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Introduction to Events, Temporal Reference, and Discourse

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is strangely at odds with developments in the domain to which it was meant to be relevant - the properties of and interactions between temporal and aspectual expressions in natural languages such as English. If the author wants to do justice to what Formal Properties of 'Now' does in language, and arguably also in thought, the older and simpler assumption that it is an indexical constant will do much better. By the time Events, Instants and Temporal Reference was written, this battle had already been irrevocably lost by the aficionados of operators. Reichenbach's contribution to the semantics of temporal reference in natural languages is his two-dimensional theory of tense, according to which each tense form of English makes a semantic contribution consisting of two temporal relations, one between speech time and reference time and one between reference time and event time.

Keywords:Events; Formal Properties of 'Now'; linguistic analysis; natural languages; Reichenbach; temporal reference



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