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Nominal Tense in Crosslinguistic Perspective

Nordlinger, Rachel and Sadler, Louisa (2004) 'Nominal Tense in Crosslinguistic Perspective.' Language, 80 (4). pp. 776-806. ISSN 0097-8507


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It is a general assumption in linguistic theory that the categories of tense, aspect, and mood (TAM) are inflectional categories of verbal classes only. In a number of languages around the world, however, nominals and other NP constituents are also inflected for these categories. In this article we provide a comprehensive survey of tense/aspect/mood marking on NP constituents across the world's languages. Two distinct types are identified: PROPOSITIONAL, NOMINAL TAM, whereby the nominal carries TAM information relevant to the whole proposition, and INDEPENDENT NOMINAL TAM, in which the TAM information encoded on the nominal is relevant only to the NP on which it is marked - independent of the TAM of the clause as a whole. We illustrate these different types and their various properties using data from a wide range of languages showing that, while certainly unusual, the phenomenon of nominal tense/aspect/mood marking is far less marginal than is standardly assumed. Nominal TAM inflection must be accepted as a real possibility in universal grammatical structure, having significant implications for many aspects of linguistic theory.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: language; morphology; syntax; tense; aspect; modality; noun phrase; cross-linguistic study
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2014 15:00
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:57

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