The Representation and Processing of Tense, Aspect & Voice across Verbal Elements in English


We consider the representation and processing of the English verb features tense, aspect and voice, within a computational cognitive model of human language processing. We assume that a collection of features is associated with each verbal element and that these features may project to the clauses in which they occur. When multiple verbal elements occur, it is possible for the features to conflict, necessitating mechanisms of feature blocking and overriding to determine feature projection. We consider the case of transitive and intransitive verbs in combination with the auxiliary verbs “be” and “have” in finite clauses. For intransitive verbs, we introduce an active/inactive voice feature distinction which aligns with the transitive distinction between active and passive voice.

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