Edited By Emmanuelle Labeau and Jacques Bres
Pier Marco BERTINETTO Non-conventional uses of the Pluperfect in Italian (and German) literary prose 145
Non-conventional uses of the Pluperfect in Italian (and German) literary prose Pier Marco BERTINETTO, Scuola Normale di Pisa 1. Introduction The ordinary interpretation of the Pluperfect (henceforth PPF) is straight- forward.1 Using Reichenbach’s (1947) conventions, an event (E) expressed by the PPF occurs before the Speech Time (S) and before a contextually determined Reference Time (R). As has been pointed out (cf., e.g., Bertinet- to 1986), the semantic representation of this tense refers to two structural levels: temporality, inasmuch as it is coded as a past-tense, and aspect, in- asmuch as it involves the subjective choice of a suitable R, as required by all perfect-tenses. Although the PPF is not to be found in the tense-system of all natural languages, whenever it appears it seems to exhibit, by and large, the same semantic representation – at least with reference to its prototypi- cal uses – as well as a remarkable diachronic stability. Needless to say, the last statement should be read cum grano salis. Depending on the language, the PPF may marginally exhibit peculiar semantic properties;2 besides, in some 1 The reader should be aware of the conventions adopted in this paper. First, capital initials are used to designate the tenses belonging to language-specific grammatical de- scriptions. Thus, the ‘Present Perfect’ to be found in the English tense-aspect system appears with capital initials, while no capital is used when the term ‘present-perfect’ re- fers to the aspectual domain. Second, the word ‘tense’ is restricted to grammar-specific designations, while the semantic domain...
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