Stefano Rastelli

A Compositional Account of L2 Verb Actionality and the Aspect Hypothesis

  • Abstract

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Keywords: aspect hypothesis, L2 Italian acquisition, Aktionsart, compositional theory

Syncretic Accountmay be one possible unifying label for a number of studies which have recently raised some criticism over the Aspect Hypothesis. These approaches claim that neither the cognitive Relevance Principle nor learners' innate knowledge of L2 Actionality can be held as the guiding principle that paves the way for L2 acquisition of Tense-Aspect morphology. This is because: (1) the semantic dimensions of Tense, Aspect and Actionality - especially at early stages of the learning process - are too syncretically intertwined in order to be unambiguously detected from each other: (2) the actional content of L2 verbs too is learned, that is, it is tentatively constructed by learners outside V, at a phrasal level. The present article accounts of how verb actionality in L2 Italian can be derived inductively by postulating a syncretic tentative node TAsp (Tense + Aspect) between what is called Inner and Outer Aspect on the same compositional tree in Verkuyl's Aspectual Theory.

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