Temporal Interpretation without Tense: Korean and Japanese Coordination Constructions: Articles

Journal of Semantics 27 (3):307-341 (2010)
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Matrix clauses are tensed in Korean and Japanese, but both languages have coordination constructions where any non-final conjunct may or, in the case of Japanese, must be untensed. Building on analyses of the temporal interpretation of tenseless languages such as Yucatec Maya and Kalaallisut, this article argues that a truly tenseless analysis of the temporal interpretation of these non-final conjuncts is possible once the effects of Aktionsart and the discourse context on temporal interpretation are taken into consideration. The formal semantic analysis developed here is shown to be empirically and conceptually superior to previous analyses, which claim that the temporal interpretation of tenseless non-final conjuncts is determined either by the tense of the final conjunct or by a tense-like restriction introduced by a zero tense morpheme or the coordination marker. The proposed analysis of Korean and Japanese coordination constructions thus provides further evidence that tenseless clauses can be semantically interpreted as such, not just in tenseless languages but even in languages where matrix clauses are otherwise tensed. The article concludes by discussing implications for analyses of cross-linguistic semantic variation.



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Citations of this work

Temporal constraints on the meaning of evidentiality.Jungmee Lee - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (1):1-41.
Past interpretation and graded tense in Medumba.Anne Mucha - 2017 - Natural Language Semantics 25 (1):1-52.

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References found in this work

Nominal and temporal anaphora.Barbara H. Partee - 1984 - Linguistics and Philosophy 7 (3):243--286.
Future discourse in a tenseless language.Maria Bittner - 2005 - Journal of Semantics 22 (4):339-87.
Quantification and the Nature of Crosslinguistic Variation.Lisa Matthewson - 2001 - Natural Language Semantics 9 (2):145-189.
Temporal semantics in a superficially tenseless language.Lisa Matthewson - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (6):673 - 713.

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