The temporal structure of discourse: The syntax and semantics of temporal then Article

Thompson, E. (1999). The temporal structure of discourse: The syntax and semantics of temporal then . 17(1), 123-160. 10.1023/A:1006032417846

cited authors

  • Thompson, E

fiu authors

abstract

  • This paper presents an analysis of the discourse representation of tense. I argue that temporal interpretation across sentences in discourse is subject to the same principles as temporal interpretation within sentences, and that there is thus no need to posit independent principles to account for the discourse behavior of tense. This approach makes possible an analysis of the temporal adverb then. The semantic dependency that then induces between sentences in discourse is argued to be identical to the dependency that holds within sentences in temporal adjunct clause constructions. In order to explain how the meaning of then differs depending on its position, I claim that then associates different times in tense structure depending on its syntactic position, resulting in different interpretations. This analysis accounts for interpretive parallels between discourse sequences with then and temporal adjunct clauses, and it predicts the interaction of temporal then with perfect tenses, future readings of present tense, and infinitival clause constructions. © 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 123

end page

  • 160

volume

  • 17

issue

  • 1