Tense, aspect and temporal order : before and after
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Anscombe (1964) presents influential arguments that 'before' and 'after' cannot denote converse relations, despite intuitions to the contrary. These arguments, I claim, rely on ambiguity of certain 'before'- and 'after'-sentences, ambiguity that arises from the interaction of tense and aspect with the temporal ordering relations denoted by 'before' and 'after'. To account for this ambiguity, I adopt a Discourse Representation Theory-based analysis of tense and aspect (Kamp & Reyle 2011) and apply it to a set of examples that exhibit the variety of readings available for 'before'- and 'after'-sentences. I argue that certain readings of stative 'after'-sentences support the existence of an inceptive coercion operator, equivalent in effect to the aspectual verb 'begin'. This operator has much in common with 'earliest', an operator proposed by Beaver & Condoravdi (2003), but it is motivated by independent aspectual considerations. I conclude with a discussion of areas for future research.