English and Japanese Inner Aspect

Inner Aspect, verb, syntax, semantics, English, Japanese, semantic operators


October 30, 2020


The aim of the current paper is to revisit the topic of Inner Aspect, and explore it from two vantage points, taking both English and Japanese data into account. We will rely on Vendler’s classification of verbs, and use it so as to see whether the verb classes he introduced for English can also account for Japanese verbs. To do this, we will make use of a number of tests that Vendler as well as other authors have suggested. We will see that not all verbs can pass these tests, and that sometimes, in order for a verb to pass them, we have to entertain specific scenarios to allow them to do so. Lastly, we will turn our attention to the Japanese morpheme -te iru (the counterpart of the English -ing) and explore a specific interpretation that this morpheme allows in Japanese, interpretation which cannot be found in English: the state-result interpretation. The paper concludes with the argument that because the state-result reading is not available in English, then -ing morphology is appears to not be compatible with two verb classes: activities and achievements.