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LINGUIST List 21.2174

Mon May 10 2010

Diss: Syntax/Semantics: Henderson: 'El Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto...'

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        1.    Carlos Henderson, El Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto del español de Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay: Aspectos semánticos y discursivos/The Present Perfect in the Spanish of Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay: Semantic and discursive aspects

Message 1: El Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto del español de Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay: Aspectos semánticos y discursivos/The Present Perfect in the Spanish of Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay: Semantic and discursive aspects
Date: 09-May-2010
From: Carlos Henderson <carloshisp.su.se>
Subject: El Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto del español de Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay: Aspectos semánticos y discursivos/The Present Perfect in the Spanish of Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay: Semantic and discursive aspects
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Institution: Stockholm University
Program: Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Carlos Henderson

Dissertation Title: El Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto del español de Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay: Aspectos semánticos y discursivos/The Present Perfect in the Spanish of Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay: Semantic and discursive aspects

Dissertation URL: http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:311742

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Johan Falk
Carmen Silva-Corvalán
Lars Fant

Dissertation Abstract:

The aim of the present work is to describe the semantics and the discursive
functions from a general cognitivist point of view of the usage of the
present perfect in the spoken Spanish of Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is
argued that cross-linguistic values that prevailing theories often ascribe
to perfect, such as continuity, current relevance and recency to the speech
time -ST- do not offer a consistent view of the actual usage in the present
work's corpora. It is assumed that a basic meaning of the perfect operates
in the studied dialects and is retrievable in all tokens. This meaning
differs significantly from the current descriptions of the perfect of
'general' Spanish.

The results show that the ST is not relevant to the basic meaning of the
Perfect of the studied dialects; the validation of the situation or of its
effects in ST might very well be an inference thereof but it is not an
intrinsic component of the Perfect's semantics. Based mainly on Dahl &
Hedin (2000) and Hedin (2000), as well as on Langacker (1987, 1991), the
recovering and revitalizing of the concepts type and token reference are
suggested as key principles for identifying the respective domains of the
Spanish Present Perfect and the Spanish Simple Past in the studied area.
The Perfect, through type reference, makes an assertion of a situation as a
representation of the class-type of the verbal semantics. The Simple Past,
however, through token reference conceptualizes the situation as having
explicit or implicit anchoring in the chronological axis of time. Three
main kinds of contexts occur typically with the Perfect in the samples:
detemporalized ascertainment, summary (in a broad sense of the word) and
aspectual complexity. All three kinds of contexts refer to situations with
temporal vagueness, moving away from the dominion of concretization as
their basic meaning.

The analyses demonstrate that the Chilean and Uruguayan dialects are the
dialects in that order that show a greater usage of the Perfect, whereas
the Paraguayan dialect proves to be considerably restrictive. The
classification of the samples revealed that Perfect usage of Chile and
Uruguay had a more even internal distribution of the values, whereas the
samples of Paraguay yielded nearly 50% of the Perfects in aspectual
complexity contexts.

It is further claimed that Langacker's (1987, 1991, 1999) concept of
summary scanning, i.e. the schematic and holistic conceptualization of the
development of a given situation, whose different facets are obtainable in
a cumulative fashion and is typical for non-finite verb forms, plays a
vital part in the pragmaticalization of the Perfect. The analysis disclosed
that informants could take a discursive advantage of the complex nature of
this tense, granting a greater rhetorical weight to the Perfect that
contains a certain quota of summary scanning.

In line with Howe & Schwenter (2008) and Schwenter & Torres Cacoullos
(2008), the present thesis shows that the studied dialects privilege Simple
Past as the default form for past time reference and preserve Perfect for
more specific and narrow meanings. This indicates that the perfect tenses
in Spanish have followed (and are following) different developmental paths
that are not necessarily restricted to the same sequences and mode of
grammaticalization.



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