|Title:||Towards a Semantics of Linguistic Time||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Johan Nordlander||Update Dissertation|
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|Institution:||Umeå University, Department of English|
|Abstract:||Using English and the West-African creole language Krio as the objects of investigation, this study proposes an analysis in which verbs and the paradigms pertaining to verbs are conceived of as being the only direct carriers of linguistic time encoding. The fundamental assumption is that nominals encode substance, be it concrete or abstract, and that verbals encode abstract substance with time.
The theoretical backdrop is provided by Derek Bickerton's Roots of Language (1981) and ' The Language Bioprogram Hypothesis' 1984) in which he proposes a set of conceptually fundamental distinctions. These distinctions: the state/process; the durative/punctual; the realis/irrealis; and the anterior/non-anterior; are discussed in relation to four dynamicity values of verbal nuclei: stative; processive; eventive; and telic. These are proposed by the present author, but draw on Bernard Comrie's aspectual analysis in Aspect (1976).
Three different layers of analysis are put forward: (1) the nucleic, which consists of the verbal carrying the meaning core of a situation; (2) the verbal constituency, in which we find all TMA encoding, that is, the tense, mood and aspect of the situation; and (3) the (verbal) situation, which is conceived of as a superordinate, maximum unit of description.
It is argued that the dynamicity value of the verbal nucleus to a large extent determines and limits the possible aspectual, modal and temporal interpretations of the situation.