De binaire kracht van Te Winkels tempussysteem | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171


The present paper argues for a further exploration of a proposal to analyze the Dutch tense system in terms of binary oppositions rather than ternary, as in the standard approach advocated by Reichenbach (1947). The binary approach was first proposed by Te Winkel (1857; 1866). In a modernized version, the binary system turns out to evade a lot of problems haunting Reichenbachs system which is based on (naïve) physics. Te Winkel takes an interesting mentalistic view that prevents the present from being identified with the floating point of speech. The present is taken as a domain harbouring it. The future tense is robbed from its deictic nature in favour of a more neutral form of posteriority. As to anteriority, the question arises of whether Dutch tense forms with hebben (have) express aspectual information or purely tense information. It will be argued that given a binary approach there is no need for grammatical aspect in languages having developed a tense opposition between imperfect and perfect.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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