Comparing Tense Systems: the Primacy of the Pres/Past Opposition
Keywords:Aspect, Compositionality, Crosslinguistic Analysis, Tense
AbstractA way of improving on the description of the English tense system in Reichenbach  is achieved by changing its matrix 3x3 design into a 2x2x2 set up, formed by 3 basic oppositions:
- present vs. past
- synchronous vs. posterior
- incompleted vs. completed action
- the binary system is completely compositional;
- there is no tripartition between Past, Present and Future, but only the basic opposition between Past and Present remains. As we intend to show later, this is empirically supported by the Russian and Polish data;
- some concrete problems, for instance, the ambiguity of past perfect with temporal adverbials or more then one configuration for the same tense form [Future Perfect [will have written] or Past Future tense [would write]] do not arise.
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