Sei sulla pagina 1di 467

Research Design and Methodology in Studies on L2 Tense and Aspect

Studies in Second and Foreign Language Education 2

Editors

Anna Uhl Chamot Wai Meng Chan

De Gruyter Mouton

Research Design and Methodology in Studies on L2 Tense and Aspect

edited by

M. Rafael Salaberry Llorenc¸ Comajoan

De Gruyter Mouton

ISBN 978-1-934078-14-3 e-ISBN 978-1-934078-16-7 ISSN 2192-0982

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the Library of Congress.

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet

at http://dnb.dnb.de.

2013 Walter de Gruyter, Inc., Boston/Berlin

Cover image: Creatas/Thinkstock Typesetting: RoyalStandard, Hong Kong Printing: Hubert & Co. GmbH & Co. KG, Göttingen Printed on acid-free paper

Printed in Germany

www.degruyter.com

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge all the authors who contributed to the volume for their own contributions and for acting as reviewers of other chapters. We also acknowledge the substantive and useful feedback of the reviewers commissioned by DeGruyter to review the entire volume, as well as the critical reviews of readers of individual chapters: Michel Achard, Robert De Keyser, Elena de Miguel, Alex Housen, John Norris,

Ana Teresa Pe´rez-Leroux, and Jacqueline Toribio. The support by the editors at De Gruyter was greatly appreciated for their usefulness and good work. We especially need to mention the work of the late Cathleen Petree, who accompanied us in the first stages of the editorial process of our book. After countless email exchanges with her, we especially remember some of the lines of the quote that she used in her email signature: ‘‘All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each

.’’ (from the poem ‘‘Praise Song for

one of our ancestors on our

the Day’’ by Elizabeth Alexander). Finally, we would like to acknowledge the support of our families and academic institutions (the University of

Texas at Austin, the University of Vic, and the University Center for Sociolinguistics and Communication at the University of Barcelona) for their continued support.

Rafael and Llorenc¸

Table of contents

Acknowledgements

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

v

Introduction Research design and methodology in L2 studies of tense and aspect Llorenc¸ Comajoan and M. Rafael Salaberry

 

1

Part I.

Theoretical representations of tense and aspect in L2 studies

Chapter 1 A Cognitive Grammar perspective on tense and aspect Susanne Niemeier

 

11

Chapter 2 The Spanish preterite and imperfect from a cognitive point of view Aintzane Doiz

 

57

Chapter 3

Frequency-based grammar and the acquisition of tense and aspect in

 

L2

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

89

Nick Ellis

Chapter 4 Generative approaches to the L2 acquisition of temporal-aspectual-

 

. Dalila Ayoun and Jason Rothman

mood

systems .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

119

Part II.

Research design and methodology in L2 studies of tense and aspect

 

Chapter 5

Research design: A two-way predicational system is better than a

 

four-way

approach .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

159

Paz Gonza´lez

Chapter 6 Research design: Operationalizing and testing hypotheses M. Rafael Salaberry

 

187

Chapter 7 Research design: From text to task Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig

 

219

viii

Table of contents

Chapter 8 Defining and coding data: Lexical aspect in L2 studies Yasuhiro Shirai

 

271

Chapter 9

Defining and coding data: Narrative discourse grounding in

 

. Llorenc¸ Comajoan

L2 studies

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

309

Chapter 10

Data

analysis: Quantitative approaches

 

357

Robert Bayley

Chapter 11

Data

analysis: The qualitative analysis of actionality in learner

 

. Anna Giacalone-Ramat and Stefano Rastelli

language

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

391

Chapter 12 Integrating the analyses of tense and aspect across research and methodological frameworks M. Rafael Salaberry, Llorenc¸ Comajoan, and Paz Gonza´lez

 

423

Author biographies

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

451

Subject

index

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

455

Introduction

Research design and methodology in L2 studies of tense and aspect

Llorenc¸ Comajoan and M. Rafael Salaberry

Time and its linguistic expression is such a pervasive topic that it is no wonder that it has occupied a central role in the study of linguistics in general and second language acquisition (SLA) more specifically. 1 The current volume focuses on di¤erent matters pertaining to research design and methodology in studies on second language (L2) tense and aspect defined from a broad perspective; that is, spanning from cognitive to generative linguistics, from qualitative to qualitative methodologies. The main goal of the volume is to bring to light the main issues regarding research design by examining the role of theoretical representations of aspect and methodological procedures. The volume is divided into two main sections. The first section provides a discussion of di¤erent theoretical approaches to study tense and aspect in SLA. The second section focuses specifically on various factors regarding methodological conditions and constraints that directly a¤ect the collection of empirical evidence to sub- stantiate theoretical hypotheses. The first section, focusing on theoretical issues, is comprised of four chapters, with a predominant focus on cognitive approaches. The first two chapters discuss cognitive grammar, whereas the third chapter addresses the role of frequency in the acquisition of L2 tense and aspect features. The fourth chapter provides a counterpoint by examining the generative (minimalist) perspective to L2 tense and aspect. More specifically, in Chapter 1, Susanne Niemeier provides a clear introduction to cognitive linguistics and cognitive grammar in general through an analysis of the English tense and aspect system. Taking Langacker’s approach and Mental Space Theory as a point of departure, the author argues that prototypical as well as nonprototypical uses of tense and aspect can be accounted for by making reference to general categorical rules (as opposed to exceptions).

1. See Binnick (1991) for the history of how tense and aspect have been studied from di¤erent perspectives; Bybee, Perkins, and Pagliuca (1994) on how dif- ferent languages code time; and Bardovi-Harlig (2000); Slabakova (2001); Salaberry and Shirai (2002); Ayoun and Salaberry (2005); Rocca (2007); and Salaberry (2008) for SLA studies.

2

Llorenc¸ Comajoan and M. Rafael Salaberry

The chapter is particularly useful because for every section of the discus- sion it provides specific applications of cognitive grammar to the L2 class- room to teach tense and aspect features. In the second chapter, Aintzane Doiz discusses the various aspectual meanings of the Spanish Preterite and Imperfect, also from the pespective of Cognitive Grammar. Thus, the chapters by Niemeier and Doiz complement each other in the sense that they apply the same theoretical apparatus to describe two tense-aspectual systems, namely English and Spanish. In particular, both authors remark the need to provide L2 learners with cognitive explanations that help them relate how they view situations (cognitively) and the ways to express them in the L2. Furthermore, both Niemeier and Doiz emphasize the power of cognitive grammar in the way it handles ‘‘exceptions’’ to specific uses of tense-aspect forms in English and Spanish. Finally, both authors agree on the fact that further research still needs to fully investigate to what extent cognitive grammar can help or hinder learners with the process of acquir- ing a second language. In this view, the chapters by Niemeier and Doiz will be of value to researchers who are also L2 teachers and may be inter- ested in trying a cognitive approach to the teaching of tense and aspect. In Chapter 3, Nick Ellis, provides a review of frequency-based grammar (e.g., Construction Grammar) and examines the role of frequency in lan- guage cognition and SLA. Ellis provides a review of how frequency and learning are related by examining input frequency, form salience and per- ception, and prototypicality and contingency of form-meaning mapping. The second section of the article examines how such determinants of learning were applied to the study of L2 tense and aspect in a study by Wul¤ et al. (2009). In the last section of the chapter, the author argues for a dynamic model of usage that integrates all the factors that a¤ect lan- guage constructions; that is, he advocates for research that is not limited to univariate analyses of data but that is rather multivariate and interac- tive. The fourth chapter is devoted to a review of generative approaches to the L2 acquisition of temporal-aspectual-mood systems. Dalila Ayoun and Jason Rothman provide an in-depth introduction to the generative theoretical approach in its current form and review current generative L2 literature by examining how di¤erent studies and methodologies in L1-L2 pairings have provided empirical evidence to support the di¤erent hypo- theses advanced within this theoretical framework. Their critical review highlights the rich body of empirical evidence accumulated by the field of generative linguistics in SLA. In their conclusion, Ayoun and Rothman argue that, when taken as a whole, there is evidence for the position that L2 adult learners are not impaired in their acquisition of functional cate-

Introduction

3

gories and their features (contrary to some of the hypotheses they have reviewed in their chapter). Ayoun and Rothman contextualize their con- clusion within the background of current and future work that deals with the interface between syntax and other grammar components. The second section of the volume comprises seven chapters, which can be further subdivided into three subsections: (a) theoretical issues that directly a¤ect the research design of studies on tense-aspect (Chapters 5 and 6), (b) methodological factors that a¤ect the analysis of tense-aspect data (Chapters 7, 8, and 9), and (c) the use of qualititative and quantita- tive types of analysis of data (Chapters 10 and 11). The first two chapters of this section (by Gonza´lez and Salaberry, respectively) bridge the first and second section of the volume by focusing on the di¤erences in the characterization of the theoretical construct of aspect for the development of appropriate research hypotheses. In her chapter, Paz Gonza´lez presents a discussion of aspect in Spanish and argues that a two-way distinction of predicational aspect (as opposed to the traditional, Vendlerian four-way distinction) may be more accurate to describe the learner’s interlanguage. More specifically, Gonza´lez argues that native speakers rely on the com- positional aspect of verbal predicates (including arguments and adjuncts) to the extent that they accept uses of Spanish preterite and imperfect that isolated might be considered ungrammatical. Learners accept them because they rely on creating a non-verbalized context. Using evidence from a previous study, the author argues for the Predication-E¤ect Hypothesis, whereby learners rely on two aspectual features (durativity and termina- tivity) to make a dual distinction (preterite and imperfect). From this perspective, the mapping of two features onto two morphological forms may facilitate the learners understanding of the Spanish tempo-aspectual system. The chapter by M. Rafael Salaberry continues the discussion of the compositionality of verbal predicates and its e¤ect on the research design of studies and their hypotheses. More specifically, Salaberry focuses on an aspectual distinction that has been little studied, namely the acquisition of preterite and imperfect contrasts in Spanish to mark iterativity and habituality. The chapter provides a detailed discussion of how such mean- ings are dependent on the interaction between the use of perfective and imperfective Spanish markers and the use of specific adverbs. Salaberry argues that di¤erent authors’ interpretations of the role of adverbial adjuncts have prompted di¤erent operationalizations of research hypotheses asso- ciated with iterativity and habituality. The author further argues that such distinct operationalizations are directly related to various methodological conditions of the research design (e.g., in the design of language prompts)

4

Llorenc¸ Comajoan and M. Rafael Salaberry

as well as di¤erences in analyses of the empirical data obtained within spe- cific research designs. Ultimately, the research design and the results of studies cannot be easily disentangled from theoretical assumptions used to guide the research design of a study. The chapter ends with an argu- ment in favor of including more rather than fewer layers of meaning asso- ciated with aspectual concepts in the design of studies (adjuncts, context, and so on). The second subsection on methodology is composed of three chapters dealing with aspects related to the collection of data (Bardovi-Harlig) and the analysis of the collected data (Shirai, Comajoan). In Chapter 7, Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig discusses some of the advantages and drawbacks of open-ended tasks to collect data on L2 tense-aspect phenomena, and she relates that analysis to the use of controlled tasks. The chapter presents an exhaustive review of di¤erent types of open-ended tasks that have been used in SLA tense-aspect research: conversations, narrative extended mono- logic discourse (narratives and conversational narratives, elicited narratives, personal narratives, impersonal narratives, and personalized narratives), and nonnarrative monologic discourse (description, argument, and irrealis). For each type of task, the author discusses specific data examples, elicita- tion techniques, and practical considerations. The following two chapters, by Yas Shirai and Llorenc¸ Comajoan, respectively, follow a structure similar to the one adopted by Bardovi- Harlig in that both authors examine how lexical aspect categories and grounding categories have been defined and how particular constraints and conditions of such definitions bring about problematic issues in the coding of tense-aspect data. Chapter 8, in particular, tackles two particular questions: (a) How many lexical-aspectual categories do we need to code? and (b) Are aspectual categories similar across languages? The bulk of the chapter is dedicated to a detailed discussion of the most commonly used classification procedure of lexical aspectual categories, namely, Shirai (1991) and Shirai and Andersen (1995). Shirai discusses in detail the vari- ous tests for lexical use, as well as problematic cases for the classification of predicates (e.g., predicates that can be accomplishments or achievements; and the classification of predicates with the verbs say and come/go). Shirai argues for a data coding methodology that is detailed and rigorous enough so that it becomes as replicable as possible. Chapter 9 begins with a presentation of the Discourse Hypothesis and a discussion of definitions of narratives according to di¤erent authors. Next, several definitions of grounding are evaluated through an examination of how di¤erent studies have operationalized the two main grounding con-

Introduction

5

cepts: foreground and background. For ease of presentation, Comajoan divides the definitions into early definitions (based on the application of definitions from functional linguistics) and critical definitions, which examine the concepts critically and attempt to find clearer criteria for their definition. Comajoan’s discussion focuses primarily on the establishment of the Discourse Hypothesis, how foreground and background were defined within this hypothesis, and how the two concepts have evolved in current studies. The final section of the chapter addresses some of the problematic cases for the coding of foreground and background, namely its relation- ship with morphology and syntax (e.g., subordination), coding in di¤erent types of texts, and interpretation of the learner’s intended meaning. The final subsection on methodological matters is comprised by two chapters (10 and 11) that focus on the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative perspectives for the analysis of tense-aspect data. In Chapter 10, Robert Bayley begins with some practical information regarding matters of coding quantitative data, such as learner’s intended meaning and how to interpret and code it, and the coding of all the possible influences in the L2 acquisition of tense-aspect. The bulk of the chapter is devoted to a discussion of three methods that can deal with multiple variables (linguistic and nonlinguistic) in the L2 acquisition of tense and aspect; namely, multivariate analyses (focusing on logistic regres- sion), testing alternative hypotheses, and implicational scaling. The chapter will be of use to current and future researchers who are interested in collecting di¤erent types of data on L2 tense-aspect and investigating how di¤erent variables interact and contribute to the explanation of results for di¤erent tasks. Finally, in Chapter 11, Anna Giacalone-Ramat and Stefano Rastelli argue for the need to incorporate qualitative characteriza- tions of tense-aspect data into research programs by examining some of the advantages and drawbacks of qualitative analysis. From their perspec- tive, the traditional type of quantitative analysis, with its emphasis on classification (operational tests), misrepresents the important fact that learners often may not have the same representations as those posited by the researcher. Thus, Giacalone-Ramat and Rastelli propose a rationale and procedure of qualitative research on L2 aspect based on three compo- nents: tracking the same referent in di¤erent moments of time and exam- ining within-subject variability, making a comparison of L1-L2 verb pairs that can have di¤erent actional characteristics (e.g., see, watch; look for, find ), and comparing contexts in which aspectual pairs are produced in learner data (i.e., scope widening). The authors apply the three principles to past and current studies of Italian L2 by Chinese students and show

6

Llorenc¸ Comajoan and M. Rafael Salaberry

that learners at low levels use actionally underspecified verbs (contra the Lexical Aspectual Hypothesis 2 ) and use other cues to mark actionality. They argue that their results are not caused by frequency in the input, but rather they seem to be general and not restricted to learners with di¤erent L1s. In their conclusion, Giacalone-Ramat and Rastelli advo- cate for the use of qualitative research to investigate closely the learners’ semantic representations and posit hypotheses that then can be examined in a quantitative way. The volume closes with a chapter by M. Rafael Salaberry, Llorenc¸ Comajoan, and Paz Gonza´lez, in which the main themes of the volume are discussed and related to matters of integrating research theories and methodologies as well as language teaching. More specifically, the authors discuss four issues. First, they review the theoretical constructs discussed in the volume and examine them from the perspective of the dependent variable to be accounted for and the independent variables that contribute to the acquisition of L2 tense and aspect. Second, they discuss the main trends regarding methodology that have been addressed in the volume; namely, the need for the use of multivariate and rigorous data analyses that can allow for replication of studies. Third, the authors discuss the advantages and drawbacks of adopting a multiple methods perspective. And finally, a section on the e¤ect of explicit instruction on the acquisition of L2 tense and aspect is included, in which three guidelines for e¤ective instruction are provided. The article concludes with a call for further re- search that creates links between theoretical approaches and methodologies with the aim to establish stronger collaboration among researchers of L2 tense and aspect.

References

Ayoun, Dalila & M. Rafael Salaberry

2005 Tense and aspect in Romance languages. Amsterdam: John Ben-

jamins. Bardovi-Harlig, Kathleen

2000 Tense and aspect in second language acquisition: Form, meaning, and use. Oxford: Blackwell.

2. The terms Lexical Aspect Hypothesis (LAH) and Aspect Hypothesis (AH) are used indistinctively by di¤erent authors in the chapters of the volume.

Introduction

7

Binnick, Robert

1991 Time and the verb: A guide to tense and aspect. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bybee, Joan, Revere Perkins & William Pagliuca

1994 The evolution of grammar: Tense, aspect, and modality in the lan- guages of the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rocca, Sonia

2007 Child second language acquisition: A bi-directional study of English and Italian tense-aspect morphology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Salaberry, M. Rafael

2008 Marking past tense in second language acquisition. London:

Continuum.

Salaberry, M. Rafael & Yasuhiro Shirai

2002 The L2 acquisition of tense-aspect morphology. Amsterdam: John

Benjamins.

Shirai, Yasuhiro

1991 Primacy of aspect in language acquisition: Simplified input and pro- totype. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA, Ph.D. dissertation.

Shirai, Yasuhiro & Roger Andersen

1995 The acquisition of tense-aspect morphology: A prototype account. Language 71. 743–762.

Slabakova, Roumyana

2001 Telicity in second language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Wul¤, Stefanie, Nick Ellis, Ute Ro¨ mer, Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig & Chelsea LeBlanc

2009 The acquisition of tense-aspect: Converging evidence from cor- pora, cognition, and learner constructions. Modern Language Journal 93. 354–369.

Part I.

Theoretical representations of tense and aspect in L2 studies

Chapter 1

A Cognitive Grammar perspective on tense and aspect

Susanne Niemeier

1.

Introduction

Cognitive Grammar (CG), belonging to the framework of Cognitive Lin- guistics (CL), is founded mainly on earlier work by Langacker (1987a, 1991) and is a relatively recent linguistic approach. Focusing on the English tense/ aspect (TA) system, this chapter will outline the theoretical basis for CG’s view on tense and aspect and also provide reasons for CG’s didactic poten- tial. Although CG is not a completely uniform approach, the theoretical description of the English TA system takes a prominent place within all of the various CL approaches to grammar (e.g., Fauconnier 1994, 1997; Fauconnier and Turner 2002; Langacker 1991a, b, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2008a, b, c, 2009, 2011; Radden and Dirven 2007; Taylor 2002). All of these frameworks have in common that they treat language as an integral facet of cognition and regard grammatical phenomena such as TA as meaningful (i.e., providing language users with clues for understanding). The ‘‘meanings’’ of grammatical phenomena are of course more abstract than those of lexical items – for example, the meaning of the English plural -s can be glossed as ‘‘more than one’’ – but they are nevertheless helpful for the correct interpretation of the utterance in question. Based on the assumption that situations are generally not reflected directly in linguistic forms but by means of elaborate cognitive construals, the ways in which people structure their experiences through language can be investigated. Therefore, a crucial role in CG is assigned to the notion and analysis of construals. More recently, a range of publications has been dedicated to CG applica- tions to the areas of second language acquisition and grammar instruction (e.g., Achard and Niemeier 2004; De Knop and De Rycker 2008; Doiz- Bienzobas 1995, 2002; Pu¨ tz, Niemeier, and Dirven 2001a, b; Robinson and Ellis 2008, Salaberry 2008; Tyler 2008; Tyler, Mueller, and Vu 2010) in which researchers argue that due to its usage-based nature and its focus on (conceptual) meaning, cognitive grammar may o¤er foreign language learners a descriptively adequate and intuitively comprehensible account of grammar.

12

Susanne Niemeier

Focusing mainly on Langacker’s foundational approach to tense and aspect (but also integrating further approaches along the line, such as Fauconnier 1994, 1997; Niemeier and Reif 2008; Radden and Dirven 2007 as well as Tyler and Evans 2001), this chapter intends to address the following questions: How can the phenomenon of the interaction of situation type (or lexical/inherent aspect) and grammatical/viewpoint aspect be explained in CG terms, and how can it be explained to the foreign language learner? How can apparent restrictions on the combination of certain TA components and the role of the ground in the conceptualiza- tion of situations expressed by tensed verbs be explained in CG terms and also to the foreign language learner? Furthermore, how can we take account of the diverse non-temporal uses of tense and present this network of extended uses of the ed-morpheme in a foreign language classroom? It will be demonstrated how a prototype account of TA categories (e.g., Shirai and Andersen 1995, Shirai 2002) might render extended or more peripheral uses plausible to the language learner (which in ‘‘traditional’’ TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) approaches tend to be treated as ‘‘exceptions’’). Concerning non-prototypical uses of aspect, the focus is on the use of the progressive with iterative processes (as in She kicked her little brother versus She was kicking her little brother), the use of the progressive with involuntary sensory perception (as in I see a bird fly by versus I am seeing Tom tonight) and the use of the non-progressive with performatives (as in I promise to be on time). With respect to tense, the following non-temporal uses of the present and past tenses are dis- cussed: the expression of reality and irreality (epistemic stance), the desig- nation of salience (foregrounding/backgrounding), and the attenuation of speech acts (politeness phenomena), which all seem to rely on the image schema of proximity versus distance, be it in a temporal or in a non- temporal way. Finally, I briefly comment on the necessity of empirical research in the foreign language classroom, outlining potential research topics and methodological procedures.

2. Basic CL assumptions

As mentioned above, CL (and as such also CG) sees all facets of language, including grammar, as meaningful, and posits – in contrast to other ap- proaches such as Transformation Grammar – that meaning is the most important issue in language. Meaning is not only present in lexis, where it is easily discernible, but also in grammar, albeit in a more abstract

Cognitive perspective

13

way. Grammar is reducible to symbolic relationships, that is, to form- meaning pairings. Consequently, CL does not see lexis and grammar as two di¤erent structural principles of language, but as belonging together and as being located on a continuum, in which lexis is situated at one pole and grammar at the other pole, with various in-between positions. In Langacker’s terms, ‘‘lexicon, morphology and syntax form a continuum of symbolic units serving to structure conceptual content for expressive purposes’’ (1987a: 35). As a CG analysis of tense and aspect relies on the abstract meaning potential of the two phenomena in question, it may be better equipped than other approaches to deal with tense and aspect in a foreign language classroom setting, where meaningful explanations are the basic ingredient for the learners’ understanding. Furthermore, CL is based on the assumption that meaning is on the one hand embodied (Gibbs 2006 or Ziemke, Zlatev, and Frank 2007) – as it derives from our general cognition, world-view and experiences (for example, the expression a warm welcome metaphorically derives from our experience that to feel human warmth is positive, which goes back to our earliest experiences in life when as an infant we were held by a parent) – and, on the other hand, meaning is seen as socially embedded (cf. Tomasello’s 2005 usage-based approach to language acquisition). CG and CL thus attempt to explain facts about language in terms of other properties and mechanisms of the human mind, body, and social environment. They furthermore hold that language is a reflection of human cognition and conceptualization. Based on the premise that human perceptions of the world are always filtered through our particular physical and neurological architecture, CL argues in a rather constructivist way that humans do not have direct access to an objective, external reality (see, for example, Lako¤ 1987: 266 or Evans and Green 2006: 47). Rather, what people do have direct access to are their own subjective conceptualizations. For example, language users can decide which perspec- tive they want to take on a certain event – what to foreground, what to background, what to omit, and what to focus on. Thus, a simple event such as two people shaking hands can linguistically be presented in very di¤erent ways: linguistic representations of such an event may di¤er con- cerning, for instance, who instigated the handshake, what the handshake meant (greeting, congratulation, sealing of a deal, etc.), what the people felt, etc. The linguistic representation of an event is rooted in the concep- tualization that the event evokes in a language user or that the language user decides to adopt. Conceptualizations arise from the complex interac-

14

Susanne Niemeier

tions of a person’s rich cognitive abilities and our species-specific interac- tions with the external spatial physical-social world. Crucially, while claiming that human access to the external world is indirect and filtered, CL also argues that our interactions with the physical- social world are fundamental to how our cognition is shaped. Basic force dynamics, such as our understanding of gravity or motion along a path, provide foundational schemata that give structure to our understanding of many other domains of experience. For example, if we are told that a plane has landed at Frankfurt airport, due to our basic knowledge of the source-path-goal schema we know that it must have started somewhere (source), and that it must have flown through the air (path). As we metaphorically conceive of time as abstract motion on the time line (at least in Western societies), we also know that if we are told that an event lasted until a certain point of time (goal), it must have started before (source) and must have had some duration (path). As we will see when discussing the non-progressive versus the progressive aspect, di¤erent con- ceptualizations of the same event are involved, where the non-progressive foregrounds the goal and the progressive foregrounds the path. Humans, who are fundamentally social in character, use language as a tool to interact with others. Language allows us to externalize our internal conceptualizations in order to make them accessible to other humans. Depending on how exactly we want to present our concepts, we can use di¤erent construals. For instance, if we want to focus on the fact that a certain event is ongoing at speech time (What are you doing? – I’m reading the newspaper), we may want to use the progressive aspect. If, however, we want to present the same event in a holistic way, such as in an enumera- tion of events, we may want to use the non-progressive aspect (Every morning I have a cup of co¤ee and read the newspaper). The primary function of language is communication and we learn lan- guage by using it in communicative and social contexts. This is especially true for the first language, but also for further and foreign languages. Since language is understood to reflect conceptualization, language is all about meaning, as also emphasized by CL’s focus on the symbolic aspects of language. CL sees linguistic meaning not as referential and objective, but as subjective, dynamic, flexible, encyclopaedic and usage-based. Not only words and expressions but also the grammar, or morphosyntax, of a language reflects conceptualization and is therefore meaningful. A simple example for this is the iconic e¤ect of the English plural morpheme -s: more form is more meaning; that is, adding an extra morpheme to a

Cognitive perspective

15

noun adds the extra meaning of plurality. 1 CG’s focus on the motivated, meaningful connections between forms that are often ignored by other theories of language is one more reason why a CG approach may be useful to second language pedagogy, because what is motivated and mean- ingful can be explained. This means furthermore that so-called ‘‘exceptions’’ are no exceptions after all, but that there are explainable reasons why they behave in a dif- ferent way than the prototypical forms. Examples for this claim can be found in Section 3.2, dealing with non-prototypical uses of aspect that are

treated as ‘‘exceptions’’ in many textbooks of English as a foreign language.

CL applications thus invite a change of perspective in that they do not

posit a clear borderline between rules and exceptions but instead refer to language phenomena as situated within a radial network of meaning with more prototypical instances at the core and more marginal instances on

the fringes, all of them related and explainable (Radden 1992; Tyler and

Evans 2004). Learners should not be expected anymore to learn by heart seemingly idiosyncratic ‘‘exceptions’’, which they may not understand and which are

therefore hard for them to memorize, but to reconstruct them via the con- nections to the prototypes. For example, as will be shown later on, the use of the non-progressive with verbs of involuntary sensory perception as in I see a bird fly by is not to be treated as an exception but can be attributed to the fact that the event of seeing is too short to zoom into and therefore

has no duration which could be focused on. Such an approach is also be-

lieved to be helpful for teachers as they can use the motivated connections as explanatory tools. The main aim then is to make learners aware of the motivation behind linguistic phenomena and to help them understand how language works, as understanding is seen as a precondition for learn- ing. This seems to be possible via the inherent explanatory power of CL approaches. Furthermore, grammar and lexis are not seen as separate from each other (at least in German EFL textbooks there is always a distinction between ‘‘grammar/structure’’ and ‘‘vocabulary/content’’), but as two poles of a continuum, thus structured by the same organizational principles. In the following sections, the above assumptions will be out- lined using the English TA system as an example.

1. This is similar in pidgin and creole languages which often rely on reduplication in order to indicate plurality, as the languages may not yet have developed a specialized plural morpheme.

16

Susanne Niemeier

3.

Aspect

Although every single English verb is by definition always marked for aspect as well as for tense (and also for modality) at the same time, aspect and tense will be looked at separately in the following paragraphs. At some important points, however, the interaction between the two subsys- tems will be highlighted. Assuming that grammatical units, just like lexical ones, are meaningful in the sense that they possess a phonological and a conceptual pole (Langacker 1991b), the aspect system and the tense system also carry meaning. In contrast to lexical units, however, gram- matical units are used to express rather abstract meanings, such as, for example, ‘‘being relevant for a time before the communicative present’’ in the case of the past tense marker. The di¤erent meanings of the aspect system and the tense system may interact and influence each other. When we look at tense, we take an external perspective on situations that specifies the time of a situation as well as its reality status, whereas when we look at aspect we adopt an internal perspective; thus, we are concerned with the internal temporal structure of a situation (Comrie 1976: 3), which is actually part of the situation itself. Situations can be viewed from di¤erent perspectives, and the language user can normally choose between di¤erent ways of presenting a situation. Langacker calls a ‘‘perspective’’ a viewing arrangement, which he sees as ‘‘the overall relationship between the ‘viewers’ and the situation being ‘viewed’’’ (Langacker 2008a: 73) and defines it as follows:

Inherent in every usage event is a presupposed viewing arrangement, pertaining to the relationship between the conceptualizers and the situation being viewed. The default arrangement finds the speaker and hearer together in a fixed location, from which they report on actual occurrences in the world around them. There are however numerous kinds of departures from this canonical circumstance. The departures help make it evident that the default arrangement, so easily taken for granted, is nonetheless an essen- tial part of the conceptual substrate supporting the interpretation of expres- sions. Whether canonical or special, the viewing arrangement has a shaping influence on the conception entertained and consequently on the linguistic structure used to code it (Langacker 2001: 16¤.).

In other words, our own perspective on the situation to be represented linguistically is integrated into the upcoming representation itself, because the neutral situation – i.e., speaker and hearer conceptualizing the same

Cognitive perspective

17

situation from exactly the same perspective – will be extremely rare. The speaker encodes his/her subjectivity grammatically and the hearer decodes it – not necessarily in exactly the same way, which, at least from a con- structivist point of view, is seen as an impossibility – but the speaker has at least provided the hearer with valid hints concerning his/her subjective perspective, for example whether an action is seen as being in progress or as completed. For instance, when a speaker says I am living in Paris, this may indicate to the hearer that Paris is only the speaker’s temporary loca- tion, as the use of the progressive with inherently unbounded verbs such as to live indicates that the situation may change.

3.1. Interaction of situation type and grammatical aspect

In contrast to heavily tense-prominent languages (Bhat 1999), as for instance German, Swedish, or Danish, in English every single verb has to be marked for aspect. 2 Although Bhat argues that English is a tense- prominent language as well, it is so to a lesser extent (see also Dekel 2010), and we may have to assume a continuum here. Looking at the other end of this continuum, English di¤ers from aspect-prominent lan- guages, such as for example Slavic languages, as it only has a clearly marked progressive aspect, but no special marker for the contrasting ele- ment in the pair. 3 Although there is no widespread agreement about the existence of a non-progressive aspect in English, I assume in this chapter (following Radden and Dirven 2007: 177–196) that there is a cross-wise aspectual contrast in English, a¤ecting both processes and states, which are, according to Langacker, subtypes of situations. According to Radden and Dirven (2007: 47), the term situation is to be understood ‘‘in the sense of events that happen or states that things are

2. It may be mainly due to this di¤erence that aspect errors are the most frequent errors committed by German learners of English (Niemeier and Reif 2008). German verbs do not need to be marked for aspect, as aspect is either indi- cated in various optional lexical ways or omitted altogether. Therefore, many German learners of English tacitly assume that aspect is not an obligatory category in English. Most EFL textbooks used in Germany do not explain this to them either.

3. In Slavic languages, aspect is an important formal category marking imper- fective and perfective construals of situations (see Schmiedtova´ and Flecken

2008).

18

Susanne Niemeier

in’’, although the distinction between events (which I prefer to call processes, following Langacker) and states is not always a clear-cut one. Processes can further be subdivided into durative and punctual processes, and states can be subdivided into permanent and transitory states. Starting with prototypical scenarios, situations can be classified into two categories according to their inherent temporal structure: they either refer to inherently unbounded situations (which Langacker calls ‘‘imperfec- tive’’, 2008: 147) or to inherently bounded situations (which Langacker calls

‘‘perfective’’). However, ‘‘categorisation is flexible and subject to subtle con- ceptual influence from a variety of sources’’ (Langacker 2008: 148). Langacker’s opposition between perfectives and imperfectives is di¤erent from, but partly compatible with Vendler’s categories (Vendler 1967), as Langacker states that the ‘‘imperfective class is equivalent to what Vendler 1967 calls ‘states’, his other three categories (‘achievements’, ‘activities’ and ‘accomplishments’) are subclasses of perfectives’’ (1987b: 79). While Langacker is aware that activities designate processes that ‘‘are easily con- strued as being internally homogeneous’’ (2009: 189) and thus bear some resemblance to imperfectives, he claims that ‘‘they are nonetheless conceived as occurring in bounded episodes, and bounding is the critical property for the perfective/imperfective contrast’’. Inherently unbounded situations are internally homogeneous and not susceptible to change (Niemeier and Reif 2008; Williams 2002); thus, they are not expected to come to an end. This is not the same as saying that they will never end, and they must of course have had a beginning at

that the verb itself excludes them [i.e., the

some point in time, it is just

beginning and the end] from what it puts onstage for focused viewing’’ (Langacker 2008: 147). Such situations can either be permanent states, such as <BE BRITISH>, which – according to our commonsensical world knowledge – is normally not going to change throughout the lifetime of a person, or they can be potentially transient states, such as <LIVE IN LONDON>, for which a change cannot be ruled out, but is neither prob- able nor predictable and is thus not part of our viewing frame. By contrast, inherently bounded situations are internally heterogeneous and susceptible to change, because they allow internal development and are expected to come to an end at some point. Inherently bounded situations can either have explicit boundaries, such as <BUILD A SNOWMAN>, which is by definition over once the snowman is finished, or they can have implicit boundaries, such as <WANDER ABOUT THE PARK>, a process that, although it does not have a fixed endpoint, is very unlikely

Cognitive perspective

19

to last forever. 4 As already mentioned, our world knowledge provides us with an intuitive understanding of the default readings of situations, due to which the prototypical interpretations of situations like those outlined above develop naturally, at least for native speakers. We may, however, not want to focus on the prototypical perspective but indicate that we see

a given situation di¤erently or want the hearer to see it di¤erently. This is where grammatical aspect comes into play. Grammatical aspect (i.e., the use of either the non-progressive or the

progressive form) interacts with lexical aspect in that it o¤ers the speaker

a means to construe an idealized situation in di¤erent ways. 5 Depending

on the type of situation (whether it is inherently bounded or unbounded), and depending on whether it is construed as a single situation or as a repeated situation, grammatical aspect can have di¤erent conceptual e¤ects. If we compare the following two sentences, we see that they both refer to the same idealized situation, that is, <BUILD A SNOWMAN>, an

inherently bounded situation with explicit boundaries. However, this situa- tion is realized di¤erently in (1a) and (1b) as far as grammatical aspect is

concerned:

(1)

a.

Nick built a snowman.

b.

Nick was building a snowman.

As we can see, (1a) is the default (i.e., the unmarked mode for the verb to build ), as the situation as such is inherently bounded, thus involving change through time. The situation’s beginning (initial boundary) as well as its endpoint (final boundary) are part of the mental representation. At some point in time, Nick starts to roll the snowballs that are then stacked up one upon another and decorated with a hat, a scarf, a broom and so on in order to become the finished snowman in the end. While the non-progressive aspect in (1a) expresses that the situation is viewed in its entirety and that both its beginning and its endpoint fall within the scope of predication, the use of the progressive aspect in (1b)

4. At this point the bounded situation <BUILD A SNOWMAN> would turn into the inherently unbounded situation <BE A SNOWMAN>, a potentially transient state because it is not expected to last forever, but only until the weather gets warmer.

5. ‘‘Idealized situation’’ is to be understood in the sense of Smith (2009: 9), who claims that ‘‘when speakers talk about actual situations, they invoke abstract representations, or idealized situations types. The idealized situation types are abstractions that represent the properties characteristic of di¤erent situations’’.

20

Susanne Niemeier

has the e¤ect of unbounding the situation. 6 Another notable di¤erence between (1a) and (1b) consists in the fact that while the situation in (1a) is perceived as being complete in itself and is thus not susceptible to change anymore, the situation in (1b) is construed as being in progress and is thus (at least potentially) susceptible to change (Williams 2002: 88). We find the same unbounding e¤ect if we look at inherently bounded situations with implicit boundaries, such as in (2a,b):

(2)

a.

We wandered about the park at night.

b.

We were wandering about the park at night.

The only di¤erence between the snowman example in (1) and the park exam- ple in (2) is that the boundaries of the situation <BUILD A SNOWMAN> are explicit, while the boundaries of <WANDER ABOUT THE PARK> remain implicit. A walk in the park starts at some point in time and needs to end at some point in time. It is ‘‘conceptualized as some kind of bounded episode, irrespective of whether a natural endpoint is discernible’’ (Langacker 2001: 13). There is no ‘‘change in state’’ or any internal struc- turing involved (Klein 1994, 1995), so we are not dealing with a proto- typical example of an inherently unbounded situation here. Whereas in (2a) we speak about a completed instance of the situation <WANDER ABOUT THE PARK>, in (2b) we zoom into the situation, defocus its boundaries, and focus instead on its middle part (i.e., its ongoingness). As pointed out above, the use of the progressive aspect unbounds inher- ently bounded situations. If we turn to inherently unbounded situations, it becomes obvious that the progressive needs to have a di¤erent e¤ect on them – as in these cases there is no need to unbound an already unbounded situation anymore. Let us first consider a prototypical state verb such as to live:

(3)

a.

My best friend lives in London.

b.

My best friend is living in London.

Example (3) shows that inherently unbounded situations such as (3a) are construed as lasting states that are not susceptible to change when used in

6. This process is called a ‘‘defocusing of boundaries’’ by Schmiedtova´ and Flecken (2008): both the initial and the final boundaries of the situation are not gone, but excluded from the speaker’s focus.

Cognitive perspective

21

the default mode (i.e., with the non-progressive aspect). 7 When used with the progressive as in (3b), however, implicit boundaries are added to the situation and it is no longer seen as a lasting, but instead as a temporary state (i.e., construed as having implicit boundaries and as being susceptible to change). Instead of defocusing the boundaries – as it does with inher- ently bounded situations as in (1b) and (2b) – the progressive aspect with inherently unbounded situations imposes boundaries. Such a conversion from an indefinitely lasting state to a temporary state is often visible in the description of characters or of people’s behaviour:

(4)

a.

You are arrogant.

b.

You are being arrogant.

When we utter a sentence like (4a), we are referring to a characteristic quality of a person or to a person’s general style of behaviour, whereas when we use (4b), we are referring to the current, temporary behaviour of a person, independent of their normal behaviour and character. They may not be arrogant at all, but in this one special moment they are acting as if they were. In other words, we are dealing here with a cross-wise aspectual contrast (cf. also Radden and Dirven 2007: Chapter 8). That is, the progressive changes the default boundary situation, a view that di¤ers slightly from

Langacker’s perspective. Langacker claims that ‘‘the overall e¤ect of a pro-

gressive is

(2008: 155), which coincides with the defocusing of boundaries for inher- ently bounded situations. However, he does not mention the cross-wise e¤ect, namely that the progressive can impose boundaries on an inherently unbounded situation but analyzes this latter phenomenon di¤erently: he

.) to convert a perfective process into an imperfective one’’

7. In textbook grammars and other learner grammars, learners are generally confronted with a list of ‘‘state verbs’’ and are usually told that these verbs cannot take the progressive aspect (for more details see Niemeier 2008). Such a list is supposed to be learnt by heart, which is not exactly a useful learning strategy, as the learners may face di‰culties because they do not know any reason why the ‘‘exceptions’’ di¤er from the rule and may thus be unable to construct or reconstruct their meaning. Although the role of frequency of a linguistic phenomenon has largely been underestimated so far (see Chapter 3), frequency does not seem likely to be a decisive factor for a rehabilitation of the ‘‘learning by heart’’ strategy, because ‘‘exceptions’’ in grammar tend to be infrequent and thus do not normally appear as salient features in the linguistic input a learner receives – instead, they are by definition non-prototypical.

22

Susanne Niemeier

claims that when an imperfective verb is construed as referring to a bounded episode/temporary state, the progressive – only admissible with perfectives – can be used because the normally imperfective verb in that case relates to a (non-prototypical) perfective instance. Opposing these two views may seem akin to a chicken-or-the-egg question (i.e., what came first: the concept that influenced the form or the form that influenced the concept?). I would like to interpret this potential dilemma rather as either speaker- or hearer-oriented: for the speaker, the concept comes first and needs to be expressed accordingly. That is, seeing a situation as unbounded/imperfective may trigger the use of the progressive, whereas for the hearer, the form used helps him/her to interpret the concept/meaning that the speaker wants to get across. 8 For teachers this would imply that the concepts their learners want to express are the most important assets, as these concepts influence the grammatical form to be chosen. For example, when dealing with aspect in a class of English as a foreign language, the idea of ‘‘zooming into a situation’’ – visualizable by a lens or a keyhole stencil (Niemeier and Reif 2008) – might be employed in order to have the learners think about what they really want to express. In other words, learners should first be made aware of what they want to express so that they can then focus on how to express this and employ the form that fits the intended meaning. To sum up, the non-progressive and the progressive aspect have an e¤ect on the construal of a situation, indicating how the internal constitu- tion of a situation is viewed. With inherently bounded situations, the non- progressive aspect construes the situation as complete in itself, including its boundaries (i.e., its starting point and its endpoint), as in (1a) and (2a). The progressive aspect, by contrast, has the e¤ect of defocusing the boundaries of the situation by ‘‘zooming in’’ on the situation (Langacker 2000: 228) and thus construing it as ongoing, as in (1b) and (2b). With inherently unbounded situations, the non-progressive construes the situa- tion as continuing indefinitely, as in (3a) and (4a). The progressive, by contrast, imposes implicit temporal boundaries on the situation, as in (3b) and (4b), seeing it as potentially susceptible to external change and

8. For EFL purposes, working with the concept of the cross-wise aspectual con- trast has proven to be a lot more fruitful as learners can relate to it far better than they can to Langacker’s interpretation. The concept of ‘‘boundaries’’ along with the idea that the progressive changes the default setting of the boundaries of a verb’s meaning is apparently easier to understand than the concept of (im)perfectivity (personal experience).

Cognitive perspective

23

thus focusing on its temporariness and its possible transition to adjacent states. Making learners aware of the meaning behind the aspectual system of English – a major source of errors at least for German learners of English, but presumably not only for these learners – may help avoid some of their errors, as they would not have to learn rules by heart and then simply reproduce them (or forget them). Instead, they can start from scratch: by understanding what aspect is about and how a grasp of the aspectual system enables them to fine-tune their utterances, they can express their own perspectives. This will potentially also change the learners’ notion of grammar as an opaque end in itself. The ‘‘boundaries’’ (or lack of these) are quite easily visualizable (Niemeier 2008; Niemeier and Reif 2008), thus enabling double coding. As the learners are not inhibited by rules with exceptions, they can handle the language more freely and more crea- tively. They could, for example, create fantasy stories about what they saw when they were clandestinely looking through a keyhole, witnessing ‘‘action in progress’’ and trying to interpret it (for further examples, see Niemeier 2008 and Niemeier and Reif 2008).

3.2. Non-prototypical uses of aspect

Accounts of aspect in textbook and other learner grammars usually present aspect in terms of rules and exceptions to these rules. 9 For example, Ungerer et al. (1992) just state – without any further explanation – that iterative verbs are used in the progressive form to express a series of repeated actions, but that when a definite number of repetitions is stated, the simple past has to be used. 10 This is not helpful for learners as they will have problems to understand why this is the case. In contrast to this, CG argues that what are traditionally called ‘‘exceptions’’ are not excep- tions at all, but rather non-prototypical uses of aspect which are meaning- ful and therefore explainable. In this section, three apparent ‘‘deviations’’

9. That is, if they present aspect at all, because it is generally integrated into the chapters on tense, most frequently without even making use of the term aspect. Although it is debatable whether learners need the technical terms, they should at least be aware of the concepts behind the terms and know the di¤erence between them. 10. Ungerer et al. (1992) is a book-size learner grammar. Although it is – as of this writing – one of the ‘‘better’’ grammar books for German schools and although it acknowledges some cognitive principles, it still works with rules and (unexplained) exceptions.

24

Susanne Niemeier

will be discussed, namely the use of the progressive with iterative pro- cesses, the use of the progressive with verbs of involuntary sensory percep- tion, and the use of the non-progressive with performatives.

3.2.1. Iterative processes 11

Starting with iterative processes (such as kick, hop, knock, etc.), at first sight they seem to be prototypical members of the class of inherently bounded situations, as the processes that they describe are clearly delimited in time. Still, such verbs do not normally allow the progressive aspect. If we com- pare the following two sentences, it is obvious that they describe di¤erent scenarios:

(5) a.

Daria kicked her little brother.

b.

Daria was kicking her little brother.

In (5a), the protagonist kicked her brother only once, whereas in (5b), she gave him several kicks. We cannot use the progressive to refer to a single kick because the process is too short to zoom into: in other words, it does not allow an internal perspective. With the inherently bounded situation <KICK>, we have a starting point as well as an endpoint, but as these two nearly coincide temporally, the process itself does not have any dura- tion. Using the progressive with an inherently bounded situation means defocusing the situation’s starting point as well as its endpoint, which in the case of such punctual, short processes like <KICK> leaves actually nothing to view. Still, the progressive can of course be found with such verbs, as in (5b), only the interpretation then changes to that of an itera- tive, repetitive process. When we use the progressive with such minimal- duration verbs, we conceptually extend the situation’s duration in order to be able to zoom into the middle phase between the starting point and the end point, which then results in an interpretation of repetitive short actions. We therefore interpret sentences such as (5b) as referring to a succession of short processes such as kicking or hopping, which are,

11. I will use the term ‘‘iterative’’ here for simplicity’s sake. If an event of no or very short duration is meant, we should technically speak about a semelfac- tive, whereas when this event is repeated, we speak of an iterative. This section of the chapter will cover both concepts. Semelfactives have uniplex structure, whereas iterative have multiplex structure (see Evans and Green 2006: 519 on the concept of plexity). For a di¤erentiation between iteratives and habituals from a Langackerian perspective, see Salaberry (2008).

Cognitive perspective

25

according to Langacker (2008a: 156), ‘‘construed as constituting a single overall event of bounded duration’’. We can then highlight and zoom into the internal duration of this overall situation, defocusing the beginning and the endpoint of the sister’s tantrum. If such a series of short, punctual processes were filmed and replayed in slow motion, also a single kick could be referred to as She is kicking her brother because the duration of that process would then be long enough to zoom into (Niemeier 2008: 317). What we are dealing with here is therefore not an exception or a devia- tion, but a semantic mismatch, (i.e., meaning inconsistencies) between verbs denoting short processes and the concept of unboundedness. If there is no middle phase between the boundaries to zoom into, unbounding is not possible. It becomes possible again if we reconstruct the overall situation as consisting of several repeated sub-processes. If our learners are already familiar with the notion of a situation’s ‘‘boundaries’’, it is quite easy for them to discover why short, bounded, non-prototypical processes have to be treated di¤erently from prototypical bounded situations. However, this claim is still waiting for empirical validation. As suggested in Niemeier (2008), teachers could introduce the notion of boundaries via the count-noun/mass-noun distinction, which presents no problem for German learners of English. Once the learners know to pay attention to ‘‘boundaries’’, the ‘‘content’’ within the boundaries and the important role of their own perspective, they can be made aware of the fact that there is no ‘‘content’’ in iterative processes and no possibility to ‘‘zoom into’’ the situation. This then rules out a defocusing of the boundaries and therefore the use of the progressive aspect, which would focus on the (non-existent) ‘‘content’’, is ruled out as well. A repetition of a short pro- cess would then extend the situation, creating duration and thus ‘‘content’’ between the boundaries, and at the same time allow for a ‘‘zooming in’’ perspective.

3.2.2. Verbs of involuntary sensory perception

The second apparent deviation to be discussed is closely related to the first one. Verbs of involuntary sensory perception (e.g., see, hear, feel, smell, taste) generally describe very brief processes and the majority of EFL text- books and grammars lists them as exceptions because they do not take the progressive aspect. 12 Again, CG argues that these verbs are no exceptions

12. One example may serve as illustration: in the brand-new and widely distributed textbook series Green Line for higher secondary schools in Germany (‘‘Gym- nasien’’), we find the following text in the grammar section of volume 5: ‘‘Die

26

Susanne Niemeier

but that they do not necessarily invite an internal perspectivization due to their brevity, just as described above for verbs like kick, hop, nod, and the like. If we verbalize a perception such as <SEE A FLASH> or <HEAR A GUNSHOT>, then these processes will be over before we will have had the time to contemplate or describe them, (i.e., the processes lack duration and their onsets and o¤sets nearly coincide). In this respect, verbs of punc- tual involuntary sensory perception behave in a similar way as the verbs for short processes described in 3.2. In contrast to these, however, verbs of involuntary sensory perception do not allow an iterative interpretation as this would represent a semantic incompatibility – if something is in- voluntary, it cannot be repeated at will because by definition one’s will is not involved. If such processes are repeated, then we are dealing with voluntary sensory perception (watch/observe/look at the fireworks; listen to gunshots during a battle, etc.) and the verbs for voluntary sensory per- ceptions behave like any other inherently bounded verbs. 13 However, verbs of involuntary sensory perception can nevertheless be used with the progressive aspect in two respects. On the one hand, the processes being involuntarily perceived may have some kind of extension as for example in <FEEL PAIN> (i.e., may not be punctual such as <SEE A FLASH> or <HEAR A GUNSHOT>), in which case they are

progressive form ist normalerweise nicht mo¨ glich bei Verben, die eine Sinnes- wahrnehmung beschreiben – wie to notice, to see, to hear, to sound, to smell, to look (¼aussehen) etc.’’. (Horner et al. 2010: 118). Translation: ‘‘the progres- sive form is normally not possible with verbs describing sensory perception, such as to notice, to see, to hear, to sound, to smell, to look (referring to out- ward appearance), etc.’’. Not only does the book fail to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary sensory perception, but it furthermore adds the verbs to notice and to look to the category of sensory perception and – most lamentable of all – it does not provide any reasons for the verbs’ ‘‘deviating’’ behaviour nor does it explain what is meant by ‘‘normally’’.

13. Such a lexical switch is not only to be found in English. Ibarretxe (1999) studies the polysemy of perception verbs in English, Basque, and Spanish, basing her research on the classification of perception verbs following Viberg (1984) and Gisborne (1996), who claim that on the basis of the semantic role of their sub- jects, perception verbs can be divided into three groups: experience, activity, and percept. Not all languages fill all groups with di¤erent verbs, but when a verb is used for more than one category, it is used with a polysemous meaning. In German, we can find a similar distribution of verbs of involun- tary versus voluntary perception as in English, which is partly achieved via prefixation (sehen versus ansehen/betrachten; ho¨ren versus zuho¨ren; fu¨hlen versus befu¨hlen, anfassen; riechen versus beschnuppern).

Cognitive perspective

27

treated like any other bounded situation that has a duration we can zoom into for unbounding it. Although one might argue that such situations do not possess a long duration, according to Langacker, stability and dura- tion are relative and ‘‘what matters is whether a situation is construed as stable for the purpose at hand and whether this stability endures through the stretch of time considered relevant’’ (2008a: 149). If a sensation is pre- sented as constant for the brief temporal interval in question, it can be unbounded and used as an imperfective, as in I was feeling some pain in my left knee this morning – this is largely dependent on whether the object noun accompanying the verb in question invites a punctual interpretation (e.g., flash, gunshot) or not (e.g., light, music, pain). On the other hand, we find uses such as the one depicted in (6) below:

(6) She is seeing Peter tonight.

In this example, <SEE> metonymically stands for <MEET>, referring to the complete scenario connected to meeting a person, furthermore hinting at a touch of romance. <MEET> is a prototypical inherently bounded verb, encompassing various subprocesses (e.g., going to a bar, seeing Peter there, walking towards him, greeting him, having a drink with him, etc.) and, therefore having a certain duration which can be zoomed into. If verbs of involuntary perception are not being used in their basic, proto- typical sense but in more marginal, mostly metonymically motivated senses which no longer focus on the actual sensory perception in question but rather on the complete scenario, they gain duration and can therefore semantically accept an inner perspectivization, which in turn allows the progressive aspect. The sensory perception then just serves as a metonymic link.

3.2.3. Performatives

The third apparent deviation relates to the use of non-progressives with performatives. Performatives explicitly name speech acts ( promise, admit, swear, pronounce, sentence, apologize, etc.) and the speaker is always the subject. They are always bounded and are always uttered in the present tense as uttering them coincides with the notion of ‘‘doing them’’, there- fore we not only need to look at the (un)boundedness of such situations but also at the notion of the present tense. When we use the present tense, our speech time should temporally coincide with the situation time, but with a vast majority of situations, this is not possible. A situation such as <READ A BOOK> usually takes a lot longer than uttering the English

28

Susanne Niemeier

sentence *My son reads a book, and therefore the preconditions for the use of the simple present are violated. 14 Although <READ> is an inherently bounded situation, it cannot be framed as bounded when used in the pres- ent tense as it does not comprise both of the necessary boundaries – the starting point is included but the endpoint has not yet been reached. Rad-

den and Dirven (2007: 208) state that ‘‘the conceptual boundaries of most events do not neatly coincide with the temporal boundaries of uttering the speech act describing the event’’, therefore the simple present cannot nor- mally be used to describe bounded situations happening in the present time. If we use a performative speech act such as I promise to write the paper next week, we avoid the above-mentioned dilemma, as this sentence does not describe a situation but is the promise itself (i.e., by uttering the sentence the speaker performs the act of promising). This means that there

is temporal identity between the utterance of the speech act on the one

hand and performing the act of promising on the other hand. Therefore, situation time and speech time completely coincide. The verb to promise

is bounded and as the whole utterance contains the promise, the starting

point of the event as well as the endpoint fall within our viewing arrange- ment. In Langacker’s terms (2001: 26), performatives ‘‘not only tolerate but actually require the present tense. The reason is that a performative

represents a special viewing arrangement in which the process put onstage and profiled is the speech event itself’’. Performatives furthermore lack an epistemic problem that normally

arises with the use of the present tense, namely that of speaker knowledge.

If we want to speak about a situation in the present, we first of all have

to identify it in order to be able to describe it. However, as such mental

processing may take some time, and as the utterance itself has to correlate temporally with the situation when we use the simple present, the action is frequently well underway before we can even start to talk about it. As

a consequence, we are dealing with a temporal incongruity relative to

the starting point of the situation. 15 For example, when we see somebody repairing their car, the act of repairing the car takes a lot longer than to say *Peter repairs his car (the durational problem) and furthermore we

14. In other languages, however, such as in Spanish, French or German, this utterance would be perfectly acceptable in the simple present.

15. In Langacker’s terms, the epistemic problem has to do with the fact that ‘‘by the time we observe an event to find out what is happening, it is already too late to initiate a description that precisely coincides with it’’ (2009: 191).

Cognitive perspective

29

first have to identify what Peter is actually doing, as he might also be cleaning the car or inspecting it (the epistemic problem). None of these two problems exists with performatives because, on the one hand, the speech act is the situation, and on the other hand, the speaker performs the action intentionally (which means that there is no need for him/her to first identify the action, as it is known to him/her anyway). Thus, the explanatory potential of the CG view on aspect with respect to performa- tives is able to cater for this non-prototypical aspectual use. If the basic aspects (‘‘boundaries’’) are known to the learners, they can extend these in order to explain more marginal aspectual uses.

4.

Tense

Tense is our grammaticalized conceptualization of time. The description of this grammatical phenomenon needs to begin with a reminder that tense, aspect, and modality are essentially non-separable issues and are only separated here for practical reasons. Our human experience only allows us to experience the present time directly, as the past has already happened and can only be accessed by recall, although it can have reality status. The future has not yet happened and therefore can neither be expe- rienced directly nor does it have reality status. Cognitive linguists are divided into two camps concerning the idea of how many tenses English has: Langacker strongly argues for only two tenses, the present and the past, which according to him both have reality status and are morphol- ogically marked on the verb, whereas the future for him belongs to the modal system because it has no reality status and is non-inflectional. 16 Taylor (2002: 394) also states that English has only two tenses. Radden and Dirven (2007: 224), on the other hand, maintain that English has three tenses: the present, the past, and the future, although they admit the following:

our projection of events into the future always involves a certain amount

.] Future situations are therefore very much subject to

people’s imagination. As a result, English has a number of future tense forms expressing shades of (un)certainty about a future situation.

of uncertainty

16. In his 1991a publication (332), Langacker still speaks about the ‘‘future tense’’, whereas from his 1991b publication onwards he seems to have changed his views.

30

Susanne Niemeier

Expressions such as ‘‘people’s imagination’’ and ‘‘(un)certainty’’, however, can also be seen as arguments for shifting future-related verb constructions to the realm of what Langacker (2008a: 306) calls ‘‘conceived reality’’, namely modality. 17 It is also interesting to note that according to Radden and Dirven (2007: 227), those future forms with ‘‘the highest degree of certainty’’ are what they call ‘‘the planned future’’ (I’m getting married next month) and ‘‘the scheduled future’’ (My train leaves at six), both of which use present tense morphology. Furthermore, on a conceptual level it can be argued that only the present and the past tenses are used to signal relevance time for situations that are construed as having reality status (i.e., situations located in factual reality). This is why the present chapter will follow Langacker’s assumption that there are only two tenses in English and that future time is expressed by modality. 18 With respect to foreign language teaching, the question whether to teach that there are two tenses in English or instead to teach that there are three tenses is hard to answer. The three-tenses option is compatible with all traditional textbooks and theories, and the learners will probably be familiar with this approach from lessons in their native language, where from primary school onwards normally three tenses are identified. On the other hand, the two-tenses approach makes more conceptual sense for the reasons mentioned above (i.e., the connection to ‘‘reality’’). This should be easy to internalize for the learners and it also helps to explain certain uses of the present tense, as for example the fact that using the present tense to refer to the future lends more reality status to the future event in question. Furthermore, in this way the future auxiliary will does not have to be di¤erentiated from the modal auxiliary will, as they can both be seen as referring to potentiality space. Therefore, although tradition sees this di¤erently, I would advocate for the use of the two-tenses approach in the foreign language classroom.

17. For a Cognitive Linguistic way of teaching English modal verbs to speakers of other languages, see Tyler (2008) and Tyler, Mueller, and Ho (2010).

18. As the present chapter sees future as a modality, it will not refer to the various types of future. Radden and Dirven (2007: 225) di¤erentiate the following kinds of future: predicted future (We’ll have some sunshine), matter-of-course future (I’ll be seeing you), intentional future (I’m going to get married ), con- tingent future (It’s going to rain), planned future (I’m getting married next month), scheduled future (My train leaves at six) and background future (If I see him, I’ll send him home).

Cognitive perspective

31

4.1. Speech time, relevance time, and situation time

Langacker as well as Taylor (2002) subsume tense under the keyword ‘‘grounding’’, as ‘‘the term ground is used in CG to indicate the speech event, its participants (speaker and hearer), their interaction, and the immediate circumstances (notably, the time and place of speaking)’’ (Lan- gacker 2008a: 259). Tense situates the profiled relationship of an utterance with respect to the speaker’s current conception of reality. In a CG analysis of tense, three di¤erent components interact (see Figure 1). 19 The first component is the present moment of speech, or speech time. We live in ‘‘current reality’’, therefore the base of the tense system is the present moment of speech, or ‘‘speech time’’. In Radden and Dirven’s terms, ‘‘speech time o¤ers an anchor to locate the occurrence of situations in time’’ (2007: 202). It is the moment in time at which a communicative instance is produced. If we speak about today, the present moment of speech is part of the time region indicated by this lexical item. Similarly, if we speak about yesterday or tomorrow, these lexical items are still interpreted in relation to speech time (i.e., to the present moment of speech), although they do not include the present moment of speech time but refer to time intervals before or beyond speech time. The second component is the time span for which the speaker sees the proposition of the utterance as relevant (i.e., relevance time). The relevant time span for a proposition such as We were snowed in yesterday is past time, more precisely yesterday, as indicated by the grammatical past tense marker were and the temporal adverb yesterday. The third component in the relation between tense and time is the time at which a situation (i.e., a process or a state) is instantiated. It is therefore called situation time. 20 Situation time can correspond exactly to relevance time, as in (7):

19. This distinction is very similar to Klein’s distinction between ‘‘time of utterance’’, ‘‘time of situation’’, and ‘‘topic time’’ (Klein 1994). However, the two models do not coincide completely. According to Klein, tense serves to relate ‘‘topic times’’ – and not situations – to utterance time. Klein claims that the situa- tions themselves are not linked directly to utterance time, but only to topic time. This linking is then done by aspect (Klein 1994, 1995). ‘‘Relevance time’’, on the other hand, refers to the speaker’s viewpoint, i.e., to the time span for which the speaker sees the proposition of the utterance as relevant.

20. Radden and Dirven (2007: 202) use ‘‘event time’’ but I have decided to follow Niemeier and Reif (2008), who use ‘‘situation time’’, because in this context a situation can refer either to a process or to a state, and I believe it is con-

32

Susanne Niemeier

(7) We were snowed in yesterday.

On the other hand, relevance time can also comprise only a temporal sec- tion of situation time, as in example (8) below; or it can be di¤erent from situation time, as in the newspaper headline Snowstorm cuts o¤ villages. Although the situation took place a day before the headline appeared (i.e., in the past), and was remedied since, the newspaper headline wants to present it as being relevant to its readers’ present time in order to moti- vate potential readers to buy the newspaper and read the article. In the article itself, the past tense is then used, making relevance time equivalent to situation time. Tense does not locate the processes or states on the time axis, but it rather allows the speaker to select a time span that is relevant for what the speaker wants to say. This becomes clear when taking a closer look at the already mentioned example (8):

(8)

Emily and Charlotte came home to see her, but she was dead (British National Corpus: FNY 448)

Relevance time as well as situation time of the first part of the sentence are clearly in the past, but for the second part of the sentence, relevance time is in the past, whereas situation time encompasses not only the past but also the present, as the deceased remains dead also at the present moment (i.e., the situation still applies at speech time). In other words, the past tense in was dead does not primarily fulfil the function of locating the state of <BE DEAD> in past time, but instead it expresses that the rele- vant time span for what the speaker is saying lies somewhere in past time (¼relevance time), whereas the state of the person’s being dead comprises both past and present time (¼situation time). In this example then, rele- vance time only includes a part of situation time, namely the relevant time stretch which lies in the past.

4.2. Simple tenses

Radden and Dirven call the simple tenses (i.e., the present tense and the past tense), deictic times as they relate to speech time, ‘‘the only moment that is available to us in our perception of time’’ (2007: 204). They go on

ceptually somewhat di‰cult to subsume states under ‘‘events’’, a term which tends to have a more processual character. A similar problem occurs with Langacker’s terminology, where ‘‘process’’ is used as a cover term for both processes and states.

Cognitive perspective

33

Cognitive perspective 3 3 Figure 1 . Speech time, relevance time, and situation time to explain

Figure 1. Speech time, relevance time, and situation time

to explain that – as speech time is always in the present but situation time may be in the past – the use of the present tense always locates a situation at or around or including speech time, whereas the past tense locates a situation at a time earlier than speech time. The simple tenses furthermore give information about the reality status of a situation. Whereas the present tense gives information about the immediate reality of a situation, the past tense gives information about what Radden and Dirven call ‘‘known reality’’ and what Langacker calls ‘‘conceived reality’’ (2008a: 301), argu- ing that our knowledge about reality is partial and also not necessary infallibly accurate, and therefore can only be a part of factual reality.

What we consider as known by us we frequently ‘‘simply embrace

.) as

established knowledge. For a particular conceptualizer, C, this constitutes conceived reality. It is what C accepts as being real’’. Langacker (1991:

245) sees the canonical temporal distinction between present tense and past tense as a proximal/distal contrast in the epistemic sphere. In the following two sections, the two tenses with reality status will be briefly characterized.

34

Susanne Niemeier

4.2.1. Present tense

Notwithstanding its name, the simple present is, according to Langacker (2001), one of the most complex tenses of English. Langacker (1991: 242) relates the present tense to ‘‘immediate reality’’ and argues that speech time and reference time exactly co-occur in canonical uses of the present tense. 21 What makes the present tense so complex is that such a co-occurrence is not frequently to be found. Instead, there is a range of non-present uses of the present tense, where ‘‘what is being coded linguistically is not the actual occurrence of events, but their virtual occurrence as part of a non- canonical viewing arrangement (Langacker 2001: 30). In this section, I discuss the various uses of the simple present for the ‘‘true’’ present, for imperfective/bounded situations, for the narration of demonstrations, for the scheduled future, for stage directions, for the historical present, for ‘‘eternal truths’’, and for timeless situations as well as for habituals. The ‘‘true’’ present tense is not frequently used. As already described above, bounded events happening in the present at the time of speaking are generally too long to exactly coincide with the utterance itself (apart from very few instances such as The balloon pops). We are not only deal- ing with a durational problem here, but also with an epistemic one. Not only does the utterance need to cover the whole event, but a speaker also generally needs to first observe a situation in order to identify it and to be able to talk about it, which takes even more time away from the small time frame provided by the utterance. This is why bounded situations in the present generally take the progressive aspect in English, in this way getting rid of the boundaries that would otherwise not fit into the small time frame. The zooming-in e¤ect then profiles only that portion of the homogeneous state of a¤airs that is valid at speech time, such as in He

21. This is called ‘‘epistemic immediacy’’ by de Wit and Brisard (2009: 4), who argue that the simple present entails a notion of epistemic necessity and the present progressive a notion of epistemic contingency in the speaker’s concep- tion of reality. In his 2009 publication, Langacker agrees that he paid too little attention to the modal ‘‘import’’ of the present tense and also speaks about ‘‘epistemic immediacy’’ (Chapter 7) and recently (2011), he has devoted a com- plete paper to the commonalities and di¤erences of the temporal-coincidence approach (treating the English present as tense) and the epistemic-immediacy approach (treating the English present as modality), arguing that temporal coincidence provides the basis for epistemic immediacy, the former one being the category prototype and the latter one being the more general and sche- matic account.

Cognitive perspective

35

is reading a book. On the other hand, many uses of the simple present tense do not refer to speech time, but to either the future, or the past, or to so-called timeless situations or ‘‘eternal truths’’. As Langacker (2001) argues, these latter ones are extended uses of the ‘‘true’’ present. For him, ‘‘the present tense indicates that a full instantiation of the profiled process occurs and precisely coincides with the time of speaking’’ (2001: 22). 22 Langacker’s definition of the present tense also accounts for imperfec- tive/unbounded situations such as He resembles his grandfather. Such a resemblance is valid without boundaries and is therefore imperfective. It is true at any time, thus also for the moment of speaking, and in using the simple present, that portion of the resemblance is highlighted that is in focus at speech time: ‘‘since an imperfective process is internally homoge- neous and not characterized in terms of bounding, any subpart singled out for profiling will itself constitute a valid instance of the process type in question’’ (Langacker 2001: 23).

A further use of the simple present is to be observed in the narration of

demonstrations, such as in cooking programmes on television: ‘‘I put a tablespoon of butter in the pan. It melts quickly. Now I put the fillet in. I

cook it at low temperature for five minutes

Although uttering these sentences requires a lot less time than the prepara- tions and the five minutes of cooking, Langacker claims that the simple present is not used here for the description of actual situations but instead, it is to be seen as reading o¤ entries from a list or scenario (i.e., it refers to

the virtual occurrence of the situation which then again coincides with the time of speaking).

.’’ (Langacker 2001: 28).

A similar explanation can be given for the so-called scheduled future

use of the present tense (My train leaves at six). Here again, we are refer- ring to the representation of this situation on a virtual schedule in our minds and not to the actual situation. Such scheduled future uses generally incorporate a precise time expression (at six) and do not work for situa- tions that cannot be scheduled (*I fall ill next week). Although a virtual schedule belongs to the future, it is stable and reliable also at the present moment of speaking and can thus be regarded as a ‘‘representation of

an anticipated actual event’’ and as a virtual occurrence of that situa- tion which coincides temporally with the moment of speaking (following

22. Langacker only refers to English, other languages – such as German, which has no grammaticalized progressive form – express not only the ‘‘true present’’ and timeless situations but also actions at speech time with the simple present.

36

Susanne Niemeier

Langacker 2001: 31). The same virtual ‘‘reading’’ applies to stage direc-

tions as well as to the use of the historical present, where past situations are retold using the simple present. In this latter case, a past situation is virtually replayed, and the use of the present tense underlines its salience, its still being vividly recalled by the experiencer. In this context, Langacker

event representations. Even when these correspond in some

fashion to actual events, the represented events are the ones directly coded linguistically and profiled by the present tense verb’’ (Langacker 2001: 33). A further related non-prototypical use of the simple present concerns so-called ‘‘eternal truths’’ and timeless situations, such as The kangaroo is a marsupial. This utterance does not refer to any specific kangaroo but to a virtual instance of a kangaroo. This virtual situation belongs to ‘‘an open-ended set of actual instantiations, distributed throughout the time span during which the generalization holds’’ (Langacker 2001: 33). The use of the present tense indicates that the speaker is referring to a sub-part of this eternal truth at the moment of speaking. The same is true for habituals (I drive to work every morning), where the utterance does not refer to any actual instance of driving – I may even be uttering this sentence on a weekend when I am not driving to work – but to a virtual instance of driving. Again, we are not dealing with exceptions in the case of the simple present but with explainable meaning extensions. In an EFL classroom, the basic meaning of the simple present as referring to situations occurring in the here-and-now should be introduced at a very early point and will then form a basis for the explanation of the extended uses as listed in this section. The actual or virtual coincidence between speech time and reference time is easy to visualize, for example by using a time axis and drawing reference time-circles as well as situation time-circles in di¤erent colours – the reference time-circles will always be identical to speech time, whereas the situation time-circles may be larger (they will, for example, cover the complete time axis in the case of ‘‘eternal truths’’) but will always contain speech time as well as reference time. The learners can then verbalize the illustrations and thus – via the commonalities between the various proto- typical and extended instances of use – develop and advance their con- cepts of the meaning of the present tense. 23

speaks of

23. One example for research on teaching tense in the English classroom via Cognitive Grammar is Meunier’s project ‘‘Cognitive Grammar and EFL’’ at the University of Louvain, which started in the summer of 2010 and for which no results have been published so far (see http://www.uclouvain.be/en- 323144.html, last date of access: October 17, 2012).

Cognitive perspective

37

4.2.2. Past tense

Whereas the present tense, as shown in the previous section, locates a situation exactly at the time of speaking, ‘‘the past tense morpheme im- poses an immediate scope prior to the speech event’’ (Langacker 2001:

22) and in contrast to the present tense is not limited concerning the length of the profiled process. It ‘‘conveys distance from the speech event’’ (Taylor 2002: 394) and refers to facts. A sequence of past tense verbs is often used in narratives, and the individual events are interpreted as successive. That is, the first situation evoked by a past tense locates the narration in the past and the following situations are interpreted to follow this first situa- tion in sequential order. As all of these situations are seen as completed, they are interpreted as successive. If they co-occurred, the progressive aspect needs to be used for the background situation. Langacker (1991: 242) relates the past tense to ‘‘non-immediate reality’’, however, as will be pointed out below, this is only the prototypical, tem- poral use of the past tense. The past tense is conventionally also used to signal less commitment to the reality of a situation, that is, it is used to signal epistemic distance as in if I were you (Evans and Green 2006: 396; Gurevich 2010: 90). Furthermore, it is frequently used to indicate a lack of intimacy as in My child’s father was Italian, a lack of salience as in This book is a masterpiece. It was published in London, (see Tyler and Evans 2001: 71), or a heightened degree of politeness as in I wanted to ask you something (Radden and Dirven 2007: 211). In all of these cases the -ed morpheme does not refer to ‘‘non-immediate reality’’ but to non-temporal events. The di¤erent uses of the past tense morphology are outlined in detail in Section 4.4.3.

4.3. Complex tenses

All other tense forms apart from the present tense and the past tense are complex tenses (Radden and Dirven 2007: 204), which serve to locate anterior or posterior situations relative to a reference time. 24 Anterior times are expressed as perfect tenses stating that something happened at an earlier time than reference time; posterior times – belonging to futurity – are expressed by prospective forms, generally consisting of grammaticalized lexical items such as going to or be about to, stating that something may

24. They are called ‘‘complex’’ tenses because in contrast to the deictic tenses they involve two temporal relations: a deictic temporal reference point and either a backwards or a forwards look from this reference point.

38

Susanne Niemeier

happen at a later time than at reference time. Anterior times are the present perfect and the past perfect. 25 They have in common that a situation is seen as located before relevance time. In complex tenses, the speaker’s viewpoint is of importance because two times spheres are concerned: the first one is located in one of the deictic times – the past or the present – and the second one consists of a look backwards (anterior times) or a look forwards (posterior times, i.e., uses of the future). In this way, the speaker locates anterior (or posterior) events relative to the deictic reference time. In the case of the present perfect, a situation has occurred before the present time but it may still continue until ‘‘now’’ (I have never seen him before, which remains valid until I see the person) or may still have an impact on the present (see example (9)). According to Radden and Dirven (2007: 205), ‘‘the time configuration described by the present perfect is unique among the anterior times in that it involves only one

time sphere and a relation from event time to speech time

.) The unique

status of the present perfect is due to its present reference time: its imme- diacy makes the present the more prominent time’’. This fits in nicely

with the fact that the present tense has the meaning of proximity (5). However, although Radden and Dirven claim that we are only dealing with one time sphere in the case of the present perfect, the temporal rela- tion to a situation in the past is still obvious and, especially for didactic reasons, I would recommend to highlight the fact that in the case of the present perfect the time sphere of the past is involved as well, as otherwise learners might have problems di¤erentiating between the deictic tenses and the complex tenses.

(9) I’ve broken my leg, so it is di‰cult for me to go shopping right now.

In example (9), speech time is ‘‘right now’’ (i.e., in the present), whereas the breaking of the leg happened in the past. Using the present perfect indicates that the past event of breaking the leg is seen from the perspec- tive of speech time as presently being an obstacle concerning everyday life routines. The present relevance of the anterior situation is highlighted, which is why it can be seen as part of the overall situation and can there- fore be said to have not only a temporal but also an aspectual meaning

25. If the future was treated as a tense, we would also have to mention the future perfect here (I will have passed my driving license by the time I turn 18). If the future is not considered to be a tense, then we are dealing with a combination of modality and the auxiliary have þ -ed.

Cognitive perspective

39

(Radden and Dirven 2007: 206) insofar as the left boundary of the inher- ently bounded situation <GO SHOPPING> is extended into the past so as to also include the anterior situation. This is not possible for past perfects:

(10)

I had broken my leg, so it was di‰cult for me to go shopping during the weeks following the accident.

This sentence can only be understood in a purely temporal sense – speech time is in the present, relevance time is in the past, and situation time is before relevance time. The use of the past perfect relates the situation time to the relevance time. Although perfect tenses are analyzed by Radden and Dirven (2007) in their chapter on ‘‘tense’’, this view is not unanimously shared. Langacker, for example, treats the perfect not as a grounding element but as a ‘‘grounded structure’’, because in contrast to tense and modals, the perfect (have þ -ed ) is optional and not obligatory in a verb and can only appear in non-finite clauses from which tense and modals are excluded (2008a:

300). I tend to agree with Radden and Dirven; that is, I tend to see the perfect as a tense because just as the other tenses it has reality status and it is (partly) marked directly on the verb. However, it is not a prototypical instance of tense but has an aspectual meaning as well, because on the one hand, the speaker’s viewpoint is involved and, on the other hand, the

perfect is built in a similar way to the progressive aspect (i.e., it is directly marked on the verb but also requires an auxiliary verb: have in the case of the perfect, be in the case of the progressive aspect). The perfect can furthermore also have a modal meaning because in its anterior uses it refers to the future, relative to the reference point taken (reference point

in the past: I was going to ask her out yesterday when suddenly

ence point in the present: I’m going to ask her out; reference point in the future: I will have asked her out before the end of the week). For learners, it is important to realize how many time spheres are involved. In the case of deictic times – represented by the simple tenses – only one time sphere is referred to, whereas in the case of complex times – represented by the complex tenses – two times spheres are concerned: the first one being located in one of the deictic times and the second one con- sisting of a look backwards (anterior times) or a look forwards (posterior times, i.e., uses of the future). This can be illustrated by using a time axis, indicating the deictic reference points as well as including arrows pointing into the direction of the speaker’s shifted viewpoint (i.e., pointing to the left in the case of anterior times). Complex tenses may also be visualized by referring to Mental Space Theory (Section 4.4) as this helps to show the

; refer-

40

Susanne Niemeier

interaction between the di¤erent time spheres quite clearly. Learners can be trained to focus on the three elements of speech time, relevance time, and situation time and with their help, decode temporal structures without being confused.

4.4. Tense and Mental Space Theory

In the following sections, Langacker’s as well as Radden and Dirven’s understanding of tense will be combined with insights from Fauconnier’s (1994, 1997) and Fauconnier and Turner’s (2002) Mental Space Theory in order to generate a synthesized CG view on tense. The basic idea of Fauconnier’s model is that when discourse participants interact, they mentally construct small conceptual packets, called ‘‘mental spaces’’ (Fau- connier 1998: 252). These mental spaces contain elements (i.e., conceptual information on the things or people talked about), as well as information on the reality status of the situation and its relevance time. This model may be relevant for foreign language teachers as it allows visualization, for example, for tracking the temporal shifts in a conversation, and thus helps to clarify the thought processes involved. The mental space that serves as the basis or starting point of an interac- tion is called base space. Importantly, mental space theory makes a clear distinction between base space and all other mental spaces. Base space is the situation at speech time, the ‘‘here and now’’, in which the speaker

is the deictic centre. It serves as an anchor for expressing both the reality status and the temporal relevance of any situation that is being communi- cated and it contains conceptual information on the things or people talked about, the space and time of the interaction (speech time), as well as information about the interaction context. All of this is normally taken for granted and will therefore not necessarily be verbalized explicitly. The status of things or people in the discourse is expressed by the determiner system and is known as reference; the status of situations and their rele- vance time is expressed by the tense, aspect, and modality systems. A new mental space can be set up or an already established space can be referred back to at any moment in the discourse. Most mental spaces are opened implicitly, but this can also be done in a more explicit way. Such explicit space builders are, for example, time adverbials, such as the adverb yesterday in example (7) above (We were snowed in yesterday), or temporal expressions such as in 1992, or the first clause in the sequence of two or more clauses in a narrative context such as in example (8) above

(Emily and Charlotte came home to see her, but she was dead

.). All these

Cognitive perspective

41

space builders denote the temporal setting serving as a situation’s back- ground and the hearer implicitly understands that base space has been

left and a new space has been opened up. Other explicit space builders, referring to the reality status of a situation,

are expressions such as Possibly or Nick believes that

markers for tense and aspect, to which modality can be added, are not explicit space builders themselves, but provide the interaction partner with clues concerning the space that is relevant at that point (Fauconnier 1994: 33). Fauconnier gives the nice example of In 1929, the lady with white hair was blonde (1994: 29), where 1929 builds up a new mental time space in the conversation, namely in the past. If this sentence is followed by a past tense, we stay in the mental time space of 1929, whereas if the sentence is followed by a present tense (Today she still wishes to be blonde), we shift back to base space (‘‘now’’). Should this sentence be followed by a conditional ( you would have enjoyed meeting her then), we shift to a counterfactual space that provides us with information about the reality status of a situation, which in that case would be located in non-reality. Grammatical tenses and aspects and their combinations ‘‘serve to indi- cate relative relations between spaces and, crucially, to keep track of the discourse position of the participants – which space is in focus, which one serves as base and what shifts are taking place’’ (Fauconnier 1994: xi, emphasis in original). The reality status of a situation can be indicated either by means of tense forms – which are described in more detail in the next section – or by modal verbs. To sum up, situations set relevant for base space are referred to by the use of the present tense and are always located in reality. Mental spaces can be opened from base space for situations whose relevance time is anterior to speech time and which are therefore expressed by the past tense, or else whose relevance time is posterior to speech time and which are therefore expressed by the will form. Learners can be trained to identify base space via a diagram and would then try to track a speaker’s train of thought to other spaces. A sim- plified example deals with the book cover text of Harry Potter, 6 (Figure 2). The text starts in base space, in the ‘‘here-and-now’’, then the perspec- tive shifts to the past. Such an illustration can then be extended in order to include other spaces, for example hypothetical or counterfactual spaces. Besides the temporal use of tense morphemes, we find a number of non- temporal and thus non-prototypical uses of tense morphemes, related to the expression of reality versus irreality, to the notion of intimacy, to the designation of salience, and to politeness (i.e., the attenuation of speech

Grammatical

42

Susanne Niemeier

42 Susanne Niemeier Figure 2 . Mental spaces in the (slightly adapted) blurb of Harry Potter

Figure 2. Mental spaces in the (slightly adapted) blurb of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

acts), which will all be described in the following sections. The temporal use of tense morphemes does not primarily mean locating situations in time, but rather indicates which time span is relevant for what we are saying (i.e., the temporal use of tense and other morphemes is already much more subtle than what has usually been understood by ‘‘temporal meaning’’). Furthermore, the same morphological forms can also be used to encode non-temporal meanings. In the same way that, starting from base space, we can open further reality-related spaces with past, present, or future relevance time, we can also open up other mental spaces, as, for instance, potentiality space. One kind of potentiality space is modality space, others are hypothetical space or counterfactual space. Still further possible spaces are, amongst others, interactive spaces such as narrative space or politeness space.

4.4.1. Hypothetical/counterfactual space

In an assertive speech act, the reality status of a situation is taken for granted and therefore not explicitly marked. However, if we are dealing with a speech act based in irreality, a hypothetical space is opened up which needs to be marked explicitly. In such a case, we are dealing with either non-counterfactual hypotheticality or counterfactual hypotheticality, both of which are marked by the use of past tense morphology. A hypothetical space can be created by means of the space builder if in combination with a set of tense forms that indicate epistemic as well as temporal relevance.

Cognitive perspective

43

(11)

a.

If he is German, as you claim, let’s talk to him right now.

b.

If he shows up, let’s ask him straight away.

c.

If he showed up, we would ask him then.

d.

If he had shown up, we could have asked him then.

The possibility that a hypothetical situation will become real is still given, for example in the immediate future (11a) or in the more remote future (11b). In terms of their reality status, the first two situations in example (11) are located either in the fuzzy peripheral area of base space (11a) or close to the reality of base space, but already outside it (11b). If we are dealing with an even higher degree of hypotheticality, such as in (11c), where it is highly unlikely – but not yet impossible – that the person in question will show up, the epistemic distance is greater. And if the episte- mic distance to the reality of base space becomes still greater, we are deal- ing with counterfactuality (11d), defined by Fauconnier and Turner as ‘‘forced incompatibility between spaces’’ (2002: 230). A counterfactual hypothetical statement indicates that it is impossible for the situation to happen. The statements in (11c) and (11d) do not di¤er concerning the events described or with respect to their times of occurrence, they only di¤er with regards to their epistemic distance to base space. At the same time, as the reality status of the situation changes, di¤erent relevance times are involved, as illustrated by the use of the adverbs right now, straight away, and then:

English past tense morphology clearly signals distance in two di¤erent

but related ways: it can either refer to temporal distance to base space (as in

One of the last times he saw the

.) or it can refer to epistemic

distance to base space (as in example 11c) or it can refer to both temporal and epistemic distance to base space (as in example 11d). These uses are closely related, the second one may also be seen as a metaphorical exten- sion of the first one (epistemic distance is temporal distance). Both the temporal and the epistemic uses can best be understood in their relation to the double function of base space (i.e., its reality status function and its relevance time function). Sentence (11d) illustrates how the interaction between temporal and epistemic relevance is expressed grammatically:

since the situation is located in temporal as well as epistemic distance from the base, a ‘‘double backshift’’ takes place grammatically, as can be seen by the use of the past perfect in had shown up. In example (11), the tense morphemes in both clauses coincide but this need not be the case. In example (12), again accessing counterfactual

44

Susanne Niemeier

hypothetical space, the person talked about does not know, and in (12b) the male protagonist has not told the truth. Although situation time in (12a) is present time, the past tense is used to express epistemic distance vis-a`-vis the base. This example shows that past tense morphology cannot only be used to indicate relevance time that is located anterior to (and thus at a temporal distance from) the base, but also to express epistemic dis- tance from the base. The same applies to (12b), where situation time is in the past and where the situation itself is construed as a counterfactual one, therefore the past perfect is used, indicating temporal as well as epistemic distance from the base.

(12)

a.

If only he knew! (British National Corpus: AEB 3109)

b.

If he had told her the truth, she would not have believed him. (British National Corpus: HR8 858)

Every speaker has many grammatical options at hand to communicate his/her thoughts, whereas from the hearer’s perspective, tense and aspect marking ‘‘allows us to reconstruct the reality and time spaces set up from base space’’ (Fauconnier 1997: 78) and the relations between them.

4.4.2. Narrative space

Another type of space that can be opened up from base space is narrative space. Narrations deal with past events but frequently – especially in very lively oral narrations – the present time can be used (see Section 4.2.1), such as in the narrative discourse in example (13):

(13) a.

Erm, I’m just sitting in front of the car last night and erm (British National Corpus: KC2 3048)

Here, the narrative space allows a conflict between situation time, which is past time, and relevance time, which is presented as if it were present time. However, no hearer will have a problem to understand that the situation is in the past although the present tense is being used, because he will follow the speaker from base space (i.e., from the ‘‘here and now’’) into narrative space that is per se located in the past. The fact that the present is being used signals that the speaker is mentally reliving the events of last night and is foregrounding them, which is why they still have an impact at speech time. 26 This impact is not only felt by the speaker, but also by the

26. See Tyler and Evans (2001: 72): ‘‘past tense signals background and support- ing status and present tense signals foreground status’’.

Cognitive perspective

45

hearer as they are both drawn into the situation as if they had been present as onlookers. Instead of creating distance – a function of the past tense – the use of the present tense creates closeness. If such closeness is aimed at, the use of the past tense is not possible. The use of the present tense in narrations (of movies, plays, or books, etc.) has been discussed by other scholars, and alternative reasons for its use have been proposed. For example, in Fleischman’s (1990: 15) view, the use of the present is due to its ‘‘atemporality’’, as such narrations can be ‘‘revisited’’ on multiple occasions. Although Fleischman (1990) as well as Klein (1994) point out that personal narratives – in contrast to movie or plot narratives – are rather told in the past tense, the present tense is also used especially for the ‘‘lively oral narrations’’ mentioned above, as the speaker virtually re- lives the events s/he is talking about. 27 The speaker as well as the hearer know that base space has been left and narrative space has been entered. Therefore, the use of the present tense does not create any temporal and/ or epistemic conflict. The CG perspective on the present tense, however, goes beyond Fleischman’s strictly temporal view of tense by claiming that – in addition to indicating ‘‘atemporality’’ – the abstract meaning of the present tense is to indicate the speaker’s proximal perspective vis-a`-vis his or her utterances.

4.4.3. Politeness space

Whereas the use of the present tense indicates that the situation described is close to the speaker, the past tense indicates distance with respect to the situation or the hearer. In example (14), the past tense is used although situation time is the present time, as the question is asked at that precise moment:

(14)

I wanted to ask you something. (British National Corpus:

HTN 2787)

27. In his 2009 publication, Klein seems to see this slightly di¤erently: ‘‘In the

narrative present, the whole action is in the past

of (sic) situations are presented ‘‘as if they were present’’. There are two com-

mon interpretations of this use: the situations are ‘‘felt to be present’’ at the time of utterance, or the speaker imagines himself to be present in the situa- tion. Under the first interpretation, the situations are somehow ‘‘shifted in time’’, and under the second interpretation, the deictic anchoring is ‘‘shifted’’ (49). Klein does not further elaborate on this view.

.) but that at least some

46

Susanne Niemeier

According to Tyler and Evans (2001: 95), ‘‘we conventionally understand that the use of past tense does not place the desire to ask the question in the past, but rather that it attenuates and so makes such requests less face- threatening and hence more polite’’. That is, for reasons of politeness the speaker presents the utterance’s relevance time as non-present time, which has the e¤ect that the request seems to be less urgent so that the hearer may feel less imposed upon and thus less face-threatened. Using the past tense in requests, suggestions, invitations, commands, and reprimands is conventionally interpreted as polite, mitigating the amount of imposition on the addressee. By moving from base space to politeness space, the speaker signals a cognitive, non-temporal distance between him-/herself and the hearer and by using past tense morphology, the speaker signals this dis- tance also grammatically. The perspective on the functions of tense morphology described above ties in well with Tyler and Evans’ approach of pragmatic strengthening:

due to the way in which we actually experience the notions of intimacy, salience, actuality, and politeness, namely in terms of proximal-distal spatial relations, and the fact that time-reference is experienced in terms of analo- gous spatial relations, in certain situations tense morphemes which canoni- cally signal time-reference can implicate a non-temporal relation. Through usage-based conventionalization, i.e., pragmatic strengthening, a conventional time-meaning can become associated with a particular tense morpheme (2011: 65).

According to Tyler and Evans, non-temporal meaning extensions asso- ciated with tense are explainable by the polysemy of tense morphology. By entrenchment (i.e., pragmatic strengthening), tense morphemes have become associated with non-temporal meanings. The concept of intimacy, for example, in its basic meaning refers to physical intimacy, but in an extended meaning we can also either feel ‘‘close’’ or feel ‘‘distant’’ to some- body who is not necessarily spatially close or spatially distant to us. There- fore, we may talk in the past tense about people we do not feel close to. When we start telling a love story from our past, we may say things like

may well still be alive and still

be an architect, but by using past tense morphology, we distance ourselves from this specific episode of our life. The concept of salience is explainable in quite a similar way, as what is physically closer to us is more salient and vice versa, which is why we can speak metaphorically of ‘‘issues closer at hand’’ or about ‘‘distant

We met in Brisbane. He was an architect

Cognitive perspective

47

rumours’’. Combining these insights with the use of tense morphology, we can foreground important facts and make them more salient by using the present tense and we can background less important facts by using the past tense. This is in line with certain uses of the present tense for lively narratives, the historical present and other non-canonical uses (see Section 4.2.1). As Tyler and Evans argue, ‘‘the use of the present tense to make a particular event more ‘real’ would seem to be related to the use of the present tense to denote greater salience and hence importance in terms of information structure’’ (2001: 93). To sum up, tense morphology cannot only be used to symbolize temporal relevance, but it can furthermore be used to express epistemic relevance, salience, and attenuation in certain contexts. Both the temporal and the non-temporal uses of tense forms can be ascribed to a common con- ceptual basis, the proximal/distal (or immediacy/non-immediacy) schema (Langacker 1991: 249). 28 This means that while the present tense is always used to express proximity/immediacy – be it temporal, epistemic, ‘‘narra- tive’’, or formal proximity/immediacy –, the past tense always indicates distance/non-immediacy. In other words, in a very iconic way, more form is more meaning, i.e., the addition of the past tense morpheme signals the addition of the notion of distance, either with respect to relevance time, reality status, backgrounding, or social commitment. The CG view thus extends the mainly temporal view of tense that researchers such as Fleischman (1990) or Klein (1994) have propagated by also incorporating pragmatic aspects, especially concerning speaker perspective.

28. Tyler and Evans account for the fact that time is associated with the spatial concepts of proximity and distance by referring to the experiential correlation between the two concepts. When we speak, we are in the here-and-now, which functions as our deictic center: ‘‘We cannot help but experience the present moment in terms of our immediate physical surroundings and our sensory

.) Traversing a certain distance inevitably correlates

with the elapse of a certain amount of time. Thus, elements of the spatial domain, such as movement from one location to another and distance, have become strongly associated with the elapse of time’’ (2001: 81). In other words, the concepts of space and time are so intertwined in human cognition that they are frequently co-activated, which is – amongst other phenomena – visible in the non-temporal use of temporal morphology, when we speak about the past tense as signaling distance (a spatial concept) in various ways.

perceptions of them

48

Susanne Niemeier

5.

Conclusion

Although this chapter’s aim was primordially an account of the CG per- spective on tense and aspect, the teaching angle has been addressed throughout the contribution whenever appropriate. Concerning the teach- ing and learning of English as a foreign language, CG has not yet reached regular textbooks, teaching materials, teacher training, or even teachers’ awareness. Therefore, in order to be able to argue convincingly for the benefits of a CG-based approach to teaching tense and aspect, we need a lot more research, especially empirically oriented, and we need materials development based on such research. For an empirical study to be fruitful and valid, however, we do not only need a test group, but also a control group, which means that a second class would have to be taught in a di¤erent, more traditional way so that the results of these two groups could then be reliably compared at certain points during the study, a process which may well cover several years. Such ideal research scenarios are hard to find, therefore it seems much more realistic to use smaller test items than tense or aspect in their totality and to restrict the time for the studies. The results found will not be as positive as they might be under ideal test conditions, but if they are indeed positive even under less-than-optimal circumstances, this may already pave the way towards a rethinking of grammar learning and teaching in the direction of CG-based instruction. For Spanish as a foreign language the research situation seems to be somewhat better than for English, as there are quite some publications dealing with CG-inspired approaches, for example Marras and Cadierno (2008) on constructions or Llopis Garcı´a (2010) on mood selection. Espe- cially interesting in this respect is Lo´ pez Garcı´a (2005), which outlines hands-on ways for teaching Spanish grammar in a CG way for all gram- matical areas, including tense and aspect. For English, there are – among others – several contributions by Tyler and Evans on prepositions (2003, 2004) or by Alejo Gonzalez (2010), Dirven (2001) and Kurtyka (2001) on phrasal verbs, but they all remain quite theoretical and do not report on classroom experiments or give practical advice for teaching. Tyler, Mueller, and Ho (2010) report on an actual teaching experiment concern- ing modality, however, the group size was very small and the learners were adult learners, therefore the results are not immediately replicable in the regular foreign language classroom. So far, there is no published empirical research on CG-inspired ways in which to teach English tense and aspect at school.

Cognitive perspective

49

There is certainly no lack of research questions such as for example a definition and description of the acquisition sequence of the tense-aspect system. It would also be interesting to find out whether CG-based instruc- tion is equally well suited for every learning style, whether visualizations of grammatical phenomena are perceived as helpful and – if so – by which types of learner, which kind of visualization works best, how to introduce topics and which terminology to use in the classroom at various levels, or whether the learners’ error rate after CG-based instruction is lower and if it is, in which areas (analysis of utterances, closed exercises, half-open exercises, or open exercises such as free text production). 29 The teaching of tense and aspect, two of the most error-prone areas for ESL learners, could presumably profit very much from a CG approach with its focus on the meaningfulness of grammar. Such an approach enables teachers to begin with prototypical instances on the basis of which their learners can understand the – admittedly abstract – meaning of specific grammatical phenomena. In later lessons, teachers can then gradually introduce non-prototypical instances of the phenomena in question. It is important that learners are made aware of the fact that these more marginal instances are not necessarily interrelated but nevertheless always related to the basic meaning. For example, the proximity versus distance meanings of the tenses are to be found in the use of the -ed morpheme in temporal relations, which acts as a prototype, but they are also to be found in other areas, for example in referring to irreality, as outlined above. Connecting these various areas in teaching makes it easier for learners to see that the abstract meaning of – in this case – the ed-morpheme stays intact in all of them, and the learners thus have the chance to get an integrated view on grammatical areas that in traditional grammar teaching remain unconnected (as for

29. Boers (2004) claims that learners retain the meanings of metaphorical expres- sions better if they can be made aware of their motivations, and that such awareness raising works best for intermediate learners (beginners have too little vocabulary at their disposal, advanced learners refrain too much from taking risks) with an analytic and ‘‘imager’’ cognitive style. In Boers’ experi- ments, analytic learners were clearly able to distinguish literal from figurative usage, whereas learners with a more holistic style found it harder to identify source domains of metaphors. ‘‘Imagers’’ were better than ‘‘verbalisers’’ because they could associate novel figurative expressions more easily with mental pictures or concrete scenes. There is no comparable research for grammar teaching but as meaning stays the most important factor, one might assume that also in grammar teaching, analytic and ‘‘imager’’ learners might benefit more than others.

50

Susanne Niemeier

example the past tense and conditionals; or aspect and the distinction between mass nouns and count nouns). This will allow them to establish meaningful neural connections and come up with grounded hypotheses for the usage of these grammatical phenomena. Combining Langacker’s approach to tense with Mental Space Theory allows learners to trace the thought processes behind utterances – as shown before – and to determine which mental space(s) the utterances refer to, whether the meaning is temporal and/or epistemic and therefore arrive at a correct interpretation, which should ideally also serve as a model for the learners’ own future utterances in the foreign language. Learners should start in the here-and-now, (i.e., in base space), and work their way up to other mental spaces, while detecting the meanings of and the relations between the various tense and aspect uses. Concerning the teaching of aspect, the notion of ‘‘boundaries’’ may come in helpful, especially when introduced via the teaching of mass and count nouns (see also Niemeier

2008).

Tense and aspect are present from the very beginning of ESL learning, not necessarily in an explicit way but at least in the teacher’s language. As soon as learners start producing their own utterances, they will use verbs and therefore also tense and aspect. In other words, CG-oriented foreign language instruction should ideally begin with the very first lesson in the foreign language because only then can it unfold its full potential.

References

Achard, Michel & Susanne Niemeier (Eds.)

2004 Cognitive linguistics, second language acquisition, and foreign lan-

guage teaching. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Alejo-Gonza´lez, Rafael

2010 Making sense of phrasal verbs: A cognitive linguistic account. In Jeannette Littlemore & Constanze Juchem-Grundmann (Eds.), AILA Review 23: Applied cognitive linguistics and second lan- guage learning and teaching, 50–71. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Bhat, D. N. Shankara

1999 The prominence of tense, aspect and mood. Amsterdam: Ben-

Boers, Frank

jamins.

2004 Expanding learners’ vocabulary through metaphor awareness:

What expansion, what learners, what vocabulary? In Michel Achard & Susanne Niemeier (Eds.), Cognitive linguistics, second language acquisition, and foreign language teaching, 211–232. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Cognitive perspective

51

Comrie, Bernard

1976 Aspect. An introduction to the study of verbal aspect and related problems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dekel, Nurit

2010 A matter of time: Tense, mood and aspect in spontaneous spoken Israeli Hebrew. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Amsterdam. Avail-

able at: http://dare.uva.nl/document/174501. Oct. 17 (2 August,

2011).

De Knop, Sabine & Teun De Rycker (Eds.)

2008 Cognitive approaches to pedagogical grammar. Berlin/New York:

Mouton de Gruyter.

De Wit, Astrid & Frank Brisard

2009 Expressions of epistemic contingency in the use of the English present progressive. Papers of the Linguistic Society of Belgium 4. Available at: http://webh01.ua.ac.be/linguist/SBKL/sbkl2009/ dew2009.pdf. Oct. 17 (13 August, 2011).

Dirven, Rene´

2001 English phrasal verbs: Theory and didactic application. In Martin Pu¨ tz, Susanne Niemeier & Rene´ Dirven (Eds.), Applied Cogni-

tive Linguistics I: Theory and language acquisition, 3–28. Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Doiz-Bienzobas, Aintzane

1995 The preterite and the imperfect in Spanish: Past situation versus past viewpoint. San Diego, CA: University of California-San Diego, Ph.D. dissertation.

Doiz-Bienzobas, Aintzane

2002 The preterite and the imperfect as grounding predications. In

Frank Brisard (Ed.), Grounding: The epistemic footing of deixis and reference, 299–347. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Evans, Vyvyan & Melanie Green

2006 Cognitive linguistics. An introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Uni- versity Press.

Fauconnier, Gilles

1994 Mental spaces: Aspects of meaning construction in natural lan-

guage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fauconnier, Gilles

1997 Mappings in thought and language. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni- versity Press.

Fauconnier, Gilles & Mark Turner

2002 The way we think. Conceptual blending and the mind’s hidden

complexities. New York: Basic Books. Fleischman, Suzanne

1990 Tense and narrativity. London: Routledge.

52

Susanne Niemeier

Gibbs, Raymond W.

2006 Embodiment and cognitive science. New York: Cambridge Uni-

versity Press.

Gisborne, Nikolas

1996 English perception verbs. London: University College London, Ph.D. dissertation.

Gurevich, Olga

2010 Conditional constructions in English and Russian. In Hans C. Boas (Ed.), Contrastive studies in Construction Grammar, 87–102. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Horner, Marion, Elizabeth Daymond, Jennifer Baer-Engel & Peter Lampater

2010 Green Line 1–6. Stuttgart: Klett.

Ibarretxe Antun˜ ano, Iraide

1999 Polysemy and metaphor in perception verbs: A cross-linguistic

study. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Edinburgh. Available at

http://www.unizar.es/linguisticageneral/articulos/Ibarretxe-

PhD-Thesis-99.pdf. Oct. 17 (3 August, 2011).

Klein, Wolfgang

1994 Time in language. London/New York: Routledge.

Klein, Wolfgang

1995 A simplest analysis of the English tense-aspect system. In Wolfgang Riehle & Hugo Keiper (Eds.), Anglistentag 1994 Graz: Proceedings of the Conference of the German Association of University Teachers of English, 139–152. Tu¨ bingen: Niemeyer.

Klein, Wolfgang

2009 How time is encoded. In Wolfgang Klein & Ping Li (Eds.), The expression of time, 39–81. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Klein, Wolfgang & Ping Li (Eds.)

2009 The expression of time. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Kurtyka, Andrzej

2001 Teaching English phrasal verbs: A cognitive approach. In Martin Pu¨tz, Susanne Niemeier & Rene´ Dirven (Eds.), Applied Cognitive Linguistics I: Theory and language acquisition, 87–116. Berlin/

New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Lako¤, George

1987 Women, fire, and dangerous things. Chicago: The University of

Chicago Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1987a Foundations of cognitive grammar. Vol. 1: Theoretical prerequi- sites. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1987b Nouns and verbs. Language 63(1). 53–94.

Langacker, Ronald W. 1991a Concept, image, and symbol: The cognitive basis of grammar. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Cognitive perspective

53

Langacker, Ronald W. 1991b Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. II: Descriptive applica- tion. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W.

2000 Grammar and conceptualization. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Langacker, Ronald W.

2001 Cognitive linguistics, language pedagogy, and the English present

tense. In Martin Pu¨tz, Susanne Niemeier & Rene´ Dirven (Eds.), Applied Cognitive Linguistics I: Theory and language acquisition, 3–39. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W.

2002 Langacker, Ronald W. (2002), Remarks on the English ground- ing systems. In Frank Brisard (Ed.), Grounding: The epistemic

footing of deixis and reference, 29–38. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W. 2008a Cognitive Grammar: A basic introduction. Oxford: Oxford Uni- versity Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 2008b Cognitive Grammar as a basis for language instruction. In Peter Robinson & Nick C. Ellis (Eds.), Handbook of cognitive linguis- tics and second language acquisition, 66–88. New York/London:

Routledge. Langacker, Ronald W. 2008c The relevance of Cognitive Grammar for language pedagogy. In Sabine de Knop & Teun de Rycker (Eds.), Cognitive approaches to pedagogical grammar, 7–35. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W.

2009 Investigations in Cognitive Grammar. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Langacker, Ronald W.

2011 The English present: Temporal coincidence versus epistemic

immediacy. In Adeline Patard & Frank Brisard (Eds.), Cognitive approaches to tense, aspect and epistemic modality, 45–86. Amster- dam: Benjamins. Llopis Garcı´a, Reyes

2010 Why Cognitive Grammar works in the L2 classroom: A case study of mood selection in Spanish. In Jeannette Littlemore &

Constanze Juchem-Grundmann (Eds.), AILA Review 23: Applied cognitive linguistics and second language learning and teaching, 72–

94. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Lo´ pez Garcı´a, A ´ ngel

2005 Grama´tica Cognitiva para profesores de espan˜ol L2. Madrid: Arco.

54

Susanne Niemeier

Marras, Valentina & Teresa Cadierno

2008 Spanish gustar versus English like: A cognitive analysis of the con-

structions and its implication for SLA. In Andrea Tyler, Yiyoung Kim & Mari Takada (Eds.), Language in the context of use:

Cognitive and usage-based approaches to language and language learning, 233–252. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Niemeier, Susanne

2008 The notion of boundedness/unboundedness in the foreign language

classroom. In Frank Boers & Seth Lindstromberg (Eds.), Cognitive Linguistic approaches to teaching vocabulary and phraseology, 309–327. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Niemeier, Susanne & Monika Reif

2008 Progress isn’t simple – teaching English tense and aspect to German learners. In Sabine de Knop & Teun de Rycker (Eds.),

Cognitive approaches to pedagogical grammar, 325–255. Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Pu¨ tz, Martin, Susanne Niemeier & Rene´ Dirven (Eds.)

2001 Applied Cognitive Linguistics I: Theory and language acquisition. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Radden, Gu¨ nter

1992 The cognitive approach to natural language. In Martin Pu¨tz

(Ed.), Thirty years of linguistic evolution, 513–541. Amsterdam:

Benjamins. Radden, Gu¨ nter & Rene´ Dirven

2007 Cognitive English grammar. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Ben- jamins.

Robinson, Peter & Nick C. Ellis (Eds.)

2008 Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics and second language acquisi- tion. New York/London: Routledge.

Salaberry, M. Rafael

2008 Marking past tense in second language acquisition: A theoretical model. London: Continuum.

Schmiedtova´, Barbara & Monique Flecken

2008 Aspectual concepts across languages: Some considerations for

second language learning. In Sabine de Knop & Teun de Rycker (Eds.), Cognitive approaches to pedagogical grammar, 357–384. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Shirai, Yasuhiro & Roger W. Andersen

1995 The acquisition of tense-aspect morphology. A prototype account. Language. Vol. 71(4). 743–762.

Shirai, Yasuhiro

2002 The prototype hypothesis of tense-aspect acquisition in second language. In Rafael Maximo Salaberry (Ed.), The L2 acquisition of tense-aspect morphology, 455–493. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Cognitive perspective

55

Smith, Carlota

2009 A speaker-based approach to aspect. In Helen Aristar-Dry, Richard P. Meier & Emilie Destruel (Eds.), Text, time, and con- text, 7–24. Dordrecht: Springer.

Taylor, John R.

2002 Cognitive Grammar. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

Tomasello, Michael

2005 Constructing a language – A usage-based theory of language

acquisition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Tyler, Andrea & Vyvyan Evans

2001 The relation between experience, conceptual structure and mean- ing: Non-temporal uses of tense and language teaching. In Martin

Pu¨ tz, Susanne Niemeier & Rene´ Dirven (Eds.), Applied cognitive linguistics I: Theory and language acquisition, 63–105. Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Tyler, Andrea & Vyvyan Evans

2003 The semantics of English prepositions: Spatial scenes, embodied meaning and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tyler, Andrea & Vyvyan Evans

2004 Applying Cognitive Linguistics in pedagogical grammar: The case of over. In Michel Achard & Susanne Niemeier (Eds.), Cognitive linguistics, second language acquisition, and foreign language teaching, 257–280. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Tyler, Andrea

2008 Cognitive Linguistics and second language instruction. In Peter Robinson & Nick C. Ellis (Eds.), Handbook of cognitive linguistics and second language acquisition, 456–488. New York/London:

Routledge.

Tyler, Andrea, Charles M. Mueller & Vu Ho

2010 Applying Cognitive Linguistics to instructed L2 learning: The English modals. In Jeannette Littlemore & Constanze Juchem- Grundmann (Eds.), AILA Review 23: Applied cognitive linguistics and second language learning and teaching, 30–49. Amsterdam:

Benjamins. Ungerer, Friedrich, Peter Pasch, Peter Lampater & Rosemary Hellyer-Jones

1992 Learning English: A guide to grammar. Stuttgart: Klett.

Vendler, Zino

1967 Linguistics in Philosophy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Viberg, Ake

1984 The verbs of perception: A typological study. In Brian Butter-

¨

worth, Bernard Comrie & O sten Dahl (Eds.), Explanations for

language universals, 123–162. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

56

Susanne Niemeier

Williams, Christopher

2002 Non-progressive and progressive aspect in English. Fasano: Schena

editore. Ziemke, Tom, Jordan Zlatev & Roslyn M. Frank (Eds.)

2007 Embodiment. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Acknowledgement

I wish to thank Fred Thompson (University Koblenz-Landau, Germany) for proofreading the manuscript as well as my two reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. All remaining flaws are, as usual, my own responsibility.

Chapter 2

The Spanish preterite and imperfect from a cognitive point of view 1

Aintzane Doiz

1.

Introduction

The goal of this chapter is to provide a semantic characterization of the imperfect (henceforth, IMP) and of the preterite (henceforth, PRET) in Spanish, two past forms that have attracted a lot of attention in the litera- ture. In particular, two parameters will be used to account for the forms:

the distinction between the actual occurrence reading and the property read- ing proposed by Doiz-Bienzobas (1995, 2002), and the distinction between real versus virtual events put forward by Langacker (2001b, 2008, 2009). It will be shown that this analysis captures the subtle di¤erences between the meanings of the two forms in context and accounts for the preference in the choice or the acceptability of one of the two forms in discourse. The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 summarizes some of the main assumptions of Cognitive Grammar (especially Langacker 1987, 1991) and introduces the analytic tools that will be used throughout this chapter. In addition, it provides an overview of the English present and past tenses based on Langacker (1991, 2009) that will be relevant for the purpose of this chapter. Section 3 proposes an analysis of the PRET and the IMP in terms of the actual occurrence reading and the property reading that will serve to account for the readings and the acceptability of the forms in combination with certain predicates. Section 4 introduces Langacker’s characterization of virtual versus non-virtual events (2001a, 2009). This char- acterization will be applied in Section 5 to the understanding of the use of the IMP to talk about scheduled future situations, generics, speaker’s expect-

1. The results presented in this paper are part of the research project IT311–10 (Department of Education, University and Research of the Basque Govern- ment) and the UFI11/06 (the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU). I would like to thank the editors of this volume and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. Any errors or mistakes are, however, entirely my responsibility.

58

Aintzane Doiz

ations, and irrealis. Section 6 summarizes the main points of the analysis of the IMP and the PRET proposed in the chapter.

2. Prerequisites and a cognitive account of the English present and past tense

In the first part of this section, I introduce some basic notions that have been developed within Cognitive semantics/Cognitive Grammar during the last quarter century and which will be helpful for the understanding of this chapter. 2 In the second part, I provide a simplified description of the characterization of the present and the past tense provided by Langacker within Cognitive Grammar.

2.1. Prerequisites

Speakers may conceptualize and portray the same situation in di¤erent

ways; this ability is referred to as construal. Since ‘‘every linguistic expres- sion incorporates a particular way of construing the conceptual content it

evokes, construal is

and grammatical elements’’ (Langacker 2009: 14). Thus, from the Cogni- tive semantics perspective, meaning is identified with ‘‘conceptualization, i.e., mental experience, which is ultimately to be explicated in terms of cognitive processing’’ (Langacker 1991: 5). The notion of construal has four dimensions: specificity, perspective, scope, and prominence. In this chapter we focus on two dimensions of construal: scope – an aspect of perspective – and profiling – a kind of prominence. Scope is ‘‘the extent of the conceptual content an expression invokes as the basis for its meaning’’ (Langacker 2009: 14). For instance, in order to conceptualize physical objects, the domain of space has to be evoked since objects exist in space, occupy a space, and their size and shape are also manifested in space. But only the spatial expanse su‰cient for the object to manifest in it is required; we do not need to bring the entire universe within our scope of conception. In the case of the notion table, for example, the delimited spatial region invoked to support it is its spatial scope or spatial domain as illustrated in Figure 1.

.] part of the conventional semantic value of lexical

2. See Chapter 1 for a summary of the main assumptions within Cognitive Linguistics.

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

59

Cognitive perspective on Spanish 5 9 Figure 1 . Spatial scope and space for the notion

Figure 1. Spatial scope and space for the notion table

Within a domain, we can often distinguish between the maximal scope (MS) and the immediate scope (IS). The MS stands for the overall content of an expression and the IS is the portion within the MS which is relevant to identify the meaning of an expression. For instance, the IS of elbow is an arm and its MS is the body as a whole. Both scopes are necessary because it is impossible to characterize the notion of elbow without invoking the notion of arm, which in turns invokes the notion of body. Finally, the conceptual content of an expression is also characterized by the profiling – a kind of prominence – and the profile it invokes (i.e., the entity it desig- nates or refers to). Following the example of elbow, we can say that elbow profiles a specific section of the arm, namely, the bend of the arm between the forearm and the upper arm represented with the heavy lines in Figure 2.

the upper arm represented with the heavy lines in Figure 2. Figure 2 . Maximal scope

Figure 2. Maximal scope (MS), immediate scope (IS), and profile in the notion elbow

60

Aintzane Doiz

Nouns and verbs profile di¤erent kinds of entities. Nouns profile a kind of a thing in an abstract sense. By contrast, verbs profile an event, a rela- tionship that unfolds through time. 3 Relationships may designate a bounded event or process, as in the case of perfective predicates, or an unbounded process, as in the case of imperfective predicates (Langacker 2008, 2009). Imperfective predicates correspond to stative verbs (e.g., to be, to love) within Vendler’s categorization. Imperfectives lack an intrinsic beginning or ending, they are internally homogenous and contractible (any subpart of the process is an instance of the process), and they are non-replicable (when two instances of an imperfective are combined, a larger instance of the process is obtained). Perfective predicates subsume the categories of achievement, accomplishment, and activity verbs proposed by Vendler (1967). They designate dynamic processes with natural boundaries. They are non-homogenous, i.e., they have di¤erent stages: in the case of the perfective predicate to write a letter, for instance, there are usually four di¤erent stages: writing the name of the addressee, starting the letter, writing some paragraphs, and finishing the letter. The stages are not con- tractible (all the stages that constitute the process need to be present in order to have an instance of the process) and they are replicable, that is to say, two successive acts of the process designated by a perfective predi- cate constitute two instances of the process type rather than a bigger or longer instance of the process (e.g., two instances of letter writing result in two di¤erent letters.) 4 Figures 3a and 3b contain the representation of an abstract perfective and an abstract imperfective predicate, respectively (Langacker 2008, 2009:

19). In Figure 3a, the perfective process is represented by the rectangle with the heavy lines within the IS. In Figure 3b, the imperfective process is represented by the profiled section of the rectangle; the beginning and the ending of the process within the IS are not profiled. The two kinds of pro- cesses develop through time as indicated by the arrow, the time line t.

3. See Langacker (1987, 2009) for a more detailed account.

4. Activities such as to sing and to eat are perfective in that they naturally occur in bounded episodes but they are internally homogeneous (Langacker 2009:

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

61

Cognitive perspective on Spanish 6 1 Figure 3a . Perfective process Figure 3b . Imperfective process

Figure 3a. Perfective process

perspective on Spanish 6 1 Figure 3a . Perfective process Figure 3b . Imperfective process 2.2.

Figure 3b. Imperfective process

2.2. The English present tense and the past tense

Tense morphemes impose an immediate temporal scope and direct the speakers’ attention to a particular span of time relative to a speech event (Langacker 1991, 2009: 23). The value of the present tense is that of temporal coincidence: the situation is coextensive with the speech event, the here-and-now of the speaker. The function of the past tense is to impose an immediate temporal scope that is prior to the time of speaking

62

Aintzane Doiz

(Langacker 2009: 22). 5 Figure 4a contains the representation of a present tense morpheme with a perfective process (e.g., *He writes a book) and an imperfective process (e.g., He knows Italian). Figure 4b contains the representation of a past tense morpheme with a perfective process (e.g., He wrote a book) and an imperfective process (e.g., He knew Italian). The speech event is represented by the box with the squiggly lines over the time line (t).

by the box with the squiggly lines over the time line (t). Figure 4a . The

Figure 4a. The present tense

lines over the time line (t). Figure 4a . The present tense Figure 4b . The

Figure 4b. The past tense

5. These are the characterizations of the prototypical temporal uses of the English present tense and past tense (Langacker 1991, 2001b, 2009). Langacker (2009) and Brisard (1999, 2001, 2002) argue that a more general characterization of the two tenses is epistemic.

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

63

On the one hand, perfectives do not usually occur with the English present tense (e.g., *He writes a book). Langacker argues that the ungram- maticality is due to durational and epistemic reasons. Firstly, the dura- tional problem refers to the fact that processes designated by perfectives are, generally speaking, too long to coincide with the speech time: a sentence like He writes a book may be uttered in a very short time, but the actual duration of the process it designates is longer than the time it takes to be uttered. Secondly, the epistemic motivation derives from the fact that by the time the addressee has heard enough of the utterance to be able to recognize the process designated, it is too late to make the beginning of the event coincide with its description at the speech event. 6 On the other hand, imperfectives may occur with the present tense (He knows Italian) because any profiled subpart of the process is equivalent to the other and, consequently, the part of the imperfective process that coincides with the speech time is in itself an instance of the process type (Figure 4a). Both, perfectives (He wrote a book) and imperfectives (He knew Italian) occur with the past tense. In the case of perfectives with the past tense, the entire situation is contained within the IS, which means that the situation may be apprehended or viewed as a whole from the speech time by the speaker and the hearer (Figure 4b). There are no durational or epistemic constraints. In the case of imperfectives with the past tense, the situation is designated without its beginning or ending.

3. The past tense in Spanish: Actual occurrence reading versus property reading

Like the past tense in English, the Spanish PRET and IMP impose an immediate temporal scope that is prior to the time of speaking. However, the PRET and the IMP construe the situations they modify in a di¤erent way. I propose the following characterizations: 7 (I) Predicates with the PRET evoke the actual occurrence reading; they state that something

6. However, perfectives may occur with the present tense in the case of performa- tives (I order you to go now) or schedules (The train leaves at 6.00) because there are no durational or epistemic incompatibilities in these two contexts.

7. These characterizations di¤er in some respects to the ones proposed in Doiz- Bienzobas (1995, 2002). However, the notions of actual occurrence versus property do not di¤er from the original proposal. Leonetti (2004) also refers to the notion of property for the characterization of the IMP.

64

Aintzane Doiz

happened or that something has changed. Hence, the PRET evokes the occurrence of an actual bounded event which started and finished at some point in the past, as illustrated in (1a). It may also designate a bounded state in combination with some imperfective predicates (1b).

(1) a.

Juan condujo muy ra´pido ayer. Juan drove-PRET very quickly yesterday. ‘Juan drove very quickly yesterday’.

b. Juan estuvo aquı´ (ya no). Juan was-PRET here (not anymore).

(II) Predicates with the IMP evoke the property reading. Therefore, unlike

the PRET, the IMP construes the situation it modifies as an unbounded state of a¤airs or an unbounded property which is generally stated of the subject of the sentence. In (2a) Juan had the property of being a fast driver; in (2b) Juan had the property of being Swedish.

(2)

a.

Juan conducı´a muy ra´pido. Juan drove-IMP too quickly. ‘Juan was a fast driver’.

b.

Juan era sueco. Juan was-IMP Swedish.

It is up to the speaker and hearer to decide which construal, the actual occurrence reading which is evoked by the PRET, or the property reading, associated with the IMP, best fits her communicative intention and the situation being talked about. In 3.1, I illustrate the actual occurrence reading imposed by the PRET and the property reading associated with the IMP in combination with imperfective and perfective predicates. In Section 3.2, I account for the acceptability judgements of perfectives and imperfectives with the PRET and the IMP.

3.1.

The IMP and the PRET in contrast

3.1.1.

Imperfectives þ PRET/IMP

Imperfective predicates may occur with the IMP and the PRET, but the

interpretation of the sentences they appear in is very di¤erent. Consider

(3a) and (3b), where the imperfective predicate ‘‘to be interesting’’, an intrin-

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

65

sically unbounded homogeneous state, may occur with the PRET or with the IMP.

(3)

a.

La pelı´cula fue interesante (?por lo menos en teorı´a). The movie was-PRET interesting (?at least in theory).

b.

La pelı´cula era interesante (por lo menos en teorı´a). The movie was-IMP interesting (at least in theory).

When the PRET is used (3a), the actual occurrence reading surfaces. The sentence evokes the occurrence of an event, namely, the showing of the movie, as confirmed by the unacceptability of adding the phrase ‘‘at least in theory’’, which explicitly negates the occurrence of the event (Doiz- Bienzobas 1995, 2002). When the IMP is used (3b), however, there need not be a showing of the movie, and consequently, the phrase ‘‘at least in theory’’ is fine. The state of being interesting is construed as an unbounded property of the subject, the movie.

3.1.2. Perfectives þ PRET/IMP

As in the case of imperfectives, perfective predicates (i.e., non-stative predi- cates) may be modified by the PRET and the IMP. However, the construals evoked by the two predicates are very di¤erent, as illustrated by (4) and (5). When the PRET is used, speaker A wants to know what happened on Tuesday in terms of weather (actual occurrence reading): whether it rained or not. Speaker B answers that it rained on Tuesday morning, but that the weather was good in the afternoon. The perfective predicate, hacer bueno ‘‘to make good’’ in combination with the PRET designates the occurrence of an action (‘‘it made good’’).

(4)

Speaker A:

?

Que´ tiempo hizo el martes?

?

Llovio´?

What made-PRET (was) the weather (like) on Tuesday? Did it rain-PRET?

Speaker B:

Sı´, por la man˜ana llovio´, pero a la tarde hizo bueno. Yes, in the morning it rained-PRET, but in the afternoon it made-PRET (was) good (the weather was good).

By contrast, when the perfective predicate ‘‘to make good’’ is modified by the IMP (5), the predicate does not respond to the question What happened

66

Aintzane Doiz

weatherwise on Tuesday? In this case, the predicate designates a property attributed to the topic. The sentence it made-IMP good describes an unbounded property or a state of a¤airs similar to the one evoked by the sentences it was rainy or it was cold. The property reading surfaces and it serves as the background for the occurrence of the event We went to the beach: 8

(5)

Speaker A:

?

Que´ hicisteis el martes?

What did you do-PRET on Tuesday?

Speaker B:

Como el martes hacı´a bueno, fuimos a la playa. Since the weather made-IMP (was) good on Tuesday, we went- PRET to the beach.

The analysis of the use of the IMP in (5) is compatible with Ducrot’s anal- ysis of the sentence provided in (6) (Ducrot 1979: 6):

(6)

El an˜o pasado en Parı´s hacı´a/hizo calor. Last year it made-IMP/PRET (was) hot in Paris.

Ducrot (1979) proposed that predicates with the IMP designate a property that is applicable to the topic as a whole. In the case of the sentence with the IMP in (6), the speaker is saying that it was hot all year round in Paris. On the other hand, when the PRET is used, the property designated by the predicate may be assigned to a subpart of the topic: it may be the case that it was hot just some days that year. The ‘‘subpart’’ reading is supported by the fact that the PRET, and not the IMP, is normally used when there is explicit reference to some subparts of the temporal frame, e.g., three times within a week in (7) (sentence provided by Leonetti 2004: 497):

(7)

La semana pasada, ?llovı´a/llovio´ tres veces. Last week, it rained-?IMP/PRET three times.

8. The occurrences of backgrounded situations in the IMP and of foregrounded situations in the PRET have long been noted in the literature. Hopper and Thompson (1980) established a correlation between backgrounding and atelicity (unboundedness), and foregrounding and telicity (boundedness). Fleischman (1989, 1990) also stated that the function of the French imparfait, similar to the Spanish IMP, is to provide backgrounded information at the textual level (see Chapter 9, for a discussion of foreground and background).

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

67

Leonetti (2004: 497) derived the global property reading associated with the IMP from the imperfective nature of the IMP. 9 He argued that, since the IMP construes the predicate it modifies as an unbounded and homo- geneous property (i.e., as an imperfective), it is unnatural to assign the property to a part. Consequently, the property is stated of the whole tem- poral frame in which the situation holds. The characterization of the IMP that has been proposed here also ac- counts for the so-called imperfecto narrativo (‘‘IMP of narration’’) and its two variants, the imperfecto biogra´fico (‘‘IMP of biographies’’) and the imperfecto de ruptura (‘‘IMP of breakage’’). 10 These uses of the IMP are generally attested at the beginning and at the end of narratives, where the function of backgrounding or the framing of the narration has greater prominence (Ferna´ndez Ramı´rez 1986). Consider the sentences in (8a) and (8b), which illustrate the imperfecto biogra´fico and the imperfecto de ruptura, respectively:

(8) a.

A los tres an˜os, el general morı´a de una forma misteriosa.

Three years later, the general died-IMP in a mysterious way.

b. Media hora despue´s la herida paraba de sangrar. Half an hour later the wound stopped-IMP bleeding.

The use of the IMP results in the understanding of the predicate as a state of a¤airs or a property predicated of a temporal topic: the temporal topic of three years later in (8a) is characterized by the general’s death; in (8b) the temporal topic of half an hour later is characterized by a property of the wound. The use of the PRET in these sentences would result in the actual occurrence reading whereby the predicates state that something happened at a particular time in the past.

3.2. The unacceptability of the PRET and the IMP

While the IMP and the PRET may occur both with imperfectives and perfectives (Section 3.1.), there are contexts in which only one of the two forms is possible. As stated by Ferna´ndez Ramı´rez (1986: 281): ‘‘Parece

9. Leonetti proposed that IMP is the equivalent of individual-level predicates (Carlson 1977; Kratzer 1989; Diesing 1992) in the verbal system. For reasons of space, I will not discuss this point in detail. 10. Bertinetto (1986: 392 and beyond) and Vetters (1996) also discuss these uses of the corresponding Italian and French IMP, respectively. See Ferna´ndez Ramı´rez (1986) and Go´ mez (2002) for more information on the narrative uses of the IMP.

68

Aintzane Doiz

pues que existe cierta concurrencia del imperfecto y del prete´rito. Pero esta libertad esta´ limitada en la mayorı´a de los casos y determinada por una serie de factores que serı´a necesario fijar caso por caso’’. 11 According to grammar books and course books for students of Spanish, imperfective predicates (i.e., states) tend to occur with the IMP and perfec- tive predicates (i.e., activities, accomplishments, and achievements) with the PRET. In other words, intrinsically unbounded situations (i.e., imper- fectives) occur with the IMP because it portrays the situations it modifies as unbounded; intrinsically bounded situations (i.e., perfectives) occur with the PRET because it portrays the situations it modifies as bounded. Hence, the unacceptability of the IMP or the PRET in certain contexts is attributed to the clash between the intrinsic boundedness of the situation designated by the predicate and the boundedness of the situation evoked by the PRET and the IMP. Under this account, the predicate ‘‘to be of age’’ is unaccept- able with the PRET in (9) because the PRET imposes some boundaries to the intrinsically unbounded situation. By contrast, the perfective predicate, ‘‘to write a letter’’, is unacceptable with the IMP because the IMP portrays the intrinsically bounded situation as unbounded (10).

Imperfective þ ?PRET/IMP

(9)

Como ?fue/era mayor de edad, condujo el coche. Since he was-?PRET/IMP of age, he drove the car.

Perfective þ PRET/?IMP (10) Ayer escribı´/?escribı´a una carta. Yesterday I wrote-PRET/?IMP a letter.

However, the analysis of the compatibility of the IMP/PRET in context in terms of boundedness does not account for the unacceptability of the IMP with some imperfective predicates, and for the unacceptability of the PRET with some perfective predicates. I consider these two cases in the remainder of this section.

Imperfectives þ *IMP

As we have already seen, imperfective predicates may normally occur with the IMP (2b and 9), but this is not always the case as illustrated in (11),

11. ‘‘Hence, there seems to be some overlap between the IMP and the PRET. But the possibility of using either form is limited in the majority of the cases and is conditioned by some factors that need to be determined case by case’’ (trans- lation provided by the author of the chapter).

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

69

where the predicate ‘‘to be those three’’ cannot be modified by the IMP; and thus it has to appear in the PRET. 12

(11)

Speaker A:

Who did it?

Speaker B:

Fueron/?Eran esas tres. It was-PRET/?IMP those three (girls).

Speaker A knows that somebody did something, but she does not know who it was, so she asks speaker B (who did it?). Since the sentence evokes an actual occurrence reading (i.e., something happened), speaker B codes the missing information in the PRET (‘‘it was-PRET those three girls’’). By contrast, the use of the IMP is unacceptable in this context because it portrays the three women as the entities of whom a property is stated, a construal which is not an appropriate reply to the question posed by speaker A. Similarly, (12) also illustrates the unacceptability of an imperfective predicate with the IMP and its acceptability with the PRET with an im- perfective verb when the actual occurrence reading is the only appropriate construal of the situation in the context.

(12)

Fue/?Era inteligente: no contesto´. She was-PRET/?IMP intelligent: she did not reply.

When the PRET is used, the first proposition states that the subject did something that made him seem intelligent. The proposition after the colon specifies what that action was, namely, not replying. Since the two pro- positions have a coherence relation, they result in an acceptable discourse. However, when the IMP is used, the predicate modified by the IMP states that the subject was characterized by the property of being intelligent. The clause after the colon states that the subject did not say a word. Since there is no logical coherence between the two propositions, the sentence is unacceptable. 13

12. A similar example is analyzed in Doiz-Bienzobas (1995, 2002).

13. As noted by Brisard (2010: 493), ‘‘the idea that there should be a coherence relation between two subsequent units in a discourse is a requirement which can be formulated in terms of Gricean maxims or relevance conditions (Sperber and Wilson 1995)’’.

70

Aintzane Doiz

Perfectives þ *PRET

Counter to the predictions made by an analysis of the PRET in terms of boundedness, sometimes perfective predicates may not be modified by the PRET, as illustrated in (13): 14

(13)

La carta *dijo/decı´a lo mucho que le querı´a. The letter said-*PRET/IMP how much he loved her.

When the PRET is used, the predicate ‘‘said how much he loved her’’ desig- nates the occurrence of an event in which an agent did something: the letter ‘‘uttered’’ some words in the past. Under normal circumstances, only people may carry out this activity, so the unacceptability of the sentence in (13) with the PRET, where the letter is responsible for the utterance, comes as no surprise. When the IMP is used, however, the letter is not construed as actually talking. The predicate designates a property, which is attributed to the subject: the letter was characterized by having the message of how much he loved her. This sentence portrays a pragmatically feasible scenario, and hence, it is acceptable. 15 Last but not least, the analysis proposed in this chapter accounts for the general tendency for imperfectives to occur with the IMP and for perfectives to occur with the PRET, as explained by the traditional analyses in terms of boundedness. Consider (9) and (10), repeated here under (14) and (16).

(14)

Como ?fue/era mayor de edad, condujo el coche. Since he was-?PRET/IMP of age, he drove the car.

When the IMP is used, the predicate ‘‘being of age’’ is construed as a property attributed to the subject, and this property explains his being able to drive the car: since he was of age, he drove the car. The IMP is acceptable. The PRET, on the other hand, construes the predicate ‘‘being of age’’ as an actual occurrence (i.e., something happened: he became of age). Therefore the reading of the sentence is: Since he became of age, he drove the car. The lack of a coherence relation between the two proposi-

14. A similar example is analyzed in Doiz (1995, 2002) in more detail.

15. As one of the editors of this volume pointed out, predicates similar to ‘‘to say’’ such as estipular ‘‘to stipulate’’, detallar ‘‘to specify’’, establecer ‘‘to establish’’ may take an inanimate subject in the PRET. In these cases, the predicate designates an activity that may be carried out by the inanimate subject. I suggest that the selectional restrictions regarding the animacy of the subjects of these verbs are di¤erent from the ones associated with the verb ‘‘to say’’.

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

71

tions renders the PRET unacceptable. In order for the PRET to be accept- able, a context where the predicate needs to be construed as an actual occurrence is required, as in (15):

(15)

Cuando fue mayor de edad, condujo el coche. When he was-PRET of age, he drove the car. ‘When he became of age, he drove the car’.

In (15), the temporal conjunction when marks the beginning of the situa- tion becoming of age. The speaker states that the subject was able to drive when something happened, namely, when the subject became of age (actual occurrence reading). Consequently, in this case, the PRET is grammatical. Finally, the so-called preference of perfectives to occur with the PRET is also accounted for under the characterizations of the PRET and the IMP provided here. In (16) the PRET is the preferred choice for the per- fective predicate ‘‘to write a letter’’: the perfective situation is perceived as an actual occurrence. In order for the IMP be acceptable, the perfective predicate has to be embedded in a discourse in which the property reading is appropriate, such as in literary contexts where the narrative uses of the IMP are found, as discussed in Section 3.1.

(16)

Ayer escribı´/?escribı´a una carta. Yesterday I wrote-PRET/?IMP a letter.

As a summary, in this section I have discussed the di¤erences in the inter- pretation of the sentences whose predicates take the PRET and the IMP, and I have accounted for the acceptability judgements of the two forms with various imperfective and perfective predicates. In both tasks, the characterization of the PRET and the IMP in terms of the actual occurrence reading versus property reading was crucial. In Section 4, I introduce the distinction between virtual and non-virtual events proposed by Langacker (2003, 2008, 2009), which will be shown to be relevant for the understand- ing of the IMP and the PRET in Section 5.

4. Actual versus virtual events in English

Linguistic expressions may reflect the direct description of an actual or represented event, or they may code a virtual or representing event of the actual event. The former reflects the default apprehension or viewing arrangement of a situation by the speaker and hearer (Figure 5a); the latter portrays a special apprehension or viewing arrangement (Figure 5b) (Lan- gacker 2001a, 2009):

72

Aintzane Doiz

72 Aintzane Doiz Figure 5a . Default viewing arrangement of an event Figure 5b . Special

Figure 5a. Default viewing arrangement of an event

Doiz Figure 5a . Default viewing arrangement of an event Figure 5b . Special viewing arrangement

Figure 5b. Special viewing arrangement of an event

On the one hand, the default viewing arrangement occurs when the speaker and hearer observe and report on actual occurrences. On the other hand, the special viewing arrangement is taken when what is linguistically coded is not an actual or represented event but a representing or virtual event. Scheduled future events, generics, and the historical present are all mental constructions involving instances of virtual or representing events. Generics, which include general truths, laws of nature, and established social practices, such as the ones illustrated in (17) and (18) (sentences from Langacker 2009: 28), describe how the world is supposed to work (Goldsmith and Woisetschlaeger 1982; Langacker 2009). That is to say, generics describe structural generalizations based on what is common to actual occurrences; they do not describe the actual occurrences themselves.

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

73

Consequently, when speakers state a generalization, they are describing a virtual or representing situation, which captures the common aspects of all the corresponding actual situations. When the generalization is accessible at the speech event, the present tense is used, as in (17). When the generaliza- tion is accessible at a past point in time, the past tense is used (18).

(17)

A man proposes to a woman. [That’s how it’s done.]

(18)

In those days, a man proposed to a woman. [Now anything goes.]

Figures 6 and 7 contain the representations of present singular generics and past singular generics, respectively. The boxes which include the circles containing the letters m, w, and the arrow stand for the events (or the rela- tionships) of a man proposing to a woman (m ! w). The various instances of the events of a man proposing to a woman from which the generaliza- tion is drawn are the actual situations. The generalizations are represented by the profiled boxes with the heavy lines within the IS. The empty boxes to the left and to the right of the boxes with the heavy lines stand for other (unspecified) generalizations that the speaker may have. It is important to note that, whereas the actual situations are not located at specific points in time, the generalizations (i.e., the virtual generic situations) are. In the case of present generics, the generalization coincides with the time of speaking (the box with the squiggly lines), as represented in Figure 6; in the case of past singular generics, the generalization is in e¤ect in the past, as repre- sented in Figure 7.

is in e¤ect in the past, as repre- sented in Figure 7. Figure 6 . Present

74

Aintzane Doiz

74 Aintzane Doiz Figure 7 . Past singular generics Like generics, scheduled situations also involve virtual

Figure 7. Past singular generics

Like generics, scheduled situations also involve virtual events. ‘‘A schedule comprises a series of virtual events, each the mental representation of an anticipated actual event’’ (Langacker 2009: 27). Consider (19) and (20) which designate a present and a past schedule, respectively:

(19)

We have to hurry. The plane leaves in ten minutes. (Langacker 1999: 94, 2001a: 31, 2001b: 268, 2003: 22, 2009: 26)

(20)

She was rushing through the airport. The plane left in ten minutes. (Langacker 2009: 26)

Scheduled situations evoke two events. The anticipated event, the plane’s actual leaving, which may or may not take place, and the virtual or the representing event, that is, the knowledge that the speaker has of the anticipated event. It is the virtual event that is linguistically coded, not the anticipated situation. When the time in which the speaker apprehends the virtual event coincides with the time of speaking, the virtual situation is coded in the present tense in English, as illustrated in (19). When the speaker refers to ‘‘a mental schedule that was in e¤ect at an earlier time’’ with respect to the speech event, the past tense is used in English (Langacker 2009: 37), as illustrated in (20). Hence, the scheduled future use of the present tense and of the past tense are sketched in Figures 8 and 9, respectively.

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

75

Cognitive perspective on Spanish 7 5 Figure 8 . Scheduled future situations in the present (Langacker

Figure 8. Scheduled future situations in the present (Langacker 2009: 9)

future situations in the present (Langacker 2009: 9) Figure 9 . Scheduled future situations in the

Figure 9. Scheduled future situations in the past

The profiled boxes (i.e., the boxes with the heavy lines) within the IS represent the schedule, the knowledge or virtual situation the speaker has, namely, the situation The plane leaves in ten minutes in the cases of (19) and (20). This knowledge is accessible at the speech time when the present tense is used, as in (19) (Figure 8), or at a time prior to the speech time when the past tense is used, as in (20) (Figure 9). The boxes to the left

76

Aintzane Doiz

and to the right of the box in bold represent other potential virtual events, which have not or were not accessed by the speaker. The boxes with the dotted lines are the anticipated actual events which correspond to the virtual events: in (19) and (20) they stand for the future situation, namely, for the plane’s actual departure, which may or may not take place. 16 It is important to bear in mind that genericity and scheduling are not part of the meaning of the present tense or the past tense; they are not ‘‘a meaning’’ of these tenses. Genericity and scheduling are mental constructs found in a particular context that are coded in the present tense or in the past tense in accordance to the prototypical temporal value of the tenses, as discussed in Section 2.2. (Langacker 2009: 28).

5. Virtual events in Spanish and the IMP

In Spanish, habituals, generics, and schedules occur with the IMP. Simi- larly, speaker’s expectations and the expression of irrealis are also coded in the IMP. Drawing from the analysis of genericity and scheduling pro- vided by Langacker (Section 4), I propose that the IMP is compatible with virtuality. 17

Past singular generics/past habituals

In Spanish, the reading of past genericity and habituality surfaces with the IMP (21a), not with the PRET (21b):

(21) a.

[Antes] un barbero sacaba muelas. [Ahora ya no]. [Before] a barber took-IMP out back teeth. [Not any more].

b.

Un barbero saco´ muelas. A barber took-PRET out back teeth.

16. The participants of the situations and the relationship linking them (i.e., the plane leaving in ten minutes) have not been represented within the profiled/ non-profiled boxes in Figures 8 and 9.

17. See Brisard (2010: 505) for an analysis of the French imparfait as a marker of a kind of virtual reality: ‘‘The French imparfait either shifts the viewpoint to the past, thereby virtualizing it (making the viewpoint and situation virtually available at the time of speaking), or shifts it to another space than the actual one, also virtual (which may then be interpreted in context as hypothetical etc.)’’.

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

77

On the one hand, when the IMP is used (21a), the speaker is referring to

a generalization (i.e., to a virtual event) that is extracted from the com-

monality among the actual events in the past; the speaker is not referring to a particular instance of the situation. On the other hand, when the PRET is used (21b), the situation designated by the sentence is the actual

occurrence of an event in the past: the speaker is referring to a specific time when a barber took out some back teeth. Since the generic/habitual reading surfaces with the IMP, it is concluded that the IMP is compatible with the linguistic coding of virtual events.

Scheduled/planned future situations

Scheduled or planned future situations have been referred to as anticipated (Doiz-Bienzobas 1995, 2002) or prospective situations/readings (Leonetti and Escandell-Vidal 2003) in the literature. These situations are coded in the IMP in Spanish, as illustrated by (22a) and (22b):

(22) a.

Al an˜o siguiente habı´a fiestas. (Pero se cancelaron/Fueron divertidas). The following year there were-IMP some festivities. ‘The following year there were going to be some festivities’. (But they got cancelled/They were a lot of fun).

b. El tren salı´a a las 6. (Se estropeo´ /Salio´ en punto) The train left-IMP at 6 o’clock. ‘The train was leaving (was scheduled to leave) at 6 o’clock’. (It broke down/It departed on time).

In (22a) and in (22b) the speaker is referring to a situation which has been planned/scheduled to take place at a time in the future with respect to

a past reference time; the speaker does not state whether the situation

has taken place or not (They were a lot of fun/It departed on time; They were cancelled/It broke down). Following Langacker’s characterization of scheduled future situations, it is proposed that what is coded linguistically in (22a) and (22b) is the virtual plan, the schedule regarding the future occurrence of the situation, rather than the actual future situation itself. In this view, the IMP is compatible with past virtual situations. By contrast, when the PRET is used, the anticipated reading or scheduled reading does not surface. The sentences in (23a) and (23b) designate a situa- tion which actually occurred in the past as shown by the unacceptability of adding But they were cancelled (23a) or It didn’t leave (23b). There is no reference to a scheduled or to an anticipated event:

78

Aintzane Doiz

(23)

a.

Al an˜o siguiente hubo fiestas. (?Pero se cancelaron/Fueron divertidas). The following year there were-PRET festivities. ‘The following year some festivities took place’. (?But they got cancelled/They were a lot of fun).

b.

El tren salio´ a las 6. (Llegamos a tiempo/?No salio´). The train left-PRET at 6 o’clock. (We arrived in time to catch it/?It didn’t leave).

The mental construction of a schedule also underlies the use of the so- called imperfecto de error (‘‘the imperfect of mistakes’’) illustrated in (24). This use is discussed in Grijelmo (2006: 254) and in some Spanish grammar books.

(24)

El co´ nyuge sorprendido le dijo a su pareja: ‘‘ No venı´as man˜ana de Italia?’’ The surprised husband told his wife: ‘‘Not come-IMP tomorrow from Italy?’’ ‘The surprised husband told his wife: ‘‘Weren’t you coming back tomorrow from Italy?’’’

?

In (24), the husband expresses his surprise at the early return of his wife by asking: Weren’t you coming back tomorrow from Italy? At the time in which the question is asked, the speaker knows that his wife is not coming home on the following day because she is already home. In this case, the speaker is accessing his knowledge about the scheduled date of return of his wife. The question is posed to get his wife’s confirmation of the validity of his schedule, of the virtual event. That is why the IMP is used. Since it may be the case that the speaker is not necessarily wrong (his schedule could have been right but the actual event did not follow the timing stated in the schedule, as in the present example), the label ‘‘the imperfect of mistakes’’ is not quite appropriate. The speaker is merely seeking to have his schedule or piece of knowledge confirmed. As in the previous cases, this reading is not part of the semantic contribution of the IMP.

The speaker’s expectations

The speaker’s expectations are the set of beliefs that the speaker has regard- ing the way things should have been in the past or should be in the present or in the future. Since expectations are not actual situations, but rather, they

Cognitive perspective on Spanish

79

are virtual events with corresponding potential actual situations, the IMP

is used. Compare (25a) and (25b):

(25) a.

?

?

Do´nde estuviste ayer, Juan? Where were-PRET you yesterday, Juan?

Do´nde estabas ayer, Juan? Where were-IMP you yesterday, Juan?

b.

When the PRET is used (25a), the speaker wants to know where the addressee, Juan, was at a specific point in the past. The speaker is access- ing an actual past situation. In this case, the speaker does not have any pre-conceived idea of where Juan was or should/could have been, and she expects a straight forward answer such as I was at the movies, I went shopping, etc. No further explanation is required or expected from the

hearer. By contrast, when the IMP is used (25b), the question posed by the speaker is not a neutral question. In this case the speaker is referring to her expectation regarding the hearer’s location at some moment in the past; the question refers to some knowledge or a virtual idea. By question- ing her knowledge or expectation, the speaker implies that the expectation

is not met and, consequently, she is asking the hearer to explain to provide

a reason. The process is something like:

Given some piece of information/knowledge I had, I expected to see you at the party ! You were not at the party ! I am asking you ‘‘where were you given the fact that you were not where you were expected?’’ ! ‘‘Why weren’t you there?’’

The emergence of certain implications that are present when the IMP is used is a desired e¤ect that is exploited by speakers as illustrated by the dialogue in (26a). Let’s imagine that a crime has been committed. A police o‰cer, speaker A, is conducting an investigation and is cross-examining a suspect, speaker B. The choice of the IMP or the PRET reflects a di¤erent understanding of the situation, as reflected by the police o‰cer’s attitude towards speaker B. If speaker A uses the IMP, speaker B is the suspect of some wrong-doing (26a); if she uses the PRET, speaker B is not a suspect for the time being (26b). The answers provided by speaker B reflect the specific scenarios associated with the sentences with the PRET and the IMP, respectively:

80