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Evolution in Romance Verbal Systems


Edited By Emmanuelle Labeau and Jacques Bres

The present book focuses on evolution in the Romance verbal systems. In the wake of Bybee’s and Dahl’s studies, it advocates the benefits of adopting a cross-linguistic and diachronic approach to the study of linguistic phenomena. Within the scope of the Romance family, similar cross-linguistic evolution paths are explored, as related languages at different stages of grammaticalisation may shed light on each other’s developments. A diachronic dimension also proves desirable for several reasons. First, a diachronic approach significantly enhances the explanatory power of linguistic theory by showing how a specific form came to convey a certain function. Second, change is better revealed in diachronic movement than in static synchrony. Third, meaning constantly evolves and a one-off probe will be less revealing than a sustained study through time. Finally and most importantly, similarities across languages appear more obviously in diachrony. All the chapters of this volume participate in their own way to that crosslinguistic and diachronic approach and help make it an original, focused contribution that covers all main Romance languages.


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Teresa Maria XIQUÉS Towards a Unified Account of the Present Perfect in Catalan and English 91


Towards a Unified Account of the Present Perfect in Catalan and English1 Teresa Maria XIQUÉS, Autonomous University of Barcelona 1. Introduction In Catalan, it is traditionally assumed that the Present Perfect (henceforth PrP), called perfet, is ambiguous between a perfect interpretation and a so- called hodiernal past one.2 (1a) and (2a) constitute two cases which are con- sidered to have a past interpretation and analysed as hodiernal perfects (Pérez Saldanya 2002, Curell 2003, Curell & Coll 2007). The hodiernal PrP refers to completed events that take place within the current day, i.e. a day which includes the time of utterance. The examples in (1a) and (2a) contrast with the English data shown in (1b) and (2b). In English, the PrP cannot be combined with locating time adverbials such as ‘at six’ (Klein 1992). More- over, as shown in (2a), the current day restriction in the strict sense does not always apply in the hodiernal use of the PrP in Catalan. (1) a. Ha marxat a les sis. (Cat.) have-3.SG left at the six. [He left today at six.] b. * Chris has left at six. (Klein 1992: 546) 1 I am really grateful to Olga Borik for her comments and corrections as well as to Josep Maria Brucart who also helped me develop the ideas in this article. The remain- ing errors are mine. This research has been funded by pre-doctoral grant FI DGR- 2011, awarded by the Catalan Government and the European Social Fund. This work has been also...

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