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Title: A comparison between the Cantonese aspect markers gan and haidou
Authors: Lam, Chi-Fung
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Padova, Unipress
Abstract: This paper intends to discuss the difference between gan and haidou and to explain it by considering notions originating from the two-component theory of aspect advocated by Smith (1997). In her theory, both the viewpoint aspect and situation aspect of the verb constellation contribute to the aspectuality of a sentence. It is well known that the progressive aspect can occur in sentences with Activity and Accomplishment (e.g. Gu 1999:193-4). Thus, it is not surprising that both haidou and gan can occur in these two types of events. However, I will show that gan is also compatible with a certain subset of Stative sentences. This hypothesis builds on the observation that the situation type Stative, as in Smith‟s terminology, may further be divided into two types which are quite different in nature, namely Property and State, I claim that the State is compatible with gan while the Property is not. This additional classification helps us to establish a syntactic and semantic distinction between gan and haidou. It provides an effective criterion to predict the distribution of the two aspect markers. In a nutshell, the goal of this paper is to show: (G1) Haidou is a typical progressive aspect marker which is used in Activities and Accomplishments. (G2) Gan should be treated as a general imperfective aspect marker. While it can be used with Activities and Accomplishments, it can also be employed with [-permanent] States.
Appears in Collections:Rivista di Grammatica Generativa : Research in Generative Grammar (RGG)

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