Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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Romance varieties differ in their usage of preterit and present perfect verb tenses. Both are past perfectives, but whereas Portuguese uses the preterit in most contexts, spoken French prefers the present perfect. Peninsular Spanish lies between the two, though evidence indicates that the present perfect is becoming the default past perfective (Schwenter and Torres Cacoullos 2008) in a process of ‘aoristic drift’ (Squartini and Bertinetto 2000). How does speaker multilingualism affect this? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with second-generation members of the Portuguese diaspora in Andorra. We might expect native competence in Portuguese to inhibit aoristic drift in Spanish, since contact has been shown to affect past perfective verb tense in other Romance varieties (Gili Gaya 1993Hawkey 2020). Contrary to expectations, participants demonstrated aoristic drift. Dense and multiplex migrant networks are, however, shown to favour the maintenance of vernacular norms (Milroy 1980), including generalising the function of the present perfect.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): migrant social networks; morphosyntactic variation; past tenses
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