5. Cross-linguistic differences in expressing time and universal principles of utterance interpretation

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This chapter addresses the question how linguistic diversity and universalism in the domain of representing time can be reconciled. It is demonstrated how the contextualist theory of Default Semantics (Jaszczolt 2005, 2009, 2010a) accounts for cross-linguistic differences in conveying temporal location, utilising at the same time universal pragmatic principles. This is achieved by allocating information about temporality to different but universally available sources of information about meaning and to different universal processes which interact in producing a representation of the primary, intended meaning. It offers some examples of how lexicon/grammar/pragmatics trade-offs in conveying temporality can be represented in merger representations of Default Semantics, at the same time reflecting the underlying universal principles of the composition of meaning.


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