A Semantics of Sequence of Tense without a Sequence-of-tense Rule

  • Published : 2000.12.01


I argue in this paper that the sequence of tense (SOT) phenomenon can be accounted for without positing a SOT rule, focusing on the contrast between the past under-past sentences which lead to ambiguity and those sentences which do not. The different interpreta- tion of past under past sentences depends on whether the stative or then non-stative predicates occur in the complement clauses in the propositional attitude verbs. Based on this, I also argue that the embedded past tense does not contribute to the seman- tics past tense in the complement clause. Instead, it is due to the occurrence of the stative or non-stative predicates in the complement clauses. The stative predicates are associated with the temporal precedence or the overlap relation, whereas the non-stative predicates the precedence relation only. This fact triggers the contrast in past- under- past sentences.(Korea University)