image of Intermediate perfects



The cross-linguistic variation in distribution and meaning of constructions building on + past participle in Western European languages has been analysed in terms of the , the shift from resultative via perfect to perfective past meaning that takes us from ‘classical’ languages like English to ‘liberal’ languages like French. This paper challenges the (often implicit) assumption that there is a single path along the aoristic drift, resulting in a linear scale. Data coming from translation corpora reveal that the in three ‘intermediate’ languages (Dutch, Catalan and Breton) is sensitive to lexical aspect (state vs. event), narrativity and hodiernal vs. pre-hodiernal past time reference. These meaning ingredients appear in different combinations in the three languages, thereby establishing them as independent dimensions of variation. The conclusion that there are multiple paths along the aoristic drift has implications for the cross-linguistic semantics of tense and aspect.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: Breton/Catalan/Dutch ; perfect ; aoristic drift
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