations denoted by linguistic expressions, but not of expressions themselves. It concludes that the apparent complexity and subtleties of the aspectual phenomena found between verbs and sentences/utterances are the epiphenomena created by the interaction between grammar (aspectual semantics) and cognition (utterance interpretation). Contains 59 references. (MDM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Vendler (Zeno)
Note: For the serial issue in which this paper appears, see FL 022 191.