The uses of the present perfect in a binary-tense approach: a diachronic perspective
Hans Broekhuis
March 2021

This article adopts the controversial position that the present perfect has a unique meaning, which will be phrased in terms of binary-tense theory, as originally formulated in Te Winkel (1866) and formalized in Verkuyl (2008) and Broekhuis and Verkuyl (2014). It investigates the main uses of present-perfect constructions distinguished in McCawley (1971/1981); it is claimed that the existential reading is the default interpretation of the present perfect, from which the universal perfect and the perfect of result can be derived by pragmatic means. The analysis will be supported by showing that the two non-default readings have been made possible by two later diachronic stages in the development of the Germanic perfect, as distinguished in Kern (1912).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005259
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: binary tense theory, present perfect, inner aspect, language change, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v1 [June 2020]
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