University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


There are two main expressions which can give rise to future-oriented interpretations in Hungarian. The fog construction, which consists of an auxiliary verb and an infinitival main verb is obligatorily associated with future interpretations. The second expression, the non-past, consists of a verb inflected for person and number, with no grammatical marker of temporal reference. Interestingly, atelic predicates give rise to event-in-progress readings and telic non-past predicates give rise to future readings in the absence of future-oriented contexts or adverbs.

I provide a semantics of fog and the non-past construction that accounts for these patterns through the interaction of the situation aspect of the predicate with temporal properties of the constructions in question. I argue that fog is a simple existential quantifier over future intervals, whereas the non-past restricts the time that the predicate can hold to the interval extending from now to infinitely in the future. There are three logical possibilities for how an atelic predicate like ”john run” can hold of this interval. Either the predicate holds only over the the moment of speech, P holds over some interval after speech time, or P holds of the interval where John’s running would begin at speech time and extend into the future. I argue that because telic predicates do not have the Subinterval Property, they cannot hold punctually of now, and so do not give rise to ongoing readings.