Colloque international hybride de linguistique, traductologie, et intelligence artificielle en synergie appliquée à BE + V-ing


Directrice : Hélène LAPLACE-CLAVERIE

helene.laplace-claverie @   


Directrice adjointe : Emilie GUYARD

emilie.guyard @


Secrétariat :

Muriel Guyonneau


Ingénieur d'études :

Anne-Claire Cauhapé (ac.cauhape @


Appui à la Politique de Recherche :

Marie-Manuelle Marcos (marie-manuelle.marcos @




Voir en plein écran

Laboratoire ALTER

Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour
Avenue du Doyen Poplawski
BP 1160
64013 Pau cedex


Colloque international hybride de linguistique, traductologie, et intelligence artificielle en synergie appliquée à BE + V-ingInternational Conference in Linguistics, Translation Studies, and Artificial Intelligence:A Synergy Applied to BE + V-ing

The Progressive Form Is Dead

What Does Operator BE + V-ing Really Denote?

Linguistic Analyses, Multilingual Approaches, and AI


Organisé par l’Université de Pau et des pays de l’Adour, Laboratoire de recherche ALTER, le 2 décembre 2024 en mode hybride au château de Pau et en visio-conférence.


The International Conference of Linguistics, Translation Studies, and Artificial Intelligence will focus on applying the synergy of these three research domains to BE + V-ing from November 30th to December 2nd 2024, in Pau and online.

This academic event aims to analyze the semantic value and pragmatic function of the linguistic operator BE + V-ing. This study will be further enhanced by examining the possible translations for this English operator into French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and a number of other languages. Additionally, translations with AI will be considered, as well as AI-generated explanations for the use and value of BE + V-ing and some of its literal translations like “ÊTRE en train de + V-Æ” in French, “ESTAR + V-Úndo” in Spanish, “STARE + V-Úndo” in Italian, “SEIN dabei zu + V-Æ” in German, or “正在 + V-Æ” in Chinese.

The conference is rooted in the observation that the term “progressive form” persists in the 21st century, despite evidence showing that BE + V-ING does not inherently denote progression, thereby challenging this terminology. This incongruence has been demonstrated since at least Henri Adamczewski’s 1976 work, which showed that actions in progress are not a common denominator for BE + V-ing verb phrases (VPs). Furthermore, the absence of unfolding actions is not necessarily indicative of the absence of BE + V-ING. In other words, numerous instances of the BE + V-ING form are not inherently linked to ongoing actions, and such actions are also compatible with the simple form.

Nonetheless, the concept of action in progress remains the prevailing semantic interpretation of the operator BE + V-ING among the general public and most linguists. In response to the limitations of these explanations, alternative terms like “continuous form” or “incompletive aspect" (and other aspects such as progressive, continuative, durative, and imperfective)[1] have emerged, though they essentially refer to the same concepts. As Adamczewski stated in 1991:

“We do not believe that merely changing labels can explain any phenomenon whatsoever: the progressive aspect continues to encompass the same old concepts of unfinished or durative action!”[2]

Adamczewski’s meta-operational linguistics offers a simple yet profound logical paradigm that sheds light on the common denominator of all occurrences of BE + V-ing. The invariants he discovered revolve around his phase 1 versus phase 2 perspective. This applies not only to the distinction between the BE + V-ing and simple forms, but also to numerous other grammatical points in many, if not all, languages.

This understanding has been embraced and further developed by linguists such as Jean-Pierre Gabilan and Francisco Mate Bon, the latter being renowned for applying meta-operation to Spanish grammar. Alongside other researchers,[3] they will elaborate on their expertise regarding BE + V-ING and its translations with AI, engage in debates during a round table discussion, and address audience questions throughout the extended weekend of this international conference.


Admission is free

The program is available here.

Logistic information is available here.

Discover the speakers by clicking here.


Many thanks to our collaborators for making this conference possible.


[1] In French, « l’aspect inaccompli » is among the most common labels.

[2] Translation by Cécile Cosculluela of Henri Adamczewski, Le français déchiffré, clé du langage et des langues, Armand Colin Éditeur, Paris, 1991, p. 107 : “Quand on parle d’aspect [perfectif (en gros: achevé, accompli) … ou imperfectif (non achevé, duratif, itératif)]* en grammaire, on pense quasi-automatiquement aux langues slaves, alors que bien d’autres langues: le grec ancien, l’hébreu, l’arabe voire le chinois, pour ne citer que quelques cas, connaissent le phénomène. Dernièrement, la catégorie "aspect" a aussi été importée en français et en anglais notamment. C'est ainsi qu'en français la distinction passé simple/imparfait est maintenant présentée comme une distinction aspectuelle. Il en va de même en anglaise où d’aucuns parlent d’aspect progressif pour la construction remarquable BE + ING. Nous ne pensons pas qu'un simple changement d’étiquette puisse expliquer quelque phénomène que ce soit: l'aspect progressif continue de recouvrir les vieilles conceptions de l’action inachevée ou durative!” (* Le texte entre crochets apparaît plus loin page 107 dans ce passage intitulé « Les aspects perfectif et imperfectif »)

[3] Ariel Laurencio Tacoronte is among the eight speakers. His latest book investigates what we say when we use ESTAR + V-Úndo” in Spanish, and his presentation will also address Chinese and Mongolian equivalents, among others. Cécile Cosculluela, who will serve only as a moderator during the conference, has made the link between meta-operation and semiotics, an interdisciplinary field that some of the speakers might explore.