Past interpretation and graded tense in Medumba

  • This paper provides a formal semantic analysis of past interpretation in Medumba (Grassfields Bantu), a graded tense language. Based on original fieldwork, the study explores the empirical behavior and meaning contribution of graded past morphemes in Medumba and relates these to the account of the phenomenon proposed in Cable (Nat Lang Semant 21:219-276, 2013) for GA (c) ky. Investigation reveals that the behavior of Medumba gradedness markers differs from that of their GA (c) ky counterparts in meaningful ways and, more broadly, discourages an analysis as presuppositional eventuality or reference time modifiers. Instead, the Medumba markers are most appropriately analyzed as quantificational tenses. It also turns out that Medumba, though belonging to the typological class of graded tense languages, shows intriguing similarities to genuinely tenseless languages in allowing for temporally unmarked sentences and exploiting aspectual and pragmatic cues for reference time resolution. The more general cross-linguistic implication of theThis paper provides a formal semantic analysis of past interpretation in Medumba (Grassfields Bantu), a graded tense language. Based on original fieldwork, the study explores the empirical behavior and meaning contribution of graded past morphemes in Medumba and relates these to the account of the phenomenon proposed in Cable (Nat Lang Semant 21:219-276, 2013) for GA (c) ky. Investigation reveals that the behavior of Medumba gradedness markers differs from that of their GA (c) ky counterparts in meaningful ways and, more broadly, discourages an analysis as presuppositional eventuality or reference time modifiers. Instead, the Medumba markers are most appropriately analyzed as quantificational tenses. It also turns out that Medumba, though belonging to the typological class of graded tense languages, shows intriguing similarities to genuinely tenseless languages in allowing for temporally unmarked sentences and exploiting aspectual and pragmatic cues for reference time resolution. The more general cross-linguistic implication of the study is that the set of languages often subsumed under the label "graded tense" does not in fact form a natural class and that more case-by-case research is needed to refine this category.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author details:Anne MuchaORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-016-9128-1
ISSN:0925-854X
ISSN:1572-865X
Title of parent work (English):Natural language semantics : an international journal of semantics and its interfaces in grammar
Publisher:Springer
Place of publishing:Dordrecht
Publication type:Article
Language:English
Date of first publication:2016/10/15
Publication year:2017
Release date:2022/06/23
Tag:Graded tense; Grassfields Bantu; Past interpretation
Volume:25
Number of pages:52
First page:1
Last Page:52
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Strukturbereich Kognitionswissenschaften / Department Linguistik
DDC classification:4 Sprache / 41 Linguistik / 410 Linguistik
Peer review:Referiert
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