Aspektualität ohne Aspekt? : Progressivität und Imperfektivität im Deutschen und Schwedischen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis argues that it is relevant to make aspectual distincions in terms of progressivity and imperfectivity not only in languages like Russian or English but also in languages like German and Swedish, which traditionally are not considered aspect languages. This means that a distinction has to be made between aspectuality as a conceptual category and the grammatical category aspect (?Aspekt?), which needs a special morpho-syntactic expression.

As for the internal structure of aspectuality, a bidimensional approach is shown to be both cognitively and empirically relevant. The first dimension focusses on the distinction between different situation types and their internal temporal contituency in terms of dynamicity, telicity and durativity. The second dimension involves the choice between different ways of viewing a situation, the so called viewpoints. The imperfective viewpoint means that a situation is viewed from within. Progressivity, which is a subcategory of imperfectivity, demands a contrast between the time span which is relevant for viewing a situation, and the time spans which are not. Because of this restriction, progressivity is not compatible with stative situations. As for choosing a viewpoint, it is argued that the temporal reference point needed is part of the topic time of each utterance and that it can be separated from the time of speech.

When analyzing the expression of aspectuality in German and Swedish, a compositional approach is used. It is shown that not only the situation types (?Aktionsarten?), but also the imperfective and progressive viewpoints, are lexically and grammatically relevant. For an imperfective interpretation of a sentence, a combination of an atelic or durative verb and the present or past tense is fruitful in both languages, whereas the imperfective usage of the perfect tense seems to be more common in Swedish than in German. In order to express progressivity, special devices such as different progressive markers are needed. In this context the Swedish constructions prove to be less restricted than the german ones in terms of grammar and semantics. When it comes to further possibilities of expressing progressivity, it is argued that progressivity could also be expressed using adverbials which emphasise the above-mentioned contrast.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • progressive, aspect, aspectuality, aspectuality in German, aspectuality in Swedish, imperfective, Allmän språkvetenskap/Lingvistik, Linguistics, German language and literatur, Tyska (språk och litteratur)
Original languageGerman
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2006 Jun 16
  • Almqvist & Wiksell International
Print ISBNs91-22-02150-7
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2006-06-16 Time: 10:15 Place: sal L403, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Leiss, Elisabeth Title: Prof. Affiliation: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München ---