Counterfactual interpretation is constructed from two evaluation contexts plus morphology that indicates that the worlds in one of these contexts are located outside the other context serving as a basis of reference (Nichols 2003a). In Zuni (and English), the morphology used to indicate this relation between contexts is also used for 'past' temporal reference. This study argues that 'past' morphology in its temporal interpretation shares the same basic meaning as the modal cases: past tense specifies the type of relationship between a Reference Context and some other context of evaluation. While in English the temporal Reference Context is the Utterance Context, Zuni allows the temporal Reference Context to be shifted away from the Utterance Context. In addition to the argument that tense interpretation involves reference to contexts, the study makes the case for detailed studies distinguishing languagespecific morphological idiosyncrasies from the semantic properties that form the core of the counterfactual conditional construction.
"Reference to contexts in Zuni temporal and modal domains,"
Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas: Vol. 2
, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/sula/vol2/iss1/7