UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 11 (1999)

The relation between Tense and Aspect: The emergence of the T-system


The purpose of this study is to make clear the differences between tense and aspect and to show that T(ense), a functional category which heads a phrasal projection in the clause structure, comes to human languages later than aspect, both historically and in first language acquisition. That is, I suggest that there is a correlation between processes of first language acquisition and diachronic language change . This correlation is supported by current theoretical assumptions about functional categories, specifically TP. In the absence of TP, the task of temporal interpretation can be taken care of by alternative devices such as temporal adverbials, aspect, and so on.

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