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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 25, 2006

Can completive and durative adverbials function as tests for telicity? Evidence from English and Chinese

  • Richard Xiao EMAIL logo and Tony Mcenery


Telicity is an important concept in the study of aspect. While the compatibility tests with completive and durative adverbials have long been in operation as a diagnostic for telicity, their validity and reliability have rarely been questioned. This article critically explores the validity and reliability of such tests and discusses such temporal expressions in English and Chinese on the basis of written and spoken corpora of the two languages and proposes a scheme of usage categories of completive and durative adverbials with their respective proportions, which is adequately explanatory of the phenomena observed in attested language use and enables compatibility tests with completive and durative adverbials to achieve improved accuracy and reliability.

Received: 2005-11
Revised: 2006-01
Accepted: 2006-02
Published Online: 2006-09-25
Published in Print: 2006-June-01

© Walter de Gruyter

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