Toward a more fine-grained theory of temporal adverbials

Daniel Gordon Altshuler


In this paper I propose that a core property of adverbial meaning is the ability (or the lack thereof) of an adverbial to introduce a new time discourse referent. The core data comes from 'that same day' in narrative discourse. I argue that unlike other previously studied temporal adverbials—which introduce a new time discourse referent and relate it to the speech time or a previously mentioned time—'that same' retrieves two salient times from the input context, i.e. it is "twice-anaphoric", without introducing one of its own. Moreover, I argue that the adverb 'currently' is like 'that same day' in not introducing a new time discourse referent; it constrains the temporal location of a described eventuality relative to a salient time previously introduced into the discourse context. The analysis that I propose is implemented within Compositional Discourse Representation Theory. It illustrates how adverbial meaning can be integrated within a more general theory of temporal interpretation.


adverbials; anaphora; deixis; compositional discourse representation theory

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