The present perfect and the preterite in Australian English

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The present study explores diachronic shifts in the use of the present perfect and the preterite in Australian English. Research on British and American English has shown that the present perfect has lost ground to the preterite since the 18th century, a process underpinned by the weakening of the present perfect’s association with resultative contexts and the strengthening of its association with non-resultative, ‘extended-now’ contexts. The changes identified in Australian English by this study are strongly indicative of the above functional shift, but are less remarkable in degree and range than in British English, and even less than in American English. Keywords: Australian English; present perfect; preterite; diachronic change


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