Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Towards a Universal Typology of State of Affairs

Ana Ortigosa1
1University of La Rioja

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


This paper addresses the issue of a lexical classification for predicates (usually referred to as ‘Aktionsart’) or more ideally for state of affairs (SoAs). In this sense, grounding my study on the Role and Reference Grammar (RRG) theoretical framework, I critically re- view the Aktionsart typology put forward by Van Valin & LaPolla (1997)—henceforth VV&LP, where I remark the inappropriateness of considering categories such as active accomplishments or the causatives. Throughout this paper, the compositionality of Aktionsart is also highlighted in the sense of regarding Aktionsart as a property of the whole clause (idealized situation types) rather than of just predicates. In this way, it is claimed that while it should be more adequate to establish a typology of SoAs, Aktionsart predicates may be also considered, as long as they are assigned a proto- typical value. Finally, I present a possible typology for the most common SoAs found in English, while references are also made as regards the universality of such a classification.

Keywords: Aktionsart; aspect; compositionality; prototype



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