Alice ter Meulen, born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1952. Ph.D. from Stanford University. Professor of Structure and Meaning of Natural Language at the University of Groningen.
Fellow (1 September 2007 – 30 June 2008)
REASONING IN TIME ABOUT TIME
Aspectual modification across closely related Germanic languages such as English, German and Dutch shows considerable linguistic variability. Temporal reasoning patterns, which constitute my primary research focus, cut across such differences in expression. My research objective is to chart how narrative information about time, presented in time, constitutes the basis from which we draw the same conclusion, regardless of the language in which this information is expressed. My NIAS book “Reasoning in Time” (Bradford Books, MIT Press) not only offers an account of such linguistic variability, but also a systematic representation of universal patterns of temporal reasoning. In this way, measures of complexity may be defined that should lead to innovative experimental questions on how people reason with temporal information.