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Yael Sharvit

Yael Sharvit (University of California, Los Angeles) will speak at the UCSD Linguistics Department Colloquium on April 30, 2012, at 2:00 pm in AP&M 4301.

Tense and Universal Grammar

The main empirical concern of this talk is cross-linguistic variation in the behavior of tenses; specifically, the observation that languages that are traditionally classified as non-SOT (non Sequence-of-Tense) come in more than one variety, as shown by the behavior of tense in before-clauses of these languages. The main theoretical concern of this paper is the distinction between treatments of tenses as time-denoting pronouns and treatments of tenses as existential quantifiers over times. This paper brings together the empirical observation regarding non-SOT languages and the pronominal/quantificational tense distinction, by exploiting the latter in order to account for the former and in order to predict possible and impossible natural languages in general.