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By William B Boyce; William J Davis

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In contrast to that-clauses or to-infinitives, the temporal interpretation of a bare infinitive perception complement is always directly determined by the tense of the matrix sentence. That is, the embedded clause does not have a temporal interpretation of its own, but takes its time reference from the higher clause. Not only do IPVCs lack the independent tense specification that characterises finite clauses, they also lack temporal interpretations which are relative to (and therefore different from) the matrix tense, a possibility which has been argued to be available for (certain types of) full infinitives.

The crucial requirement for (54a) to be true is that Jackie saw Kennedy, and she might or might not have seen Oswald at the same time. Example (54b), on the other hand, states that Jackie saw the event of Oswald’s shooting Kennedy, which does not necessarily imply that she actually saw Oswald—she might, for instance, only have seen part of a gun, and later learnt that the killer’s name was Oswald. In other words, the interpretative differences found between (54a) and (54b) suggest that what looks like a participial small clause is not in fact a clausal constituent, but a DP modified by a reduced relative clause.

We saw John have left *We saw John be going to leave *We saw John be leaving We saw John leave The propositional that complements in (94) clearly show the highest possible degree of temporal independence from the matrix clause—that is, the event or situation expressed by the lower clause may be specified and interpreted as occurring non-finite perception complements 39 either prior to, as in (94a), after, as in (94b), or simultaneously with the act of seeing (as in (94c,d)). The situation is similar with to-infinitives such as (95a–d).

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A grammar of the Kaffir language by William B Boyce; William J Davis


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