The Vietnamese perfect


  • Thuy Bui


The paper seeks to advance understanding of cross-linguistic variation in the semantics of tense and aspect by investigating the distribution and interpretation of the temporal marker da in Vietnamese. The study first explores the possibility of accounting for such a marker as an optional past tense. By testing this hypothesis against empirical data, this paper argues that da is neither a referential nor a quantificational past tense, but a perfect marker in Vietnamese. The second part of the paper provides a formal analysis of da. Based on da’s interaction with different adverbial phrases, this study suggests that da behaves similarly to the German perfect rather than the English perfect. The discussion relates directly to recent approaches to other languages and offers data from a superficially tenseless language to the discussion on the cross-linguistic semantic variation in ‘perfect puzzle.’


How to Cite

Bui, T. (2019). The Vietnamese perfect. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 21(1), 249–266. Retrieved from