CRISSP Seminar: Hans Broekhuis

CRISSP is happy to announce another installment in the CRISSP Seminar series:

Lecturer: Hans Broekhuis (Meertens Institute Amsterdam)

Title: Tense and modality

Date & time: 23 April 2012, 17.00-18.30

Location: CRISSP/Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Stormstraat 2 (Hermes building), room 3101

Participation: free


The present paper is joint work with Hans Verkuyl.

It adopts as its point of departure the claim by Te Winkel (1866) and Verkuyl (2008) that mental temporal representations are built on the basis of the three binary features [±past], [±perfect], and [±posterior]. Languages may differ with respect to the question of whether these oppositions are overtly expressed by morphological and/or syntactic means, or pragmatically implied. Verkuyl (2008) assumed that Dutch expresses all oppositions overtly: [±past] by means of inflection, [±perfect] by means of past participles, and [±posterior] by means of the auxiliary zullen ‘will’. This paper drops the last assumption and claims that in spite of its sometimes temporal flavor zullen should be seen as an epistemic modal verb, comparable to verbs like moeten and kunnen, in the sense that it introduces possible worlds; the future interpretation of certain sentences with zullen is due to pragmatics, more specifically, Grice’s Maxim of Quantity. The paper will further show that taking this path will enable us to also account for a number of “special” uses of the present/past tenses, such as habitual/generic, conditional, hypothetical and counterfactual readings.

Presentation and handout