LINGUIST List 14.100

Mon Jan 13 2003

Diss: Typology: Wide "Perfect in dialogue..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. wide, Typology: Wide "Perfect in dialogue..."

Message 1: Typology: Wide "Perfect in dialogue..."

Date: Thu, 09 Jan 2003 09:19:22 +0000
From: wide <>
Subject: Typology: Wide "Perfect in dialogue..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Helsinki
Program: Scandinavian Languages and lLiterature
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Camilla Wide 

Dissertation Title: 
Perfect in dialogue: Form and functional potential of the vera
b�inn a� + inf. construction in contemporary Icelandic

Linguistic Field: 
Typology, Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Subject Language: Icelandic

Dissertation Director 1: Mirja Saari
Dissertation Director 2: Hannu Tommola
Dissertation Director 3: Anne-Marie Londen

Dissertation Abstract: 

This study is an exploration of a grammatical construction in
contemporary Icelandic (vera b�inn a� + infinitive, lit. 'be
finished/done to'), which has not yet been fully grammaticalized as a
perfect. The main purpose of the study is to investigate the
(synchronic) communicative and syntactic-semantic diversity in the use
of this construction in authentic recorded conversations and hence
contribute to the understanding of how grammatical constructions,
particularly tense-aspect constructions, are used in spoken language
in real-life settings. Theoretically the study relates to two
different frameworks. The overall framework is a functionalist and
dialogic outlook on language and communication. The other framework
brought up is that of grammaticalization, particularly the so-called
Bybee and Dahl approach to tense-aspect constructions.

Three empirical investigations were conducted using primarily
qualitative methods: a) a sequential analysis of the b&Atilde;inn
construction in communicative contexts, b) a frequency study of the
construction in different genres of texts, and c) an analysis of the
construction in syntactic-semantic contexts.

One of the main results of the study is that the use of the
construction vera b�inn a� + inf. can be explained in terms of a
functional potential. On a more general level, the study demonstrates
the importance of taking into consideration the communicative aspects
of grammatical constructions, especially in studies of tense and
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