Ceusters talk

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Zeno Vendler distinguished four aspectual classes of verbs:

  • states, which are static and do not have an endpoint ("know," "love");
  • activities, which are dynamic and do not have an endpoint ("run," "drive");
  • accomplishments, which have an endpoint and are incremental or gradual ("paint a picture," "build a house"); and
  • achievements, which have an endpoint and occur instantaneously ("recognize," "notice").

We are trying to develop a more detailed classification of processes in Basic Formal Ontology by analyzing these and other aspectual characteristics of verbs. The latter have been studied by linguists and philosophers of language from a linguistic perspective, thus with a focus on how matters are described. Our focus, in contrast, is on what is the case in reality when different verb aspects are used -- thus providing an ontological perspective.