A Topic Time coreference analysis of tense ‘harmony’ in pseudoclefts

Teresa O'Neill


This paper offers a new analysis of so-called tense ‘harmony’ in specificational pseudoclefts (Higgins 1979; Sharvit 2003; Romero 2004). I take a referential approach to tense, where tenses relate two time pronominals: Topic Time (TT, Klein 1994) and Reference Time (RT) (Utterance Time, UT, in main clauses). Although binding between either UT or matrix Event Time (ET) and embedded RT derives the interpretations of most embedded tenses, binding cannot fully account for embedded tenses in specificational pseudoclefts.I propose that Topic Time coreference derives puzzling restrictions on embedded tenses in pseudoclefts in languages both with and without sequence of tenses (SOT). 

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.3018