A perfect-like stative: Icelandic 'búinn að' and pragmatic competition in the aspectual domain


  • Jordan Chark




Modern Icelandic has two “perfects”: 'hafa' ‘have’ (a canonical HAVE-perfect) and 'búinn'. The latter is younger, gaining an aspectual, perfect-like usage in the 16th century. Prior to this point it is attested as an adjectival participle meaning ‘ready, prepared’, derived from the verb 'búa' ‘reside, prepare, adorn’, subsequently undergoing a meaning shift from ‘ready, prepared’ to ‘finished’ (Thráinsson 2017). In the modern language, 'búinn' has a more restricted distribution than 'hafa', especially for some predicate classes (Jónsson 1992). The aims of this paper are twofold. Firstly, I provide an account of 'búinn' in modern Icelandic, accounting for these selectional restrictions. Secondly, I show how a difference in truth-conditional meaning coupled with pragmatic reasoning can capture the three-way division of labour between 'hafa', 'búinn' and the BE-'resultative'.




How to Cite

Chark, J. (2023). A perfect-like stative: Icelandic ’búinn að’ and pragmatic competition in the aspectual domain. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 27, 146–164. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2023.v27.1061