Philippine Social Sciences Review, Volume 62 No.2 July-December 2010, Ed. Eric Manalastas

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When Time Won’t Tell: Discourse Relations and Temporal Interpretation in Tagalog

Jeruen E. Dery


This paper argues that temporal interpretation in Tagalog is driven not simply by aspectual information, but also makes use of top-down discourse information. It is demonstrated here how discourse relations play a role in constraining temporal interpretation, given that Tagalog does not grammatically encode tense, which results in temporal vagueness. Using Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (Asher & Lascarides, 2003), show how temporal information of events is derived from discourse, by determining what type of discourse relation holds across two propositions. A detailed application of how this machinery works is given, explaining how world knowledge affects the temporal interpretation process.

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