The aktionsart or lexical aspect of a verb is a part of the way in which that verb is structured in relation to time. Any event, state, process, or action a verb expresses-collectively, any eventuality-may also be said to have the same aktionsart. Lexical aspect should be distinguished from grammatical aspect: lexical aspect is a classification of different verbs. Grammatical aspect is a classification of different (conjugated) forms of a single verb.

Telic verbs express an action tending towards a goal envisaged as realized in a perfective tense, but as contingent in an imperfective tense; atelic verbs, on the other hand, are verbs which do not involve any goal nor endpoint in their semantic structure, but denote actions that are realized as soon as they begin. Atelic verbs don't.

Durative verbs express an action that takes place over a period of time. Non-durative verbs don't.

Dynamic verbs change internally over time non-dynamic verbs don't.

However, these can be put together in a grid:
Achievements eg "realise" are telic and non-durative;
Accomplishments eg "drown" are telic and durative;
Semelfactives eg "knock" are atelic and non-durative;
Activities eg "walk" are atelic, durative and dynamic*; and
States eg "be" are atelic and durative but non-dynamic.*

In your opinion, can the modal verbs be defined as "states" in this classification or are they something else?

* Correct me if I'm wrong and tell me how dynamicity fits in with the other three categories.

Could anyone also classify these verbs according to this scheme into Achievements, Accomplishments, Semelfactives and Activities, thanks.
Agree, aim, appear, arrange, aspire, attempt, call, call in, choose, conspire, decide, drop by, drop in, fail, happen, know how, learn, long, manage, neglect, offer, plan, pretend, proceed, promise, put in, refuse, resolve, seem, strive, swear, tend, threaten, volunteer, vow, write, yearn

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Hello Anon

If you don't mind my saying so, this looks a little like coursework of some kind; or perhaps some kind of academic project.

Is that indeed the case?

All the best,

MrP
MrPedanticHello Anon

If you don't mind my saying so, this looks a little like coursework of some kind; or perhaps some kind of academic project.

Is that indeed the case?

All the best,

MrP

It's neither. The poster is not a student, but one who is interested in linguistics. He posts on other fora and has written many webpages on modailty.
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Thanks Milky, actually, what I'm trying to work out here isn't actually rocket science and I'm even thinking about usining some of this with my students if I can see a way from this discussion of presenting grammar in a simplified way. (I tend to use the idea of proximal and remote modality with my students, for instance as a result of such discussions.)

The problem with linguistics and even grammar is that they often introduce complicated or simply unfamiliar-sounding terms for something that really is fairly simple. "Aktionsart" certainly comes into this category. It's a German word, not even a word derived from Greek or Latin roots so the word itself is likely to frighten some people. Then the components of aktiosart are also unfamiliar-sounding although they are derrived from Greek, Latin or English.

You can think of aktionsart as lexical aspect (which it is also called.) That is to say, its a bit like grammatical aspect except (at least in English) it comes from the meaning of the word itself, not from grammar.

"Telic" also sounds unfamiliar. The most similar word in English is telomere - the end of a chromasome. It just refers to the idea of something that comes to an end in some way. The word "realise" is telic, once you realise something, it is at an end, "walk is "atelic" a- means not. OK if I walk, I must stop at some point, but there is nothing in the meaning of the word that of itself expresses an end to the activity.

"Durative" is maybe a bit easier. It means has duration. I already use this idea with my students when teaching gerunds vs infinitives except I don't use this word. I say, "If it happens over a period of time, use "verb-ing". Trust me, this is true.

"Dynamic" is a rather unfortunate term since we are also dealing with modality "dynamic modality" is something quite different. Here it means that there is a change or transformation of some sort.

Could you try to classify those verbs?

I'd better sign off properly so you can distinguish me from other anonomous posts.

Endi.
<Thanks Milky, actually, what I'm trying to work out here isn't actually rocket science and I'm even thinking about usining some of this with my students if I can see a way from this discussion of presenting grammar in a simplified way. (I tend to use the idea of proximal and remote modality with my students, for instance as a result of such discussions.)>

I understand and you're welcome. I find Mr P's answer rather odd and somewhat rude, especially as this forum is for discussing of lingusitics. Your post fits well into that category. Maybe he found your question difficult to answer.

Emotion: wink
Thank you Milky, I can confirm that this is not coursework. It's an academic project only in as much as it may have no practical application althogh I expect it will. It is not a thesis for any kind of degree if that's what you mean.

I'd forgotten that I'd split those verbs into two lots in another set of notes - verbs expressing purpose and verbs not expressing purpose I think this is significant, so here is the new set (actually, I've added two more.) Doubtful ones are marked with a question mark:

Not expressing purpose
appear, know how, ?be made, ?be supposed, happen, learn, proceed, seem, tend

Expressing purpose
agree, aim, arrange, aspire, attempt, call, call in, choose, conspire, decide, drop by, drop in, fail, long, manage, ?neglect, offer, plan, pretend, promise, put in, refuse, resolve, strive, swear, threaten, volunteer, vow, write, yearn

Shall I start the ball rolling? "Appear" and "seem" are near synonyms in one sense and would seem to be states and seem to be atelic and durative but non-dynamic.

In its other sense, "appear" as in "suddenly, the shopkeeper appeared", seems to be an achievement - telic and non-durative; also dynamic as there is a clear change from not being there to being there.

"Know how" seems to be a state.

What do you think?
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Edited version:
MilkyI understand and you're welcome. I find Mr P's answer rather odd and somewhat rude, especially as this forum is for discussing of linguistics issues. Your post fits well into that category. Maybe he found your question difficult to answer.

Emotion: wink