On the development of the perfect (participle)

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This paper argues that the perfect tense has developed from a resultant state construction (in the sense of Kratzer 2000) that expresses bounded or resultative aspect. The development involves changes in the structure and meaning of the participle. Perfect participles and resultant state participles differ with respect to stativity and tense, and in Present-Day Swedish they also involve different forms. It seems plausible that the development of the perfect began with an extended use of resultant state participles with HAVE at some point in Old Germanic. Traces of such a development are observed in the Old Norse <i>Edda</i> and <i>the</i> <i>Gr&#225;g&#225;s</i>, as well as in Old Saxon <i>Heliand</i>. In these texts, the frequency of agreeing participles in the complement of HAVE is considerably higher than in both Gothic and Old High German, as well as in the Present-Day languages.


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