De re tenses and Trace Conversion

Moshe E. Bar-Lev


I suggest a quantificational account for tenses in which the seemingly peculiar behavior of tenses that are interpreted de re (most notably the double access reading of English Present-under-Past sentences) falls out from a general Trace Conversion rule that applies to moved quantifiers, as in Fox 2002. I propose that de re tenses involve movement (following Ogihara 1989), and that the first argument of tenses is a property of times which characterizes the set of times that include the local evaluation time, such that the application of Trace Conversion to moved tenses yields an inclusion requirement with respect to the local evaluation time of the base position. Unlike previous analyses (Ogihara 1989; Abusch 1997), the current analysis predicts that a de re interpretation of a tense (Past or Present) involves inclusion of the attitude time. This is supported by the availability of simultaneous readings for Past-under-Past sentences in non-SOT languages such as Hebrew, and the unavailability of ‘mixed’ (simultaneous and backward-shifted) readings for Past-under-Past constructions under universal quantification.

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