The Perfect Time Span

On the present perfect in German, Swedish and English

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This book is the first book-length study on the Swedish present perfect. It provides an in-depth exploration of the present perfect in English, German and Swedish. It is claimed that only a discourse-based ExtendedNow-approach fully accounts for the present perfect. The main claim is that the length of the ExtendedNow-interval varies cross-linguistically. The book is couched within the framework of the Discourse Representation Theory and also within Distributed Morphology. It is shown that Swedish provides empirical evidence against all previous research in the field. The following questions are investigated: Is it possible to assign a single uniform meaning to the present perfect? How can we account for the different readings of the perfect? How can we account for the cross-linguistic variation? These issues are addressed from a comparative perspective by integrating previous research on the present perfect. This book is of interest to all those working in the field of tense and aspect.

Subjects: Semantics; Theoretical linguistics; Germanic linguistics; Syntax; Generative linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen

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