Aspect and tense in Rukai : interpretation and interaction
This thesis researches on aspect and tense in Rukai by focusing on their interpretation and interaction. The issues center on two component parts: the association between morphology and eventuality/situation type, and that between morphology and tense. In the domain of eventuality, I establish a connection between determiner morphology (specifically, the case morphemes) and event structuring at the level of verbal formation. It is argued that Rukai case markers correlate with a set of verbal prefixes that form a part of verbal stems in structuring eventualities. A generalized hypothesis of morphological merger is proposed to account for this morphosyntactic correlation and other formational instances. Secondly, I examine the interrelation of nominalization, voice formation and eventuality. It is argued that nominalization is used to construct a third kind of voice in Rukai, the object voice, in addition to the active and passive. The study indicates that derived nominalized and object voice constructions convey derived states, whose interpretation result from an aspectual shift in the domain of eventuality. In the domain of tense, I investigate the interpretation of tense markers and their interaction with aspect. The way how the nonfuture tense gets interpreted shows that it is temporally indeterminate, but aspectually constrained. The future is characterized by its function as a temporal marker in modal constructions. The interaction of the future tense with modals indicates that it can specify temporal posteriority in modal constructions. Furthermore, it is argued that the perfect aspect forms a complex tense with the nonfuture in conveying a past meaning. The nonfuture and future tenses are further examined in sentences with sub-ordinate clauses. The study shows that the nonfuture and the future tense behave differently with respect to their relation with a reference point in complex sentences. The nonfuture is more restricted than the future tense in that it cannot take a future time as its temporal reference, whereas the future can take a past time as its temporal reference.