When: 10 September, 16:00-18:00


In this talk, I will present a three-dimensional model of aspect and causal structure in events, and sketch analyses of some semantic phenomena in English. Aspect can be defined as the unfolding of events over time. We represent aspect in two geometric dimensions, time and qualitative states. Aspectual types are construals of events denoted by verbs; that is, verbs do not have an inherent lexical aspect, but rather a potential to be construed in certain ways (Dahl 1985:26).
Common aspectual construals are easily represented as geometric operations on the two-dimensional representation. Causal structure is represented as a third dimension; actually, the "dimension" is a directed, acyclic, unbranching causal chain. Some evidence supporting the causal chain model will be presented, and the distinction between so-called manner and result verbs and between two kinds of resultative constructions can be captured in terms of directed changes.

William Croft is professor of linguistics at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and is a leading scholar in several areas of linguistics, such as cognitive linguistics, linguistic typology, and evolution of language. He is the author of a number of influential books Typology and universals (2nd ed. 2003), Radical construction grammar: syntactic theory in typological perspective (2001), Explaining language change: an evolutionary approach (2000), as well as a large number of articles. He has coauthored the textbook Cognitive linguistics, with D.A. Cruse (2004).

During his visit to Sweden, William Croft will meet with students and colleagues here at Stockholm University, and also participate in the symposium Cultural evolution – patterns of cultural change and diversification, at the Wenner-Gren Center.


Tomas Riad and Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm