Locality constraints in nominal evaluation times

Maura O'Leary


The temporal arguments of VPs and adverbs must be locally coindexed with the nearest time abstraction above them (Percus 2000). In contrast, nouns, which also have time arguments, have been noted to have multiple available evaluation times (Enç 1981), often coinciding with the topic time (e.g. Musan 1995, Tonhauser 2002, Keshet 2008) or utterance time (O’Leary 2017, O’Leary & Brasoveanu 2018). I argue that we can explain the possible temporal interpretations of nouns in a way that makes their behavior consistent with that of VPs and adverbs by positing an analogous locality constraint and making a simple appeal to quantifier raising. I additionally propose that the need for a locality constraint on the coindexing of temporal arguments extends to all predicates introducing novel referents.


syntax-semantics interface; tense; nouns; evaluation times; binding

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v6i1.5041

Copyright (c) 2021 Maura O'Leary

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