A Tense Distortion: Variation in the use of the present perfect in Spain

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1 A Tense Distortion: Variation in the use of the present perfect in Spain The University of Western Ontario In the present study, data from the Linguistic Atlas of the Iberian Peninsula (ALPI) is analyzed according to grammatical conditions such as the Past Adverb Constraint, the 24 hour Rule, Current Relevance, and Continuative Interpretation, in order to observe whether or not there is evidence of the constraints in the participants responses. The findings support the grammatical conditions for the use of the present perfect in Spain. 1 Introduction The present perfect (PrP) is particularly interesting because we may find a great deal of variation in its use throughout Spain. Brugger (2001) refers to the PrP as a verb form that looks towards the past from the point of view at the time of utterance. In order to understand this statement more fully, it is necessary to take a brief look at the origin of the form. In Vulgar Latin, the PrP was formed by combining habere in the present tense with the past participle (Schwenter 1994, Harris 1982), to express the result of a past action that continued into the present (Cartagena 1999). This past use may be compared to the current day periphrastic verbs: tener, traer, and llevar plus the participle. After the classical era, the form began to express and action that finished just before the moment of utterance or an event that had current relevance for the speaker (Cartagena 1999, Harris 1982). In present day the PrP has not changed much with regards to its formation. It is an anterior that is formed by combining the auxiliary present tense of haber with a past participle. However, its grammatical role is to situate an event or action before others in a narrative sequence (Schwenter 1994). An anterior may also express an action that has current relevance or one that began in the past but continues into the present. As the form is temporally limited, it is also considered a perfect rather than an imperfect form. The success of this study would not have been possible without the guidance and expertise of Jeff Tennant, Joyce Bruhn de Garavito, David Heap, Edward Carter and David Aldred. Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics 21: Copyright 2003

2 16 It has been argued that in languages such as Portuguese, Galician, Asturian, and Leonese, the functions of the PrP have not changed much from those that it held in Vulgar Latin (Schwenter 1994). However, other sources state that the PrP does not exist at all or at least is not used in those languages (Cartagena 1999, Núnez et al. 1986, Peréz Bouza 1996, Real Academia Galega 1994, Rodríguez Castellano 1954, Neira 1976). In these languages another perfect form, the past perfect, better known as the preterit (Pret), is used in place of the PrP to express all past perfect and present perfect actions. In contrast to this, other languages such as spoken French and Italian use the PrP for all perfective functions, both past and present (Schwenter 1994, Harris 1982). Peninsular Spanish and Catalan take a more median approach by using both the PrP and Pret. Before continuing we should note that unlike in Spanish there are two ways to form the past perfect in Catalan: the synthetic preterit and the analytic preterit (Wheeler et al. 1999). The synthetic preterit has a formation that is similar to that of Spanish whereas the analytic preterit is formed with the auxiliary anar followed by an infinitive (Yates 1975). Here we may compare the two forms for the verb perdre: Synthetic Analytic perdí vaig perdre perderes vas (vares) perdre perdé va perdre perdérem vam (vàrem) perdre perdéreu vau (vàreu) perdre perderen van (varen) perdre In written Catalan both forms are used although they differ in tone (Wheeler et al. 1999), however, in spoken Catalan, the synthetic preterit is only used in Valencia and some parts of the Baleares, while the analytic preterit is the preferred form for the rest of the Catalan speaking communities. In the results of this study we have made a distinction between the Spanish preterit and the Catalan preterit in order to better isolate the variables and acknowledge the differences between the two languages. 2 Conditions on use of the PrP Now that we have looked at the origin and the formation of the PrP we can focus our attention on the grammatical conditions put forth by Brugger (2001), such as the Past Adverb Constraint, the 24 hour Rule, Current Relevance, and Continuative Interpretation. The Past Adverb Constraint indicates that it is not acceptable to use the PrP in Catalan and Peninsular Spanish if a past adverb or adverbial phrase, such as ayer (yesterday) or anoche (last night), is present in the same sentence. Instead it would be preferable to use the Pret: 1. El invierno pasado hubo muchas lluvias (ALPI, L373) Last winter there was a lot of rain

3 A Tense Distortion: Variation in the use of the present perfect in Spain 17 However, if the adverb refers to an event or action that occurred in the same day as the time of utterance it is acceptable to use the PrP in both Spanish and Catalan because it falls under the condition of the 24 hour Rule (Brugger 2001, Wheeler et al. 1999): 2. Hoy ha hecho viento todo el día (ALPI, L379) Today it has been windy all day The utterance falls under the condition of Current Relevance if the action began in the past but is relevant at speech time. The event may have occurred any time before the time of utterance, whether it be a moment before or a week before. If it occurred within the same day as the speech time, it also falls under the 24 hour Rule. Current Relevance also refers to events that have occurred during a period of time that includes the present. These utterances may include adverbial phrases such as esta tarde (this afternoon), esta semana (this week), este año (this year), siempre (always), nunca (never), todavía (still) and ya (yet): 3. Has barrido ya? (ALPI, L384) Have you swept yet? 4. Ha estat sempre molt bona persona amb mi (Wheeler et al. 1999: 358) *[She] has been always a good person with me When the action began or stopped occurring in the past and the situation continues into the present it has Continuative Interpretation. According to Wheeler et al. (1999), in this instance Catalan grammar prefers the use of the present tense: 5. Se celebra a Londres des del 1895 (Wheeler et al. 1999: 358) *One celebrates in London since 1895 In Spanish, however, both the PrP and the present tense are used for this condition. Often the PrP is preferred for negative phrases while positive phrases take the present tense, although both are acceptable: 7. Hace tres años que no lo veo (ALPI, L374) *Since three years ago I do not see him 8. Hace años que le veo todos los días (Butt and Benjamin 1988: 211) *Since years ago I see him every day 9. Hace años que no te he visto (Butt and Benjamin 1988: 211) *Since years ago I have not seen him We may also find combinations of the conditions in the same phrase. An event may have occurred the same day as the speech time, have current relevance and continuative interpretation: 6. Hace cinco años que no me habla y por eso empiezo a enfadarme (Author s example)

4 18 * Since five years ago he does not speak to me and for that I am beginning to get angry The objectives of this study are to see if the above mentioned conditions are evident in the responses given by the participants. We intend to observe whether or not the participants follow the conditions of the use of the PrP when they respond to the items given by the investigator. We also intend to study the influence of the regional languages on the participants responses. 3 Methodology This study analyzes the items from Notebook I of the ALPI 1 where the factors correspond to the grammatical conditions previously discussed: Past Adverb Constraint, the 24 hour Rule, Current Relevance and Continuative Interpretation. A total of 21 lines are examined: Line No. Item Semantic Factors 306 Lo trajo anteayer Past Adverb Constraint 307 Escribió trasanteayer Past Adverb Constraint 328 Se ha puesto nublado Current Relevance 329 El cura ha bendecido los ramos Current Relevance 342 Os han engañado Current Relevance 358 El pan se le ha repartido a los pobres Current Relevance 373 El invierno pasado hubo muchas lluvias Past Adverb Constraint 374 Hace tres años que no lo veo Continuative Interpretation 375 Ayer volví temprano Past Adverb Constraint 376 Anoche llegó Felipe Past Adverb Constraint 377 Anteanoche vinieron los mozos Past Adverb Constraint 378 He bailado toda esta tarde 24 hour Rule, Current Relevance 379 Hoy ha hecho viento todo el día 24 hour Rule, Current Relevance 380 Este verano no ha hecho calor Current Relevance, Continuative Interpretation 381 Esta noche hemos bajado tarde 24 hour Rule, Current Relevance 382 Ayer han salido los pastores Past Adverb Constraint 383 Anteayer ha nevado bastante Past Adverb Constraint 384 Has barrido ya? Current Relevance 385 A qué hora has llegado? Current Relevance 395 Desde que nací no vi otra cosa igual Continuative Interpretation 405 Ha mejorado la señora Maria? Current Relevance Table 1 In order to separate the variables, line 395 is divided into 395a and 395b because of the presence of the two verbs (nací and v i). The chosen items from Notebook I were studied for all the regions of the Peninsula, including Rossellón in France because it contains a Catalan speech community, but excluding all of Portugal because of the absence of the PrP in 1 For more information on the ALPI and the collection of the data see Heap (2002).

5 A Tense Distortion: Variation in the use of the present perfect in Spain 19 Portuguese (Nunes et al. 1986). Although the PrP is not used in Galician, Galicia is included in the study so that we may observe if there is regional variation due to the influence of Spanish in the neighbouring provinces. After accumulating the data for the 441 notebooks, we analyze the data by applying a frequency calculation by line to each variable (each verb form and combinations of forms). The frequency calculation is performed for the entire group, as well as to the three areas that were divided by the original investigators: the Galician area, the Castilian area, and the Catalan-Valencian area [see Map 1]. The original ALPI project covered 527 locations. However, due to time constraints it was only possible to interview one participant in each place (Navarro Tomás 1975). The participants themselves were chosen according to the following criteria: if they were between forty and sixty years of age, illiterate, and if they had not travelled outside of their town. The objective was to obtain data that represented popular spoken languages from small, older towns. Although little documentation has been written on the methodology of the ALPI, we do know that the investigators asked the participants how they would say the item or word in their own language. We can only suppose that the investigators translated the items into the participants spoken variety when they were not Spanish speakers. 4 Results In this section we intend to verify if the grammatical conditions for the use of the PrP addressed in the introduction are supported by the participants responses. In order to display the results clearly they are presented in tables in three forms: combined results from areas A (Galicia), B (Castilian), and C (Catalan-Valencian); isolated results from area B; and isolated results from area C. Isolated results from Galicia have been omitted due to the complete absence of the use of the PrP in that region. The tables show the chosen line from the Notebook I, the percentage of the total responses with the PrP, the percentage of the total responses with the Pret, and the third column of data shows the total sum of the first two columns for that line. In the tables that isolate the results from area C there are four columns of data: the percentage of the total responses with the PrP, the same calculation of the total responses with the Pret, the percentage of the total responses with the analytic preterit, and the last column shows the sum of the percentages for the corresponding line.

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7 A Tense Distortion: Variation in the use of the present perfect in Spain 21 Results from areas A, B and C 373 El invierno pasado hubo muchas lluvias Escribió trasanteayer Lo trajo anteayer Anteayer ha nevado bastante Anteanoche vinieron los mozos Ayer volví temprano Ayer han salido los pastores Anoche llegó Felipe Table 2 Past Adverb Constraint 379 Hoy ha hecho viento todo el día He bailado toda esta tarde Esta noche hemos bajado tarde Table 3 The 24 hour Rule The results from Tables 2 and 3 support the Past Adverb Constraint and the 24 hour Rule. Aside from area A, and Leon and Asturias in area B, there is a dominant use of the PrP with the adverbs and adverbial phrases that fall under the condition of the 24 hour Rule: hoy (today), esta tarde (this afternoon), and esta noche (tonight). As mentioned previously, the PrP form is not used in Galician, Leonese and Asturian. Isolated Results: area B 373 El invierno pasado hubo muchas lluvias Escribió trasanteayer Lo trajo anteayer Anteayer ha nevado bastante Anteanoche vinieron los mozos Ayer volví temprano Ayer han salido los pastores Anoche llegó Felipe Table 4 Past Adverb Constraint

8 Hoy ha hecho viento todo el día He bailado toda esta tarde Esta noche hemos bajado tarde Table 5 The 24 hour Rule When we isolate the results from area B in Tables 4 and 5 we can see that there is a greater percentage of responses with the PrP for the lines which used the PrP with a past adverb: Anteayer ha nevado bastante and Ayer han salido los pastores. Given the fact that some of the participants change the sentence they hear from the PrP to the Pret provides evidence for the validity of the test. It shows that the participants did not simply accept the sentences as provided by the researcher.. These tables also show a clear temporal division between anoche (last night) and hoy (today), which further supports the 24 hour Rule. Isolated Results: area C % PrP Pret PA Total 373 El invierno pasado hubo muchas lluvias Escribió trasanteayer Lo trajo anteayer Anteayer ha nevado bastante Anteanoche vinieron los mozos Ayer volví temprano Ayer han salido los pastores Anoche llegó Felipe Table 6 Past Adverb Constraint % PrP Pret PA Total 379 Hoy ha hecho viento todo el día He bailado toda esta tarde Esta noche hemos bajado tarde Table 7 The 24 hour Rule The results in Table 6 are similar to those shown in Table 4 for area B as they show a greater percentage of responses for the items given in the PrP. The 24 hour Rule is clearly supported in Table 7 as there is a categorical percentage of the use of the PrP.

9 A Tense Distortion: Variation in the use of the present perfect in Spain 23 Results from areas A, B and C 328 Se ha puesto nublado Os han engañado El cura ha bendecido los ramos El pan se le[s] ha repartido a los pobres Este verano no ha hecho calor A qué hora has llegado? Has barrido ya? Ha mejorado la señora Maria? Table 8 Current Relevance The first four lines in Table 8 suggest that the event has happened recently, which is due to the presence of the PrP. Se ha puesto nublado gives the sensation that the action has just happened. This raises the question of whether or not the results would have been the same if the items were given in the Pret. The lack of a temporal adverb allows the participant to provide his own interpretation. Este verano no ha hecho calor has Current Relevance due to the presence of the deictic este (this), which implies that este verano includes the moment of utterance. It could also be interpreted another way. It may be the case that it is grape harvest time in the autumn and a farmer is still feeling the consequences of the cool summer. Line 384 Has barrido ya? contain the time expression ya (yet), that naturally take the PrP (Carter 2003). The question A qué hora has llegado? also suggests that the person arrived recently during the same day as the speech time. Isolated Results: area B 328 Se ha puesto nublado Os han engañado El cura ha bendecido los ramos El pan se le[s] ha repartido a los pobres Este verano no ha hecho calor A qué hora has llegado? Has barrido ya? Ha mejorado la señora Maria? Table 8 Current Relevance

10 24 Table 8 shows little variation in the lines that contain the Pret because the results do not vary more than a few percentages, as the responses are between 15-20%. From a closer geographical analysis we know that the participants who responded with the Pret are located in Asturias and Leon, and do not use the PrP in their speech (Carter 2003). Line 405 has fewer responses overall with the PrP and the Pret as many of the participants gave responses that were not applicable in this study. Isolated Results: area C % PrP Pret PA Total 328 Se ha puesto nublado Os han engañado El cura ha bendecido los ramos El pan se le[s] ha repartido a los pobres Este verano no ha hecho calor A qué hora has llegado? Has barrido ya? Ha mejorado la señora Maria? Table 9 Current Relevance Unlike the results from area B, after isolating the results for area C in Table 9, a categorical use of the PrP may be observed. As for the different results for line 405, again we should note that the responses here were not useful for the study as they did not include the PrP, the Pret, or the analytic preterit. Results from areas A, B and C 374 Hace tres años que no lo veo a Desde que nací b no vi otra cosa igual Table 10 Continuative Interpretation Isolated Results: area B 374 Hace tres años que no lo veo a Desde que nací b no vi otra cosa igual Table 11 Continuative Interpretation

11 A Tense Distortion: Variation in the use of the present perfect in Spain 25 Isolated Results: area C % PrP Pret PA Total 374 Hace tres años que no lo veo a Desde que nací b no vi otra cosa igual Table 12 Continuative Interpretation The two items that have Continuative Interpretation are presented in Tables 10, 11, and 12, although the two lines differ in that L374 does not contain the PrP nor the Pret. A further analysis of the results in Table 10 shows that 45.22% responded with the present tense (Carter 2003), most of whom were situated in the Castilian area rather than the Catalan-Valencian area as would be expected (see Wheeler et al. 1999). The second item as a complete phrase, Desde que nací no vi otra cosa igual, also has a Continuative Interpretation, although we have divided it into two parts in order to better calculate the results. It falls under this condition because the moment began at birth and continues into the present. Unlike the results for line 374 from area C, here the responses were given in the PrP, Pret, analytic preterit, and also the pluperfect form, and not a single use of the present tense (Carter 2003). If we look at all of the results in terms of regional varieties obvious patterns emerge. In the east of the Peninsula, there are no compound tenses in Galician, Asturian and Leonese, and therefore no PrP, which is clearly supported by the results. As for Spanish and Catalan, there are similar conditions for the use of the PrP, aside from some cases of Continuative Interpretation. The claim made by Wheeler et al. (1999) that in Catalan one would use the present tense is not fully supported by the data. 5 Summary and Conclusions The findings in this study support the conditions proposed by Brugger (2001) for the use of the PrP in Spain. The results also support the claims of Wheeler et al. (1999) regarding the PrP in Catalan, with the exception of Continuative Interpretation. When the sentence is restricted by a past adverb or adverbial phrase the participants do not use the PrP. The 24 hour Rule is also supported by the results in the Castilian and Catalan-Valencian areas as they give preference to the use of the PrP if the action has occurred in the same day as the time of utterance. This preference for the PrP is also found for the items that have Current Relevance. For the items that have Continuative Interpretation we have found mixed results. The participants gave responses with the use of the present tense, the PrP, and also the pluperfect form, depending on the area of the Peninsula. In Galicia the use of the present tense is dominant while in Catalan- Valencia there is a preference for the PrP and the pluperfect form. Both the present

12 26 and PrP forms are used throughout the Castilian area, although we can see a gradual transition from dominant use from the present tense in Galicia to the PrP in Catalan- Valencia. We acknowledge the limitations of the present study that present themselves: the ALPI data was gathered almost seventy years ago and only one participant was interviewed in each location. However, as a virtually untapped data source, the information and results within this study may serve as references for future variation and dialectology studies. References Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica Vol I Madrid: CSIC (75 mapas). Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica, unedited notebooks, Brugger, Gerhard Temporal Modification: the 24 hour rule and the location of reference time, in Current Issues in Spanish Syntax and Semantics. J. Gutiérrez- Rexach and L. Silva-Villar, eds. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter Butt, John and Carmen Benjamin A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish. London: Edward Arnold. Cartagena, Nelson Los tiempos compuestos, in Gramática Descriptiva de la Lengua Española Vol. II. I. Bosque and V. Demonte, eds. Madrid: Espasa Calpe Carter, Diana Variación en el uso del presente perfecto en España. London:The University of Western Ontario. Harris, Martin The Past Simple and the Present Perfect in Romance, in Studies in the Romance Verb. N. Vincent and M. Harris, eds. London: Nigel Vincent and Martin Harris Heap, David Segunda noticia histórica del ALPI (a los cuarenta años de la publicación de su primer tomo), in Revista de filología española LXXXII:1-2. Madrid Navarro Tomás, Tomás Noticia histórica del ALPI, in Capítulos de geografía lingüística. Bogota: I. Caro y Cuervo Neira, Jesús El bable estructura e historia. Asturias: Ayalga Ediciones, Nunes, Carmen, M. Luisa Oliveira and M. Leonor Sardina. Nova gramática de português. Lisbon: Didáctica Editora. Peréz Bouza, José A El gallego. Munich: Lincom Europa. Real Academia Galega Normas ortográficas e morfológicas do idioma galego. La Coruña: Instituto da Lengua Galega, Real Academia Galega. Rodríguez Castellano, Lorenzo Aspectos del bable occidental. Asturias: Instituto de Estudios Asturianos. Schwenter, S The Grammaticalization of an Anterior in Progress: Evidence from a Peninsular Spanish Dialect, in Studies in Language Amsterdam- Philadelphia: John Benjamins Wheeler, Max, Alan Yates and Nicolau Dols Catalan: a comprehensive grammar. London-New York: Routledge. Yates, Alan Teach Yourself Catalan. Sevenoaks: Teach Yourself Books.

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