We would cordially invite you to attend the guest lecture by Dr. Martín Fuchs, Utrecht University (PhD Yale University) on 'Integrating parallel corpora and experimental research in crosslinguistic tense-aspect semantics: a multi-pronged approach to the Perfect' taking place on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022, at 12:15 pm in building A2 2, room 1.20.2.
The present perfect puzzle states that the (English) Present Perfect cannot combine with an adverbial referring to the past, so that the Simple Past has to be used instead. Yet many other languages (French, Italian, German, Dutch) do allow their corresponding Perfect markers to combine with past referring adverbials, showing that this constraint does not hold crosslinguistically if we take a form-based perspective to Perfect-Past variation. Moreover, other languages such as (Peninsular) Spanish appear to reflect an intermediate point in its availability to combine with past-referring temporal adverbials, since past adverbials closely related to speech time (e.g., this month) can combine with the Spanish Perfect marker, but more temporally distant adverbials cannot (e.g., last year).
In this talk, I present results from two data-driven methods that provide evidence for the role of both temporal deixis and hodiernality in the crosslinguistic distribution of Perfect and (Perfective) Past markers in English and Spanish. The Translation Mining methodology –a parallel corpora-based approach together with annotation and analysis tools– provides the initial steps in identifying the dimensions of variability in Perfect-(Perfective) Past distribution across Western European languages. An experimental acceptability judgment task confirms the reliability of the first approach, and allows to arrive at a more fine-grained level of distinction of the variables at play in the languages under study, where not only hodiernality and deixis play a role, but specifics about whether adverbs are linked to the day of utterance by either including it (e.g., this month) or being included in it (e.g., this morning) are also relevant.