Temporal adverbials and the present perfect/past tense alternation

Faculty/Professorship: English and Historical Linguistics  
Author(s): Werner, Valentin  
Title of the Journal: English world-wide : a journal of varieties of English
ISSN: 0172-8865
Publisher Information: Amsterdam [u.a.] : Benjamins
Year of publication: 2013
Volume: 34
Issue: 2
Pages: 202-240
Language(s): English
URL: http://benjamins.com/#catalog/journals/eww.34.2...
Specification by certain temporal adverbials has been shown to be one of the typical triggers of the present perfect in British English. Often, however, L2 varieties display different patterns of temporal co-occurrence, especially using the simple past tense. This study is based on corpus data from twelve components of the International Corpus of English and analyzes the distribution between present perfect and past tense for a number of co-occurring temporal adverbials. In addition, it establishes three measures of similarity across the varieties (hierarchical cluster analysis, phylogenetic networks and a distribution-based measure). On the basis of 6 353 adverbials in total, this paper suggests (1) that there is a L1–L2 divide, (2) that the difference between “traditional” and “transplanted” L1 varieties is less pronounced, (3) that L2 varieties allow more variation, which indicates that in these varieties, the present perfect is partly used as a tense (sensu Quirk et al. 1985), and (4) that some temporal adverbials are less categorically attached to either present perfect or past tense than others. Finally, some conclusions with regard to the importance of geographical and socio-cultural proximity of certain varieties can be drawn.
Keywords: simple past tense, present perfect, cluster analysis, temporal adverbials, variation, International Corpus of English, phylogenetic networks, aspect, tense
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/1591
Year of publication: 5. June 2013