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Tense, Aspect, and Indexicality$
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James Higginbotham

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239313

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239313.001.0001

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On Events in Linguistic Semantics

On Events in Linguistic Semantics

(p.18) 2 On Events in Linguistic Semantics
Tense, Aspect, and Indexicality

James Higginbotham (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses part of the scientific background that appears to be operative in linguistic semantics, guiding the psychological inquiry, and gives some examples of applications of the E-position hypothesis within that theory. The arguments in favour of the hypothesis point toward a restricted theory of linguistic organization: events enter semantic computation only as they are linguistically represented through thematic grids, and discharge of open positions takes place only under structurally controlled conditions. The theory pays in ontology for what it buys semantically; that is, the cost, if it is a cost, of the combinatorial simplification, is the positing of objects, reference to which is not immediately manifest in linguistic structures. The formalization of the theory, and its application to a greater variety of human languages, is a matter for the future. In the meantime, the theory receives some support from the fact that it makes many of what we take to be obvious implications really obvious, and from the degree to which it fits a reasonable conception of what is learned in mastering a language.

Keywords:   linguistic semantics, E-position hypothesis, telicity, semantic theory

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