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No escape from the future

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Abstract

This article deals with debated questions on the semantics and cognition of temporality: the existence of tenseless languages, the cultural variability of the representation of the future and the plurality of temporal frames and its contextdependency. It explores the hypothesis that even in tenseless languages, inferences relative to temporal location may ultimately become conventionalized and encoded by grammatical markers. While futurity is generally taken as the least tensy of tenses, this hypothesis is proposed for a future marker in Yucatec Maya <i>(b&#237;in)</i>. Features of factuality, remoteness and dissociation from the contemporal domain are further analysed, and lead to a characterization of <i>b&#237;in</i> as triggering a non-actualized temporal frame of reference, associated with the domain of predetermined events outside human control.

References

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