LingLunch : E. Bar-Asher Siegal

Thursday 21 March 2024, 12:00 to 13:00
Karen De Clercq et Ira Noveck (LLF)

LLF – Bât. ODG – 5e étage – Salle du conseil (533)

Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Modeling progress to solve the imperfective paradox (joint work with Prerna Nadathur)

In exploring the "imperfective paradox," where telic predicates can denote events that don't culminate, theories often suggest that the progressive aspect considers possible outcomes across a set of alternatives to the evaluation world. These theories, however, struggle to explain the usage of progressives in contexts where culmination seems improbable or impossible. This paper offers a novel perspective, arguing that the interpretation of telic progressives depends on the structure derived from an event's type. It introduces the concept of a formal causal model (Pearl 2000), where the culmination of an event is a variable influenced by a network of causal conditions. This model outlines potential causal pathways towards an event's culmination, including conditions that facilitate or prevent it.

This paper argues that the progress of an event under a telic predicate can be evaluated against its causal model. A specific point in time aligns with the progressive aspect if it realistically represents part of an incomplete causal pathway towards culmination: the moment must meet some conditions for culmination without fulfilling those for non-culmination.