Mary T. COPPLE Following the path: An emerging perfect(ive) viewed through temporal reference 55
Following the path: An emerging perfect(ive) viewed through temporal reference Mary T. COPPLE, Kansas State University The grammaticalization path of perfects from resultative to perfective has been much discussed (Harris 1982; Bybee, Perkins, and Pagliuca 1994; Squartini and Bertinetto 1995, 2000); however, diachronic comparisons of a grammaticalizing perfect with a competing perfective form are more rarely presented (see Caron and Liu 1999; Liu 2004). In some varieties of con- temporary Peninsular Spanish, the Present Perfect (PP) now competes with the Preterit for use in perfective contexts, and exhibits advanced grammati- calization as it is well established in hodiernal temporal reference (Schwenter 1994b; Serrano 1994; Schwenter and Torres Cacoullos 2008). The diachronic evolution in Peninsular Spanish of these two forms, PP and Preterit, is the subject of this study. The PP was already functioning as a resultative in the Middle Ages (Company 1983; Detges 2006). This study traces the transformation of the PP as it expanded into different temporal reference contexts. PP and Pret- erit data from the 15th, 17th, and 19th centuries were drawn from dramatic texts in order to compare the two forms and document evidence of PP grammaticalization: changes in relative frequency between the two forms, rigidification of syntax that demonstrates a strengthening of the PP con- struction, and semantic extension of the PP into new temporal reference contexts. The 15th century PP is far less frequently used than the Preterit. Howev- er, the PP shows evidence of expansion from its resultative function to include “hot news...
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