This paper presents novel evidence on the aspectual properties of aspectually-unmarked predicates in Atayal (Austronesian). The Atayal unmarked predicates have been characterized as aspectually underspecified, allowing either a perfective or imperfective reading. The author applies diagnostics of initial and final points of events to different lexical aspectual classes, and shows that the described event must begin but varies in culmination entailment depending on lexical aspect. The author argues that unmarked predicates in Atayal possess a phonologically null neutral aspect in the sense of Smith (1991), which is reformulated by including inside the reference time a partitive operator I(intial)-STAGE (Altshuler 2004, Landman 2008). The findings not only contribute to uncovering the semantics of unmarked predicates in the language, but also have a typological implication for encoding non-culmination effects in different aspectual operators.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
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