Pragmatic Aspects of Tense in English and Arabic: Based on a Neo-SRE Theory


  •  Gehad M. Amin    

Abstract

The hypothesis upon which this paper is based is that in both Arabic and English the notion of tense underdetermines the notion of time, and some pragmatic enrichment is needed to the get at the correct temporal interpretation. In both languages, beside the normal unmarked tense usages, some marked usages of tense are available wherein the tense constructions do not refer to their equivalent temporal intervals; this is done for the sake of rhetorical purposes as illustrated and exemplified. Even the unmarked cases to tense are proven to require, for sound interpretation, the inclusion of pragmatic givens. Many examples are given in both languages showing the pragmatic nature of the temporal interpretive process of tense in terms of the SRE theory where the interrelationship of the three-time intervals speech, event, and reference times (S/TU, E/TSit, R/TT) is based primarily on rather pragmatic parameters within the process of temporal interpretation. Some new treatment is given concerning the theory of tense interpretation which is related to a pragmatic conception of the speaker’s temporal projection or “virtuality” via which tenses’ inherent three-time points are pragmatically interrelated and arranged in terms of the potential existence of multiple virtual and non-virtual speakers.



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