The Perfect in dialogue
Evidence from Dutch
We investigate the use of the perfect in dialogue in Dutch and – for comparison – report on data from Dutch narrative discourse as well as on data from both registers in English. Our approach is corpus-based with data drawn from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and its translation to Dutch. Our data reveal that the Dutch perfect is sensitive to the dialogue/narrative discourse distinction and competes with the past in dialogue along the event/state distinction. This is in line with earlier findings by Boogaart (1999) and de Swart (2007) and lays the foundation for an analysis of the perfect in which we bridge the gap between the English/dialogue oriented literature (Portner 2003; Nishiyama & Koenig 2010) and the variationist/narrative discourse oriented literature (de Swart 2007; Schaden 2009).
Keywords: perfect, variation, past, dialogue, narrative discourse