Event structure

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This page explains the values associated with the tag for event structure -- see also the tagset.

The values associated with event structure are repeated, stative, completed, ongoing, and cos (change-of-state). All descriptions of events that involve multiple instances of the same action are to be tagged as repeated. The distinctions into completed, ongoing, and change-of-state only applies to descriptions of individual events or actions.


If an event is described as stative, its description implies little if any internal event dynamics. Such descriptions typically involve stative predicates such as be asleep, be alive, be cold etc.


We use the label repeated as a cover term for descriptions of multiple instances of the same action, including pluractional descriptions (also sometimes seen as pluri-actional, cf. Bril 2016 [1]) . So far, we know that in Daakaka and Dalkalaen pluractionality is often signalled by verb reduplication. In Daakaka, there is also a group of verbs that lexically encode pluractionality. In contrast to labels such as iterative, pluractionality does not imply that multiple actions have to be carried out by the same person. It may also be the case that the same action is carried out by a number of people at the same time. This is illustrated in the following example, which describes a lively scene of children playing on a big log at the beach:

Tejimre nye ra -m yan do fya-fyalo ran, ra -m do bangbang ran, taa-taa ran, mee-meera ran.
child 3P 3P -REAL go CONT REDUP-row on 3P -REAL CONT play on REDUP-sit on REDUP-jump on
The children were playing boat on it, they were playing on it, sitting on it and jumping on it. (Dalkalaen.Competition_380-381)

A special case of pluractional descriptions with multiple actors are reciprocal descriptions:

yuo-yaa to yaa-yaa, ye to pu bweak
feeling-3D.POSS NEG REDUP-hurt 3PC NEG blow swear
They didn't get angry at each other, they didn't swear. (Daakaka.0003)

The label repeated also extends to cases where the same action is performed by the same actor, either on the same occasion (iterative aspect) or on various occasions (habitual). Non-stative generic descriptions also fall into this domain. All those cases tend to involve reduplication in Daakaka. Generic descriptions, because of their special modal properties, may be specifically labelled as such with the keyword GENERIC.

Some examples are given below:

  • Iterative description:
gee mwe esi na sa sivi mwe pwe yaa-yaase nge kyu nge \\
flying.fox REAL see COMP CM lorikeet REAL CONT REDUP-turn 3S surround 3S
the flying fox saw the lorikeet rotating around himself (Daakaka.5448)
  • Habitual description:
nate-yaa nyoo ya=m du deng-deng webung ke-kevene
child-3D.POSS 3P 3P=REAL stay REDUP-cry day REDUP-every
their children cried every day (Daakaka.3033)
  • Generic description:
sini-sye nyoo mwe tii-tii
thorn.of-3S.POSS 3P REAL REDUP-sting
its spikes (can) sting (Daakaka.1901)
borvi mw-i, mw-i mesyu swa sa, ya-m an-ane
str.surgeonfish REAL-COP REAL-COP fish one TOP 3P-REAL REDUP-eat
The surgeonfish is a fish they eat. (Daakaka.1906)


The tag bounded is used to refer to episodic, non-stative event descriptions of the past or future that do not refer to the internal structure of the event.

Some examples are given below:

  • I went to Paris last year.
  • I have been to Paris.
  • A: What are you going to do next? B: I'm going to watch a movie.
  • A: What are you going to do next? B: I'm going to watch some movies. (Here, you can add the keyword PLURAL to make note of the plural object.)
  • A: What did you do yesterday night? B: I took a nice long bath.

Descriptions of perceptions are labelled as bounded unless they explicitly describe an active process:

  • She saw a lightbounded
  • She was watching the flameongoing
  • He heard a noisebounded
  • He was listening to the songongoing

The stimulus of the perception, if given by a predicate, can depend on the semantics of the predicate. Examples:

  • She heard him knock on the doorbounded
  • She heard him sing/ singing. – default: bounded
  • She heard him [shout her name repeatedly]. repeated


We label event descriptions as ongoing when

  • they refer specifically to the dynamics of the event's internal development;
  • they are episodic descriptions of the present moment;
  • they provide the background for a new development in a narrative;

Examples are given below:

  • [They were walking along the beach] when they heard someone cry out.
  • [He was pulling the tray out of the oven with great care], but then the phone rang and he burned his hand.
  • What is she doing right now? [She is smoking.]

=Change of State

The category "change of state" has been demoted to a keyword. Previous markers of this category will be collapsed with the category bounded.


  1. Bril, Isabelle 2016. Tense, aspect and mood in Nêlêmwa (New Caledonia): Encoding events, processes and states. In: Zlatka Guentchéva (ed.): Aspectuality and Temporality. John Benjamins