Linguistics in Göttingen - A platform for empirical and theoretical linguistics

Ryan Bochnak (Constance)

Sequence of tense effects in Washo, an optional tense language

I use data from past interpretations of attitude complements in optional tense languages to argue for a syntactic view of sequence of tense (SOT) effects, and against a pragmatic explanation. In at least some optional tense languages, such as Washo (Bochnak, 2016) and Tlingit (Cable, 2017), an embedded past under a matrix past may receive a so-called ?simultaneous? reading. The interpretation of embedded tense in Washo provides a novel argument for a syntactic SOT rule that targets an embedded tense which is c-commanded by an identical matrix tense (e.g., Ogihara 1989, von Stevhow 1995). The effect of applying the rule is that the reference time (RT) of the embedded clause is bound by the attitude verb, resulting in a simultaneous reading. I argue that such an account can better handle the data than a pragmatic account of simultaneous readings (e.g., Gennari 2003, Altshuler, 2016).