Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 283–306 | Cite as

Separating tense and finiteness: anchoring in Dravidian

  • R. Amritavalli


Finiteness cannot be identified with Tense. What is currently understood as Tense must be seen as a complex of features with two functions: event anchoring or finiteness, and temporality and tense interpretation; these features need not always occur together on one element. Finite negative clauses in Dravidian languages are matrix non-finite complements to a negative element. The non-finite clause can have a tense interpretation, but the constructs ‘selected tense’ or ‘dependent tense’ (Landau 2004) appear to be irrelevant to it. Finite negative clauses seem rather to separate tense interpretation and clausal anchoring. Dravidian anchors the clause to the world of the utterance by virtue of Mood: the anchors are a finite neg element, agreement, and modals. Neg and agreement select different verbal complements, in accordance with their polarity; consequently, affirmative and negative clauses look superficially very different.


Finiteness Tense Anchoring Nominative Dravidian Negation Polarity 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The EFL UniversityHyderabadIndia

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