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International Journal Of American Linguistics


This article discusses the temporal interpretation of Navajo sentences. Navajo has linguistic forms that give temporal information: future tense, past and future particles, and temporal adverbials. These forms are optional, so that many sentences contain no direct temporal information. In such cases, aspectual information gives pragmatic cues to the temporal location of the situation expressed. The key factor is boundedness: in the default case, unbounded situations are taken as present and bounded situations as past. Three pragmatic principles explain the inference from aspect to temporal location. The principles, which also hold for certain other languages, apply to verb words with overt aspectual viewpoints as well as to zero‐marked verb words.


This work is freely available courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

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