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Title: On the Temporal Interpretation of Noun Phrases
Written By: Renate Musan
Series Title: Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics
Description:

The book investigates the temporal interpretation of noun phrases. In particular, it explores the following questions: (1) Is the temporal interpretation of a noun phrase determined by the temporal interpretation of the rest of its clause; and (2) What kind of further interactions take place between the interpretation of noun phrases and the temporal interpretation of the main predicate of a clause? The author argues, in contrast to previous research by En=E7, that the temporal location of situation times of nouns depends on the temporal interpretation of the rest of the clause. The book suggests an account of why noun phrases do sometimes show a remarkable freedom of temporal interpretation and sometimes do not. The notions of 'temporally dependent' and 'temporally independent' noun phrases are introduced. It is shown that the distribution of temporally dependent and temporally independent noun phrases involves the distinction between weak (or cardinal) and strong (or resuppositional) noun phrases as well as the distinction between existence-independent arguments and other arguments. This distribution is explained as a consequence of (1) determiner-quantification being analyzed as quantification over stages of individuals, (2) independently motivated mechanisms of implicit quantifier restriction, and (3) a particular account of weak and strong determiners. This account analyzes both types of determiners as restrictive quantifiers, and attributes differences between them to whether the noun is mapped at LF into the restrictive clause or into the nuclear scope of the determiner. The mechanisms introduced in this chapter are also applied to generic noun phrases, certain kind-denoting noun phrases, and to the distinction between object-related readings and event-related readings. The other main problem that is addressed is the question of whether, the temporal location of individuals - as for instance the location of John in "John was intelligent" is dependent on the tense of the clause. Apparent location effects of tenses on individuals are explained as an effect of life-time presuppositions that are introduced by the lexical semantics of stage-level predicates and individual-level predicates, but not by a third type of predicate, existence-independent predicates. Life-time effects associated with individual-level predicates are captured as a pragmatic phenomenon in terms of Grice's Maxim of Informativity and related implicatures. In temporally specific contexts, life-time effects are neutralized. This is related to certain effects that topic-focus structure has on temporal interpretation.

Publication Year: 1997
Publisher: Garland Publishers
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
Semantics
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Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0815328869
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 220
Prices: $51