- Table of Symbols and Abbreviations
- About the Authors
- The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect
- Philosophy of Language
- Narratology and Literary Linguistics
- Computational Linguistics
- Universals and Typology
- Discourse and Text
- Diachrony and Grammaticalization
- Language Contact
- Creole Languages
- Primary Language Acquisition
- Second Language Acquisition
- Remoteness Distinctions
- The Surcomposé Past Tense
- Bound Tenses
- Embedded Tenses
- Nominal Tense
- Lexical Aspect
- Verbal Aspect
- Perfective and Imperfective Aspect
- Progressive and Continuous Aspect
- Habitual and Generic Aspect
- Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity
- Perfect Tense and Aspect
- Resultative Constructions
- Time in Sentences with Modal Verbs
- Evidentiality and Mirativity
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the syntactic properties of tense, and how the theory of syntax should account for them. It considers what counts as a tense, from a semantic perspective, and from a morphosyntactic perspective; where tense morphemes occur in syntactic structures, and the role they play in syntactic derivations; the extent to which the semantic properties of tenses are reflected, in whole or in part, in their syntactic form; and the parallels between tenses and other types of grammatical categories, such as verbs, pronouns, or adverbs. The article also provides a critical survey of the early literature on the semantics of tense, focusing on theories that had the greatest influence on syntactic analyses, and seeking to identify their strengths and weaknesses from a syntactic perspective. Finally, it discusses previous syntactic theories of tense, concentrating on the historical development of ideas within the research tradition of generative grammar that have shaped the current consensus on the role of tense in syntactic phrase structure and in syntactic derivations.
Tim Stowell is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California at Los Angeles and Dean of Humanities. He received his Ph.D. at MIT in 1981. His recent work has focused on the syntax of tense and the logic of temporal interpretation, and on the syntax of quantifiers and other determiners and the principles governing scope assignment and reference. Amongst his works are Where the past is in the perfect (2008), The English Konjunktiv II (2007), The syntactic expression of tense (2007), and Sequence of perfect (2007).
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.