Chapter published in:Perfects in Indo-European Languages and Beyond
Edited by Robert Crellin and Thomas Jügel
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 352] 2020
► pp. 616–633
The perfect in context in texts in English, Sistani Balochi and New Testament Greek
English and Sistani Balochi are tense-prominent languages, and use the perfect mainly to elaborate on an existing topic by referring to a past state of affairs that is of relevance to that topic. English perfects also introduce new topics that the speaker wishes to address, while Balochi uses perfects with a mirative to introduce entities to a narrative and as a forward-pointing device in orienters that introduce reported speeches. New Testament Greek is aspect-prominent, which partly explains why English translates some Greek aorists (perfectives) with perfects. The Greek perfect often introduces restatements of past events or speeches. In passages with aorist-perfect alternation, it is also used in a marked way with added implicatures. Towards the end of a passage, assertions in the perfect often clinch the argument and/or are climactic. Near the beginning of a narrative passage, in contrast, the perfect, as in Balochi, is a forward-pointing device, highlighting what follows.
Keywords: Tense- versus Aspect-prominent, Default versus marked usages
Published online: 23 September 2020
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