- Slides: 13
Progressive Forms Lecture 14
The Progressive Aspect n n n The progressive aspect allows us to present an event in different ways: as unfolding in time (progressive VP, i. e. marked for progressive aspect) or as completed (non-progressive VP, i. e. not marked for progressive aspect). The marking for progressive aspect consists of a form of be + the suffix -ing added to the next verb in the VP. Do not confuse this with the use of -ing forms in non -finite clauses or as modifiers.
A progressive verb form vs. a nonprogressive (or simple) verb form: Simple verb form Progressive verb form Characteristic and permanent properties of persons and things John is polite. Mary plays the piano. Observable and changeable behaviour of persons; evidence/manifestations of changeable properties of things John is being polite. Mary is playing the piano. The roof leaks. The roof is leaking.
Types of verb - dynamic verbs and state verbs Dynamic verbs State verbs Changeable event Permanent conditions/properties Typically under human Reactions of the control senses/mind beyond human control
Dynamic verbs - the progressive form represents the middle phase of the action She wrote a letter. vs. She was writing a letter. The progressive aspect brings different types of meaning to different types of dynamic verbs: A. Durative action verbs: sing, swim, write. Progressive 'temporary, ongoing action' John sings well. vs. John is singing in the shower. B. Momentary action verbs: knock, kick, nod. Progressive 'repeated momentary action' Someone is knocking on the door.
Dynamic verbs C. Transitional event verbs: break, die, drown, stop. Progressive 'approach to transition' The old man was dying. vs. The old man died. D. Process verbs: become, change, get, grow, weaken. Progressive 'on-going process' It was getting dark. vs. It got dark.
Potentially variable states A. Verbs of position: sit, stand, lie, stay, live Progressive 'temporary situation' She was sitting on the sofa. vs. She always sits in that corner. B. Bodily sensation verbs: ache, hurt, itch, tingle Progressive 'temporary situation' My head is aching. vs. My head aches whenever I read Kafka.
State verbs n A. Verbs of perception: see, hear, feel, taste, smell n B. Intellectual/emotional states: know, remember, believe, forget, admire, appreciate n C. Physical and abstract relationships: be (tall, old, . . . ), remain; have, own, possess; belong to, contain; become, fit, suit; mean, equal; cost, weigh; differ from, resemble; concern, involve
Complications with state verbs: 1. homonymous dynamic verb forms: He saw the car coming. (stative: 'perceive visually') He was seeing her to the airport. (dynamic: 'accompany') The doctor is seeing another patient. (dynamic: 'admit for consultation') Do you think that's true? (stative: 'believe') Are you thinking of leaving? (dynamic: 'plan', 'consider') The soup smells good. (stative: 'emit smell') The guests smelt the burning toast. (stative: 'perceive smell') The cook is smelling the soup. (dynamic: 'inhale fumes')
Complications with state verbs: 2. adverbials denoting gradual change turn stative verbs into process verbs: He resembles his father. (stative: 'look like') He's resembling his father more and more these days. (process: 'become like') I forget how you say that in Russian. (stative: 'not remember') I'm gradually forgetting my Russian. (process: 'lose from memory')
Tense and aspect n The present progressive - can be used to present an event in future time as the outcome of present plan, with or without an adverbial which makes the future time reference explicit: n John is going to Paris next week. Are you coming to the party? n
The past progressive The simple verb form ('completed action') vs. the progressive verb form ('on-going action'): Mary wrote a letter. (completed action) Mary was writing a letter. (on-going action) n As a consequence it is possible to use the progressive form with a framing (backgrounding) function, while the simple form represents an action, which took place within the temporal frame: Mary was writing a letter when the phone suddenly rang. n
The perfective progressive In combination with present tense and perfective aspect, the simple verb form and the progressive verb form express the expected kind of meaning contrast: You've been painting the door. vs. You've painted the door. (incomplete vs. completed action in the past with present relevance) An adverbial which expresses continuity combines with the progressive form: Peter has been painting the garage door all morning. An adverbial which refers to a completed period combines with the non-progressive form: Paul has painted the kitchen door in less than an hour.