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Temporal and Aspectual auxiliaries in Maltese

Camilleri, Maris (2016) Temporal and Aspectual auxiliaries in Maltese. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This study aims to better understand the realisation of grammatical tense and aspect in Maltese. We first consider the different temporal and aspectual interpretations related with the verbal and participial morphology. The main focus will then be the identification of different sorts of auxiliaries that contribute to the realisation of the morphosemantic tense and aspect features as they combine with one another and with lexical verbs and participles in periphrastic structures. The bleached semantics displayed by the forms to be discussed will be taken to be our primary identifier of an auxiliary status. Only one auxiliary expresses tense in the language, however a number of auxiliaries realize Viewpoint and Phasal aspect. The auxiliaries discussed range from invariable particles that simply realize feature-values to auxiliaries that display predicate-like behaviours, in that they are the semantic nucleus of their own clause. Three of the auxiliaries to be discussed are pseudo- verbs. While providing a much-needed account of their morphosyntactic behaviour, and what they bring to the overall constructions in which they are present, in terms of temporal and aspec- tual interpretations, we will for the first time posit that Maltese synchronically realizes perfect aspect through the use of at least two of these pseudo-verbal auxiliaries. The Lexical Functional Grammar framework will underlie this study’s morphosyntactic account, with which we aim to identify which syntactic analyses best account for the different auxiliaries as these combine with themselves and with other lexical predicates, particularly whether they come to form bi- or mono-tiered/clausal f-structures. The framework also underlies our quest in trying to better understand the (mis)matched behaviours that obtain across the morphology- semantic-syntax modules/levels of linguistic analysis, in the realm of the expression of tense and aspect in Maltese. We will see how in places, the morphological information expressed may even be contradictory to the interpretation expressed at the semantic level. This will compel us to argue that the yielded temporal and aspectual interpretations cannot always be taken to imply the realisation of tense/aspect values at the syntactic level.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PJ Semitic
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Maris Camilleri
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 13:28
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 13:28

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