The purpose of this chapter is to stimulate a critical attitude toward issues of temporal reference in linguistic theory, keeping in mind that the concepts of temporal reference and tense are not one and the same notion, though strongly connected. Temporal reference can be defined as the relation between the time of the utterance and the time the utterance is about. Tense is just one of the means available to language to attain temporal reference, other means are temporal adverbs/adverbials and aspectual properties. Hence, according to this perspective, a theory of temporal reference is a metatheoretical space, in which the various theories of tense and aspect are located. Recall also that some languages, such as for instance Mandarin Chinese, do not have tenses, and therefore the way in which temporal reference is attained is very different from languages with tenses, such as for instance English. Moreover, languages differ considerably in the richness of their morphological system for expressing temporal and aspectual relations. For instance, languages such as Spanish and Italian have a much richer temporal and aspectual morphology than English. Issues such as subordination and temporal adverbs, will be considered in details – though not exhaustively – to show how the general system might work. In this chapter we provide first a cursory review of the basic tenets of the tense‐logical approaches. These approaches exemplify many of the problems non‐referential views have to address. The shortcomings of tense‐logical theories have been taken to provide support for fully referential views, which will be considered here by analyzing phenomena such as the syntax of tenses, sequence of tense, and temporal locating phrases. Special emphasis will be placed on the Reichenbachian and on the neo‐Reichenbachian view. Finally, we will also briefly consider the non‐referential, tensed view.

Temporal Reference

Alessandra Giorgi
Formal Analysis
;
PIANESI, Fabio
Formal Analysis
2017-01-01

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to stimulate a critical attitude toward issues of temporal reference in linguistic theory, keeping in mind that the concepts of temporal reference and tense are not one and the same notion, though strongly connected. Temporal reference can be defined as the relation between the time of the utterance and the time the utterance is about. Tense is just one of the means available to language to attain temporal reference, other means are temporal adverbs/adverbials and aspectual properties. Hence, according to this perspective, a theory of temporal reference is a metatheoretical space, in which the various theories of tense and aspect are located. Recall also that some languages, such as for instance Mandarin Chinese, do not have tenses, and therefore the way in which temporal reference is attained is very different from languages with tenses, such as for instance English. Moreover, languages differ considerably in the richness of their morphological system for expressing temporal and aspectual relations. For instance, languages such as Spanish and Italian have a much richer temporal and aspectual morphology than English. Issues such as subordination and temporal adverbs, will be considered in details – though not exhaustively – to show how the general system might work. In this chapter we provide first a cursory review of the basic tenets of the tense‐logical approaches. These approaches exemplify many of the problems non‐referential views have to address. The shortcomings of tense‐logical theories have been taken to provide support for fully referential views, which will be considered here by analyzing phenomena such as the syntax of tenses, sequence of tense, and temporal locating phrases. Special emphasis will be placed on the Reichenbachian and on the neo‐Reichenbachian view. Finally, we will also briefly consider the non‐referential, tensed view.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3698727
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