Towards a unified analysis of past and future tenses

The case of European Portuguese



While the literature has often highlighted the differences between the defining features of past and future tenses, little attention has been paid to the similarities that bring these linguistic forms together. Taking European Portuguese data as a point of departure, it was my goal in this paper to investigate some of the correspondences that arise between these structures. So, I will endorse the idea that, in both the past and the future domains, there are equivalent strategies to perform temporal location. Thus, tenses, such as the Pretérito Imperfeito do Indicativo (Imp) in the past or the Futuro Simples (FS) in the future, which do not display relevant temporal constraints beyond the mere location of an eventuality in an interval before or after t0, interact with and are more easily influenced by other semantic categories, namely aspect and modality. On the contrary, tenses that require more evident temporal restrictions, in particular the imposition of final or initial boundaries to the situations with which they are combined, such as the Pretérito Perfeito Simples (PPerf) or the construction ir (‘go’) + Infinitive, have in common that they are less permeable to the influence of other external factors, with temporal location being their most prominent meaning.


Tense, past tenses, future tenses, European Portuguese, temporal location, aspectual sensitivity


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