From Ireland to Newfoundland

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Irish English is well-known for its extensive range of perfect equivalents, including the <i>after</i>-perfect and the medial-object perfect. Yet the literature displays no consensus on either the precise semantics of the former or the origins of the latter (along with those of the &#8220;extended present&#8221;, the <i>be</i>-perfect, and the simple past as perfect equivalent). This paper attempts to shed light on both issues, using corpus data from Newfoundland, among the earliest of Britain&#8217;s transatlantic colonies. These data suggest that the <i>after</i>-perfect was brought to Newfoundland with a full range of perfect meanings, not simply that of &#8220;hot news&#8221;. They also cast serious doubt on the role played by an Irish substrate in the path of grammaticalisation of the medial-object perfect. Keywords: Newfoundland English; Irish English; perfect forms; <i>after-perfect</i>; medial-object perfect


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