Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Linguistics Program

Committee Chair

Leora Bar-el

Commitee Members

Naomi Shin, Tully Thibeau


Binding Theory, Blackfoot, conjunctive, embedded clauses, language change, Reichenbach, Spanish subjunctive, temporal domain, temporal interpretation, tense


University of Montana


In this thesis I argue that verbs in embedded clauses are temporally interpreted by being bound to the temporal arguments of AspP and VP in the matrix clause. I build up this claim by proposing that (i) Reichenbach’s relation of association can be expressed in terms of Binding Theory in the syntax, (ii) Tense is subject to different binding principles depending on its syntactic realization so that T in main clauses must be free (i.e., subject to Principle B) but in embedded clauses T must be bound (i.e., subject to Principle A), (iii) the Spanish present subjunctive is a tenseless form which behaves syntactically very similar to an infinitive and (iv) (non)-finiteness can be defined in terms of binding. This thesis aims to contribute to linguistic theory by presenting a solution to the problem of the Spanish subjunctive and the violation of the rule of concordantia temporum, by establishing another parallel across domains, namely between the nominal and the temporal domain, which are argued in this thesis to be subject to the same syntactic principles of Binding Theory, and by providing empirical evidence that natural language makes use of syntactic relations to arrive at semantic interpretations. Finally, the findings and proposals in this thesis predict that cross-linguistically languages should prefer to use syntactic configurations over morphological systems for semantic interpretation.



© Copyright 2010 Gustavo Ariel Guajardo