Some issues with monosemic analyses of polyfunctional aspectual grams: the progressive
This paper presents some of the functions of progressives (König 1995; Bertinetto et al. 2000), that any theory of a progressive must account for. The data from 36 constructions in the languages of Europe (Dahl (ed.) 2000: §4) suggest that three major groups of functions of differing semantic nature can be distinguished — aspectual (in the sense of (Klein 1994)), actional, and expressive (in the sense of (Lyons 1995)). The paper highlights some of the properties of these functions that have to be taken into account. To derive the variation in the aspectual functions of progressives a prototype-based notion «proto-process» is presented. The progressives are said to differ in the strictness of the selectional restrictions they impose on the predicates via this notion. A possible neo-Gricean approach to a range of functions is sketched and a challenge of overgeneration that it faces is discussed. The challenge is to derive only some of the functions, but not the others, since the cross-linguistic data show that in some languages only some of the functions derivable in a neo-Gricean fashion are attested, while similar functions are unavailable for the same construction. It is noted that the notion of proto-process is also useful from a diachronic point of view, since it picks out exactly those functions that are inherited, when a progressive evolves into an imperfective.