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Les "verbes savonnettes": frottements et glissements sémantiques
In the semantic analysis of tenses, the term event is frequently used. For example, following REICHENBACH (1947, 288), many studies mention three "points", within which (E) represents the "point of the event". Besides, like MARTIN (1985, 25), it is commonly considered -often implicitly- that "the duration of the utterance can [...] ideally be reduced to an instant t 0 [i.e. a point], [...] since within the utterance, truth conditions remain unaltered". However, events as well as utterances take time (cf. the use of "intervals " by GOSSELIN 1996). Here, I will analyze Present tense utterances such as "le ballon franchit la ligne" (the ball crosses/is crossing the line), for which the described event ("achievement" for VENDLER 1957; "réalisation instantanée" for VETTERS 1996) is shorter than the utterance that mentions it. I will show why the telic character (GAREY 1957) of achievements -unlike the other types of processes- makes it difficult to express an event contemporary to speech time since, against MARTIN's (1985, 25) idealization, truth conditions vary throughout the utterance. Taking encoding as the basis (somewhat following LEVELT 1989), I will argue that truth-condition variation can naturally lead to the over-represented use of past tenses (Passé composé in French) in child language for the expression of telic events during early acquisition (cf. e.g. WAGNER 2009).
verbe savonnette, encodage, mode de procès, ponctualité, réalisation instantanée, valeur de vérité
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