Inchoative

Inchoative aspect (also called inceptive aspect) is a verbal category, referring to an action soon to take place. It can be found in conservative Indo-European languages such as Latin and Lithuanian, and also in Balto-Finnic languages. In other languages, auxiliary verbs can be used, for example French (as "aller" plus infinitive: "je vais faire" "I am going to do", Futur_proche), English (often as "I am going to do" or "I am about to do"). In these cases, the term near future is more commonly used.

Since inchoative is an aspect and not a tense, it can be combined with tenses to form present inchoative, past inchoative and future inchoative, all used in Lithuanian. Finnish employs a systematic construction "ole-TEMP-PERS X-maisilla-POSS" "to be on (my/your/etc.) X-ings", where the temporal and personal ending and possessive suffix are to be selected according to the context. For example, "ol+i+t kaatu+maisilla+si", literally "you were on your fallings down", meaning "you were about to fall down". The "-maisilla-" is a string of derivational suffixes: "ma" participle; "i" plural; "s" adjective suffix; "lla" adessive case. In Russian, inchoatives are regularly derived from unidirectional imperfective verbs of motion by adding the prefix по-, e.g. бежать - побежать: "to run" - "to start running". Also cf. шли (normal past tense plural of идти - "to go") vs. "Пошли!" meaning approximately "We'll be off! / We're gone!"

The term inchoative verb is used by generative grammarians to refer to a class of verbs that reflect a change of state. e.g., John aged or The fog cleared. This usage bears little or no relationship to the aspectual usage described above.

ee also

*Inchoative verb


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  • Inchoative — In*cho a*tive (?; 277), a. [L. inchoativus, incohativus: cf. F. inchoatif.] Expressing or pertaining to a beginning; inceptive; as, an inchoative verb. Some inchoative or imperfect rays. W. Montagu. n. An inchoative verb. See {Inceptive}. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • inchoative — [in kō′ə tiv] adj. [LL incohativus] 1. Rare INCHOATE (sense 1) 2. Gram. expressing the beginning of an action; inceptive, as, in English, through the use of the auxiliary get (Ex.: “we got going early”) n. an inchoative verb or phrase …   English World dictionary

  • Inchoatīve — (v. lat.), 1) Einleitung, Beginnen; 2) so v.w. Initiative …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • inchoative — index fundamental, incipient, original (initial) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • inchoative — adjective /ɪnˈkəʊ.ə.tɪv,ɪnˈkoʊətɪv/ a) At the beginning, still in an unformed state. Our first Piece is of Winter, or late Autumn, 1771, while the solution of the Polish Business is still in its inchoative stages; … b) Aspectually indicating that …   Wiktionary

  • inchoative — adjective Date: circa 1631 1. initial, formative < the inchoative stages > 2. denoting the beginning of an action, state, or occurrence used of verbs • inchoative noun • inchoatively adverb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • inchoative — ● inchoatif, inchoative adjectif (bas latin inchoativus, du latin classique inchoare, commencer) inchoatif nom masculin (bas latin inchoativus, du latin classique inchoare, commencer) Se dit d une forme verbale qui indique que l action est… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • inchoative — I noun aspect with regard to the beginning of the action of the verb • Syn: ↑inchoative aspect • Hypernyms: ↑aspect II adjective beginning to develop inchoative stages …   Useful english dictionary

  • inchoative — Inceptive In*cep tive, a. Beginning; expressing or indicating beginning; as, an inceptive proposition; an inceptive verb, which expresses the beginning of action; called also {inchoative}. {In*cep tive*ly}, adv. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • inchoative — [ɪn kəʊətɪv] adjective Grammar denoting an aspect of a verb expressing the beginning of an action, typically one occurring of its own accord. Compare with ergative. noun an inchoative verb …   English new terms dictionary


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