Revisiting the 'present perfect': Semantic analysis of Andean colonial documents

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The present perfect (PP) exhibits great variation in use, while concurrently following the same general evolutionary path across languages. The Spanish PP is no exception, with some varieties being more conservative (. e.g. Northwestern Spain, Mexico City), than others (. e.g. Alicante, Andes). As little is known of the evolution of the PP in the Andean region - the focus of this paper - a detailed semantic analysis of perfect constructions in the Andean colonial period is presented.Judicial complaints are chosen for the analysis, as they represent controlled event-structured narratives, where the author is the complainant, and the audience is the Spanish administration. As expected, PPs are common in the description of the wrongdoing, since this section narrates events close to the experience of the complainant, that is, events that have affective charge.The analysis suggests that during this period, the PP exhibited semantic functions found in the Spanish of the time, although constrained by discourse strategies attributable to differences in the social status of individuals in colonial society. A unified development of the PP is found to have taken place during this stage of the evolution of the PP in this region, including resultative and current relevance functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Andean
  • Perfect
  • Semantic analysis
  • Spanish
  • Structured narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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