The composition of INFL: An exploration of tense, tenseless languages, and tenseless constructions

Elizabeth Ritter, Martina Wiltschko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

The central goal of this article is to argue that functional categories are universally associated with a core function but that their substantive content is subject to variation. We review evidence from Ritter and Wiltschko (2009) based on language variation: INFL may be associated with temporal, spatial, or participant marking. This paper explores the properties of the universal category INFL in clauses where it remains without substantive content. We show that languages pattern in similar ways in these contexts. That is, in the absence of variable substantive content, the universal formal properties of INFL emerge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1386
Number of pages56
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Nov 2014

Keywords

  • Case
  • Counterfactuals
  • Functional categories
  • Imperatives
  • Infinitives
  • Tense
  • Tenselessness
  • Variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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