Aspect is typically a feature of verbs. It may also occur with other parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, adverbs), depending on whether borderline word forms such as gerunds and participles are classified as verbs or as the other category.
Aspect is a feature that specifies duration of the action in time, whether the action has been completed etc. In some languages (e.g. English), some tenses are actually combinations of tense and aspect. In other languages (e.g. Czech), aspect and tense are separate, although not completely independent of each other.
In Czech and other Slavic languages, aspect is a lexical feature. Pairs of imperfective and perfective verbs exist and are often morphologically related but the space is highly irregular and the verbs are considered to belong to separate lemmas.
Since we proceed bottom-up, the current standard covers only a few aspect values found in corpora. See Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_aspect) for a long list of other possible aspects.
Imp: imperfect aspect
The action took / takes / will take some time span and there is no information whether and when it was / will be completed.
- [cs] péci “to bake” (Imp); pekl chleba “he baked / was baking a bread”
Perf: perfect aspect
The action has been / will have been completed. Since there is emphasis on one point on the time scale (the point of completion), this aspect does not work well with the present tense. For example, Czech morphology can create present forms of perfective verbs but these actually have a future meaning.
- [cs] upéci “to bake” (Perf); upekl chleba “he baked / has baked a bread”
Prosp: prospective aspect
In general, prospective aspect can be described as relative future: the action is/was/will be expected to take place at a moment that follows the reference point; the reference point itself can be in past, present or future. In the English sentence When I got home yesterday, John called and said he would arrive soon, the last clause (he would arrive soon) is in prospective aspect. Nevertheless, English does not have overt affixal morphemes dedicated to the prospective aspect, and we do not need the label in English. But other languages do; the -ko suffix in Basque is an example.
Note that this value was called
Pro in UD v1 and it has been renamed
in UD v2.
- [eu] Liburua irakurriko behar du. lit. book-a read-Prosp must AUX “He must go to read a book.”
Prog: progressive aspect
English progressive tenses (I am eating, I have been doing …) have this aspect. They are constructed analytically (auxiliary + present participle) but the -ing participle is so bound to progressive meaning that it seems a good idea to annotate it with this feature (we have to distinguish it from the past participle somehow; we may use both the “Tense” and the “Aspect” features).
In languages other than English, the progressive meaning may be expressed by morphemes bound to the main verb, which makes this value even more justified. Example is Turkish.
Hab: habitual aspect
English simple present has this aspect.
Iter: iterative / frequentative aspect
Denotes repeated action. Attested e.g. in Hungarian.
Iteratives also exist in Czech with this name and meaning but they can be formed
only from imperfective verbs and they are usually not classified as a separate
aspect; they are just
Note: This value is new in UD v2 but a similar value has been used in UD v1
as language-specific for Hungarian, though it was called frequentative there
- [hu] üt “hit”, ütöget “hit several times”
Aspect in other languages: [am] [ar] [bg] [bxr] [ca] [ckb] [cop] [cs] [cu] [da] [de] [el] [en] [es] [et] [eu] [fa] [fo] [fr] [ga] [gl] [got] [grc] [he] [hi] [hr] [hu] [id] [it] [ja] [kk] [kmr] [ko] [la] [lv] [mr] [nl] [no] [pl] [pt] [ro] [ru] [sa] [sk] [sla] [sl] [so] [sr] [swl] [ta] [tr] [u] [ug] [uk] [ur] [urj] [vi] [yue] [zh]