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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2017, Vol. 48, No. 4, Pages 679-696
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00258)
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Syntactic Tense from a Comparative Syntax Perspective
Article PDF (395 KB)

Lin (2010) argues that an analysis without a Tense category for Chinese can better explain four syntactic properties of the language than an analysis with it: (a) no copula verb, (b) no expletive subject, (c) possibly no finite vs. nonfinite distinction, and (d) possibly no case-driven A-movement. In this article, we consider data from a variety of languages as well as some Chinese data that Lin does not take into account. We show that there is no principled reason for relating these four properties to syntactic Tense.