Representing Time: An Essay on Temporality as Modality

Paperback | February 15, 2009

byKasia M. Jaszczolt

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Thinking and speaking about time is ridden with puzzles and paradoxes. How do human beings conceptualize time? Why, for example, does the availability of tense vary in different languages? How do the lines of information from tense, aspect, temporal adverbs, and context interact in the mind?Does time describe events? If real time does not flow, where do the concepts of the past, present and future come from? Are they basic concepts or are they composed out of more primitive constituents? And, finally, what is the semantics of expressions with temporal reference? This book offers a newapproach to the representation of meaning of temporally-located utterances and discourses. Temporality, the author suggests, should be taken to mean degrees of certainty, understood in turn as degrees of acceptability concerning the eventuality referred to in the speaker's utterance. She presentstheoretical arguments and empirical evidence from Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages to show that speakers represent the past, present, and future as degrees of epistemic modality. She argues that temporality can be subsumed under the general label of acceptability or attitude and, ratherlike the semantic category of evidentiality, founded on the strength of evidence. In the approach she develops, modality provides basic conceptual building blocks for the concept of time and at the same time semantic building blocks for representing temporal expressions in her framework of DefaultSemantics. Dr Jaszczolt sets the results of her research in the context of linguistic and philosophical work in semantics and pragmatics.

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Thinking and speaking about time is ridden with puzzles and paradoxes. How do human beings conceptualize time? Why, for example, does the availability of tense vary in different languages? How do the lines of information from tense, aspect, temporal adverbs, and context interact in the mind?Does time describe events? If real time does ...

Kasia M. Jaszczolt (pronounced: Yashchout) is Reader in Linguistics and Philosophy of Language at the Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. Her books include Discourse, Beliefs and Intentions: Semantic Defaults and Propositional Attitude Ascription (1999), Semantics and Pragmati...

other books by Kasia M. Jaszczolt

The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics
The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics

Kobo ebook|Jan 12 2012

$37.39 online$48.56list price(save 23%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:February 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199214441

ISBN - 13:9780199214440

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Thinking About Time and Living in Time1. Real Time and the Concept of Time2. Time as Modality3. Semantic Representation of Time: A Preamble4. Time in Default SemanticsConclusion: 'Looking Forward' Into the FutureReferencesIndex