Topic: HUMAN SEMANTICS
Tense and Choice Functions
By Mean-Young Song
In this paper, I argue against the two major approaches to the semantics of tense: the quantificational approach and the referential approach. The difference between them lies in the fact that the former is in favor of the indefinite view of tense, whereas the latter the definite view of tense. Tenses are characterized by the variability in the sense that they can be interpreted as being indefinite in some context or definite in other context. The difficulty the two approaches are faced with is that neither takes an appropriate account of the variability of tense. To provide a proper semantic treatment of tense, I propose in this paper a treatment of tense which incorporates choice functions. The choice functions, which apply to a non-empty set of intervals, picks the most salient time the speaker might have in mind at the utterance time. This might assist in capturing the variability of tense.
Key words: tense, definite tense, indefinite tense, the quantification approach, the referential approach, choice functions, presuppositions, temporal predicates
Source: Semantics Archive
Posted by Tony Marmo at 08:10 BST