Bukovina State Academy of Finance, Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Aspectology can be defined as a domain of linguistics, referring to the grammatical structure and semantics of the language; it studies the category of verb aspect, and in a broader sense, the whole “sphere of aspectuality”, – a large domain of the language, which includes, besides the aspect, other phenomena, similar to, or related to aspect in terms of meaning and functions .
The semantic definition of the category of aspect and distinguishing it from other verbal categories can be formulated in the following way: the aspect points to “the way in which the “action” (“event”, “phenomenon”, “situation”, “state”, etc.), denoted by the verb, passes in time or is distributed in time” . The aspect, accordingly, is related to the notion of tense, but, in contrast to the category of the verb tense, it deals not with the deictic temporal localization of the denoted “action”, but with its inner temporal structure, in the manner that the speaker understands it. B. Comrie (1976) defines the aspect as different ways of considering the inner temporal design of the situation. The aspect reflects the “assessment” of the temporal structure of the action by the speaker. Thus, not being a deictic category, the aspect belongs to both subjective and objective category, which defines the point of view, from which the objective extra linguistic reality is considered in language forms.
The category of aspect in different languages is characterized not only by a variety of its outer forms of expression, but also (and that is particularly significant) by a considerable variety of its inner content. According to B.O. Serebriannikov  “the complexity of the problem of grammatical aspect lies, first of all, in the fact that unlike the category of tense, this category has several foundations which are not similar in their nature and essence. … the category of verb aspect is based on a certain sum of action features, and each of them needs special consideration”.
Considering the category of aspect in English, it is necessary to distinguish it from the category of aspect in Slavic languages. The Slavic aspect is expressed with the help of pairs of correlating verbs. The aspect in English – if we accept the views supported by many researchers as to the aspectual nature of Continuous and Perfect tenses – is expressed by the word change of the same verb, therewith the word change of a special nature, i.e. analytical forms of the verb.
While analyzing the category of aspect it should be distinguished not only from the verbal aspect, but also from the functional and semantic category of taxis. Taxis (from Greek meaning structure, order, arrangement) is the tense correlation between actions (in the broad sense, including any types of predicates): simultaneity / non-simultaneity, ceasing, the relations between the primary and secondary actions, etc. [1, p. 503]. Within a speech act, the question is not about a separate action (state etc.), but about several actions, which are in some manner interrelated (chronologically, cause – effect, contrast relations, etc). These relations are reflected by specific relations between the predicates – relations which form the category of taxis. The term “taxis” was first suggested by R. Jakobson who defined it in the following way: “taxis characterizes the fact which is being referred to, concerning another fact which is being referred to, without any relation to the moment of reference” [7, с. 14].
By aspectuality we mean the semantic categorial property “the nature of passing and distribution of the action in time” [4, p. 105] and, at the same time a group of functional and semantic fields united by this property. A.V. Bondarko defines aspectuality as “a functional and semantic field, made up by interacting language means (morphological, syntactic, word building, lexico-grammatical, lexical and their various combinations in the context), joined by the unity of semantic functions, belonging to the domain of aspectual relations, i.e. relations, the content of which is in the nature of the action’s passing in time” [2, с. 76].
The notion of aspectuality is closely connected to what G. Guillaume called “inner tense” (in contrast to “outer tense” – the relation of action to the moment of speaking or some other starting point) [8, с. 47-48]. According to R. Referovskaia “… any action, in spite of its duration, contains a certain degree of “operational” time. The idea of time is reflected in the consciousness of people in the form of action – process – duration. Such “tense” of an action is an inseparable feature, its inherent characteristic feature and is its inner tense” [5, p. 91]. Aspectuality includes such characteristics of passing and distribution of an action in time as limitation/non-limitation by a borderline, presence/absence of an inner limit, representing an action as a passing process or a limited integral fact, iterativity, duration, singling out a certain phase of an action, relevance of an action’s consequences for the following tense plane (perfectivity), the difference between an action per se, a state and a correlation. All these characteristics, in this or that way, reveal the structure of an action’s “inner tense”.
Depending upon the objective of the research, aspectuality can be regarded as a single field or a cluster of functional and semantic fields. The second option allows to consider the peculiarities of the semantics and structural organization of separate subsystems within the wide range of aspectual relations in a more differentiated and explicit manner.
The differentiation of aspectuality presupposes the integration of separate fields which were singled out. This integration is stipulated not only by their invariant categorial features, but also by contrasting aspectuality as a whole to temporality, modality and other functional and semantic fields. This cluster includes such fields as: limitation (a field which encompasses different types of relations of the action to its limit), duration, iterativity, phase sequence, perfectivity, the field of action, the field of the state, the field of relations.
The semantic center of aspectuality and, at the same time, the center of formal means of expressing aspectual relations is verbal predicate. On the other hand, the elements of aspectuality can go beyond the borders of the predicate, spreading out to other parts of utterance. It refers, in particular, to adverbial modifiers. The predicative and adverbial modifier features of aspectual relations combine in the structure of the predicative complex, which includes the predicate (the nucleus of the complex) and all elements of the utterance that characterize it. Other language means that participate in expressing aspectuality (except adverbial modifiers), particularly conjunctions and particles, also group around verb predicates and have direct relation to their characterization and system organization within the utterance. In any case, the verb predicate forms the center, the dominant of aspectual relations.
Concluding, in a language the aspectual, temporal and taxis meanings are closely interrelated and appear as components of one complex semantic whole. Certain meanings of the action’s passing and distribution in time are expressed by aspectual categories of many languages, but in different languages these meaning are realized in different ways. The sphere of extension of aspectuality is extremely wide but that does not make it universal. Aspectual characterization is mandatory only for the utterances with verbal predicates. Aspectual relations beyond theses predicates are possible but not obligatory.
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