Now or then ? the clitic - Rru in Panyjima: Temporal properties in discourse
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The clitic -rru in Panyjima, glossed as 'now' by Dench, appears not only in present tense but also in past and future clauses. This paper analyses the uses of this clitic and its interactions with tenses at clause level, as well as its role in the wider discourse context. We argue that -rru has temporal and contrastive properties, more specifically that -rru modifies the time of the eventuality denoted and signals a change: it introduces a contrast with an earlier state of affairs corresponding to the negation of the eventuality denoted. Thus temporal progression is also inferred. We propose to represent this contrast as a presupposition that -rru introduces, using Discourse Representation Theory (DRT). We also show that in discourse, -rru is used to introduce new subtopics, thus expressing contrasts at this wider level as well. Discourse relations and their temporal inferences are analysed using Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT). We conclude that, while -rru often corresponds to the adverb 'then' in English, its contrastive properties liken it more to the adverb 'now' in other languages, especially when the latter is used in non-present time contexts. © 2012 Copyright The Australian Linguistic Society.
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