Looking into the future
The departmental seminar at ILN can offer another exciting invited speaker! This time, we host a talk by Ryan Bochnak out of the University of Konstanz. He is visiting us to talk about future temporal reference.
The event is open for everyone (that of course includes students and researchers from other departments!), and the talk is given in English.
The nature of future temporal reference has long posed a challenge to linguistic theories of temporal interpretation. On the one hand, the future would seem to be the mirror image of the past on a linear timeline. On the other hand, the future is inherently non-factual, suggesting a modal analysis of the future which is non-symmetrical with the past and present. Cross-linguistic studies of temporal reference have furthermore uncovered much variation in the strategies used to express future interpretation, and this variation cross-cuts the tensed/tenseless language divide. This talk focuses on the availability of future interpretations without overt future morphology, for example sentences like The plane departs at 11am on Wednesday, where the present tense is used to talk about the future. Special attention will be given to aspects of cross-linguistic variation, using the extant cross-linguistic literature on temporal interpretation, with an eye towards how existing accounts could be leveraged to develop a cross-linguistically valid theory of future interpretation (and temporal interpretation more generally), as well as the challenges they face. I will suggest possible parameters of variation, and point to areas where more cross-linguistic research is needed to supplement the empirical picture.