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How to Do Things with Tense and Aspect: Performativity before Austin

How to Do Things with Tense and Aspect: Performativity before Austin

Regular price $66.61
  • ISBN-13: 9781443832120
  • Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • Release Date: Oct 01, 2011
  • Edition: 1st Unabridged
  • Pages: 155 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches


Almost all verbs in Slovene (one of the least researched Slavic languages) have two aspectually different forms, the perfective (PF) and the imperfective (IF). But in institutional settings or settings strongly marked with social hierarchy, only the second, the imperfective form, is used by Slovene speakers in a performative sense. Why is that? And what, in fact, has a Slovene speaker said if (s)he has used the imperfective verb in performative circumstances ? No doubt that (s)he may be in the process of accomplishing such an act. But at the same time, having the possibility of choosing between the PF and the IF form, (s)he may have also indicated that this act hasn t been accomplished (yet): as long as we are only promising (IF), we have not really promised anything yet, and if we are only promising (IF), we cannot take anything as having been really promised. That was how Stanislav krabec, the 19th century Slovene linguist and the central figure of this book, saw the role of verbal aspect within language use. Being caught in such a dilemma, a question inevitably arises: how do we accomplish an act of promise (or any other performative act) in Slovene? That dilemma whether to use the perfective or imperfective aspect when accomplishing performative acts may seem more than artificial at first, but it was very much alive among Slovene linguists at the end of the 19th century. And it was that very dilemma that quite unexpectedly gave rise to the foundations of performativity in Slovene, half a century before Austin! In the present book, the authors try to shed light on this controversy that involved different Slovene scholars for about thirty years, and propose a delocutive hypothesis as a solution for the performative dilemma this controversy unveiled.

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