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Keep V-ing: Aspectuality and event structure
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The principal aim of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive account of the meaning of keep V-ing constructions, see (1a) and (1b).

(1) a. Mary kept winning (again and again).

(1) b. John kept running (for another ten minutes).

On the basis of a systematic study of combinations of keep with predicates of different aktionsarts, it is shown that keep can give rise to two different readings which share the overall meaning of ‘continued activity’. It is argued that the two readings of keep V-ing arise from different aspectual properties of the predicate in the complement clause. Under the first reading, labelled the continuative-iterative reading, (1a), the event in the complement clause is telic, and the interpretation is an iterative reading. Under the second reading, labelled the continuative reading, (1b), the event in the complement clause is atelic, and the interpretation is a reading of nonstop continuation.

It is argued that keep combines with activity predicates in the relevant construction type, that is, with dynamic, durative and atelic events, and that keep has the ability to induce aspect shift when combining with predicates that are not inherent activities. Thus, in (1a), a punctual and telic winning event is iterated, creating a series which in itself is durative and atelic. In (1b), the running event is already durative and atelic.

By comparing keep V-ing with the progressive construction be V-ing, (2), and with two other continuative constructions, continue V-ing, (3), and V on, (4), it is shown that keep readily shifts a telic predicate into an atelic reading by taking scope over the entire event, (1a), but cannot take scope over an internal part of a telic event. Both be V-ing, (2), and continue V-ing, (3), are able to take scope over an internal part of a telic event.

(2) John was building the house.

(3) John continued building the house.

(4) John ran on.

In addition, unlike continue V-ing and V on, keep V-ing does not necessarily denote continuation of an event which has already been initiated. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö, Kalmar: Linnaeus University Press, 2016. , 190 p.
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 261/2016
Keyword [en]
aspect, aktionsart, event structure, telicity, boundedness, iteration, continuation, aspectualizers, progressive constructions, aspect shift.
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Humanities; Humanities, English
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-55645ISBN: 978-91-88357-31-1OAI: diva2:954250
Public defence
2016-09-23, Homeros, Hus F, Växjö, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-08-26 Created: 2016-08-19 Last updated: 2016-09-13Bibliographically approved

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