Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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This paper investigates temporal interpretations in Pirahâ, a Muran language spoken in the Brazilian Amazon basin. The analysis assumes the neoReichen-bachian model of tense syntax proposed in Hornstein (1990) and argues that this model provides an elegant account of tense-related facts in Pirahâ, iff it is parametrized. Whereas Hornstein predicts that all tense systems will have a temporal reference point (R), this paper argues that languages may be parametrized as [+R] or [-R] and that this has important implications for their temporal syntax. Moreover, the paper also argues that it is no coincidence that the Pirahâ place little importance on precision time statements, or that the Pirahâ have difficulty translating such statements, since their language does not draw temporal distinctions based on R. The parametrization of R among the Pirahâ is argued to offer anew source of support for Sapir's linguistic relativity hypothesis.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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