From my understanding of Chinese, the language lacks any sort of grammatical tense but is instead very aspect driven when describing actions.
Is this a reoccurring pattern among languages with a high use of grammatical aspect?
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There is actually a chapter on perfective-imperfective aspect in the free online resource, The World Atlas of Language Structures, where this hypothesis is discussed and specifically rejected by the authors. Here is the relevant quotation from it:
Even if perhaps not so often formulated as an explicit hypothesis, there seems to be a widespread view of tense and aspect as alternatives to each other – that languages tend to be either “tense languages” or “aspect languages”. If this were the case, we would expect a negative correlation between imperfectives and perfectives on the one hand, and pasts and futures on the other. The data presented here provide no support for such a conclusion. In fact, there are considerably more languages in the sample that have both the aspectual and temporal categories, or neither of the alternatives, than have one only. It is plausible that there is rather a positive correlation between all the categories under discussion and the general morphological complexity of the verb.
Östen Dahl, Viveka Velupillai. 2013. Perfective/Imperfective Aspect. In: Dryer, Matthew S. & Haspelmath, Martin (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online at http://wals.info/chapter/65, Accessed on 2015-03-31.)
Compared with English, Chinese does not have the rich performances of tense and aspect. 了 is used for the multiple functions including tense, aspect and mood, for examples: 我刚才吃了。past tense. 我们吃了后再走吧。aspect. 我现在就去吃了，好吧。mood. 我说了他了。aspect+tense. At the same time, Chinese has reduplication which is often treated as aspect. However, the identical use of reduplication cannot be found in English.