Progressive aspect, the verbal prefix meN-, and stative sentences in Malay

Hooi Ling Soh, Hiroki Nomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper offers a new perspective to the study of the verbal prefix meN- by investigating its aspectual properties. We claim that, like the progressive, the prefix meN- in Malay is incompatible with sentences that describe states. This result is compatible with an analysis of meN- as a progressive viewpoint aspectual marker, though it is also possible that meN- shares with the progressive a meaning component that makes them both incompatible with states. We show that the incompatibility of meN- with states is found in both intransitive and transitive sentences. On the basis of their shared restriction, we argue that meN- in intransitive and meN- in transitive sentences should not be treated as distinct morphemes, as some previous researchers either have assumed or must assume. The result thus adds a new data point for a better understanding of meN-, and enables us to narrow down the competing analyses of meN-.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-171
Number of pages24
JournalOceanic Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


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