The Present Perfect at the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface: American English and Brazilian Portuguese

  • Karina Veronica Molsing

Abstract

Modern theorists rarely agree on how to represent the categories of tense and aspect, making a consistent analysis for phenomena, such as the present perfect, more difficult to attain. It has been argued in previous analyses that the variable behavior of the present perfect between languages licenses independently motivated treatments, particularly of a morphosyntactic or semantic- syntactic nature (Giorgi & Pianesi 1997; Schmitt 2001; Ilari 2001). More specifically, the well- known readings of the American English (AE) present perfect (resultative, experiential, persistent situation, recent past (Comrie 1976)), are at odds with the readings of the corresponding structure in Brazilian Portuguese (BP), the ‘pretérito perfeito composto” (default iterativity and occasional duration (Ilari 1999)). Despite these variations, the present work, assuming a tense-aspect framework at the semantic-pragmatic interface, will provide a unified analysis for the present perfect in AE and BP, which have traditionally been treated as semantically divergent. The present perfect meaning, in conjunction with the aspectual class of the predicate, can account for the major differences between languages, particularly regarding iterativity and the “present perfect puzzle”, regarding adverb compatibility.
Published
2019-08-15
How to Cite
Molsing, K. V. (2019). The Present Perfect at the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface: American English and Brazilian Portuguese. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 10(1), 239-250. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2006.v10i1.687