AdvisorOehrle, Richard T.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation investigates the interaction between the basic rules for tense interpretation, on the one hand, and temporal types of VPs or sentences, time expressions and syntactic distribution of tense forms, on the other. This dissertation proposes an analysis in which each tense form is associated with at least three time identities, the zero time point, the event time and the reference time. The zero time is defined as the time from which a situation is considered and interpreted, the event time as the time at which a situation takes place and the reference time is the time at which the situation holds and which is part of the event time under consideration. Concerning the temporal structures of situations expressed by VPs or sentences, this dissertation proposes a six-type temporal classification and treats temporal types not as atomic but as reducible to temporal features. By so doing, this dissertation brings to light the internal structure among various temporal types. Regarding the relation between tense and time expressions, this dissertation analyzes it to be one of temporal inclusion and provides a successful account of why time adverbs do not necessarily mark both ending points of a given homogeneous situation, though this is true with a nonhomogeneous situation. In accounting for tense interpretation in complement clauses, this dissertation maintains that complement tense forms and matrix tense forms can be interpreted in the same way and they differ only in the interpretation of the zero time point. In the matrix clause, tense is interpreted with respect to the speech time and, in the complement clause, tense is interpreted relative to the reference time of the matrix clause. Because the zero time is used instead of the speech time in the proposed basic tense rules, these rules are general and powerful enough to be applicable to tenses in any syntactic environment.