German Temporal Semantics: Three-Dimensional Tense Logic and a GPSG Fragment, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

German Temporal Semantics

Three-Dimensional Tense Logic and a GPSG Fragment, 1st Edition

By John A. Nerbonne


295 pages

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First published in 1985, this book analyses temporal meaning in German. The framework is that of a model-theoretic semantics, more specifically one incorporating a multi-dimensional tense logic. The first chapter presents this logic and argues that three dimensions are optimal for the description of natural language temporalia. The second chapter applies this theory to the analysis of temporal meaning in German. Frame adverbials, the Present and Past Tenses, duratives, aspectual adverbials using in, and the adverbials particle schon are examined. Chapter 3 provides a formal syntax to bear the semantic analysis proposed in the second chapter and the final chapter explores syntactic and semantic extensions of the fragment, showing how the Perfect, the particle noch, the passive, and a distinct reading of frame adverbials may be accommodated.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. A Reichenbachian Tense Logic; 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Triple Dependence 1.3 What is Reference Time 1.4 The Logic 1.5 The Preterite and the Indexical Interpretation of Reichenbach 1.5.1 The Motivation for Indexical Treatments of Tense 1.5.2 Vagueness and Indexicality 1.5.3 Indefinite Reference to Time 1.6 Temporal Reference in Connected Discourse 1.6.1 The Treatment of Aktionsarten 1.6.2 Time in Connected Discourse 1.6.3 Some Special Uses of the Preterite 1.7 The Need for Three Indices 1.7.1 The Need for at Least Three Indices 1.7.2 More than Three Indices Notes; 2. A Tense Logical Sketch of German; 2.1 Frame Adverbials 2.2 Baeuerle and Stechow’s Analysis 2.3 The German Present Tense 2.3.1 Semantics of the German Present Tense 2.3.2 Sample Derivation of Complex Truth and Conditions 2.3.3 Why Atelics are Presumed to Refer to Speech Time 2.3.4 Kratzer’s Speech time Pragmatics 2.3.5 The Nonambiguity of the Present Tense 2.3.6 Conclusion 2.4 Duratives 2.5 Frist Adverbials 2.6 (Temporal) schon 2.6.1 Preliminaries 2.6.2 Other Uses of schon 2.6.3 The Truth Conditions of Temporal schon 2.6.4 schon with Telic Aktionsarten 2.7 Semantic Rules Notes; 3. A Fragment of German; 3.1 GPSG: Formalism and Notation 3.2 German Syntax 3.2.1 Constituents of the Sentence 3.2.2 Fronting (of Several Kinds) 3.2.3 Phantoms and Some Recalcitrant Sorts of Fronting 3.3 Basic Rules 3.3.1 Features for Complements 3.3.2 Separable Prefix Words 3.4 Fronting Formalized 3.5 The Analyses of Jean Fourquet 3.6 Two Strategies for the Treatment of Temporalia (in GPSG) 3.6.1 Tense as a Verb Operator Excurses: On Duratives (and Frequentatives) as Complements to the Verb 3.6.2 Tenses as Phrasal Operators 3.7 Metarules for Temporalia 3.7.1 Duratives and Frist Adverbials 3.7.2 Frame Adverbials (that Modify Reference Time) 3.8 Some Derivations 3.9 The Syntax of Temporal Schon Notes; 4. Extending the Fragment; 4.1 The Perfect Tenses 4.1.1 The Forms of the Perfect 4.1.2 The Meaning of the Perfect Tenses 4.1.3 The Syntax of the Perfect 4.1.4 A Sample Derivation 4.2 Adverbials which Modify Event Time 4.3 Noch 4.3.1 Nontemporal Noch 4.3.2 Immer Noch 4.3.3 The Syntax of Noch 4.4 Passives 4.4.1. The Subjectlessness of Impersonal Passives 4.4.2 The Lexical Nature of the Passive 4.4.3 A Formulation of the Rule Notes; References

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Semantics and Semiology

Semantics and semiology are two of the most important branches of linguistics and have proven to be fecund areas for research. They examine language structures and how they are dictated by both the meanings and forms of communication employed — semantics by focusing on the denotation of words and fixed word combinations, and semiology by studying sign and sign processes. As numerous interrelated fields connect to and sub-disciplines branch off from these major spheres, they are essential to a thorough grounding in linguistics and crucial for further study.

‘Routledge Library Editions: Semantics and Semiology’ collects together wide-ranging works of scholarship that together provide a comprehensive overview of the preceding theoretical landscape, and expand and extend it in numerous directions. A number of interrelated disciplines are also discussed in conjunction with semantics and semiology such as anaphora, pragmatics, syntax, discourse analysis and the philosophy of language. This set reissues 14 books originally published between 1960 to 2000 and will be of interest to students of linguistics and the philosophy of language.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Grammar & Punctuation
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Syntax
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Semantics