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Doctoral dissertation project of Lukas Müller

The Spanish and the Portuguese Present Perfect in Discourse (working title)

Not only in philosophy, cognitive sciences and physics but also in the study of natural language, the concept of time plays a crucial role. When speakers produce utterances, they are able to refer to past, present and future on an imaginary timeline. Moreover, they are able to establish complex relationships between bounded and unbounded eventualities and intervals on that timeline, such as anteriority, simultaneity or posteriority. In order to do so, natural language provides several strategies, commonly studied in linguistics within the domain of tense and aspect (in discourse).

My project is particularly dedicated to the portuguese (tem sido) and spanish (ha sido) Present Perfect. Altough Portuguese and Spanish are two closely related languages, the Pretérito Perfeito Composto and the Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto display diverging meanings. The goal of the project is to propose a comparative description of the meaning and function of these tense forms by taking into account two spanish and two portuguese varieties. In fact, both tense forms have already gained a lot of attention in the literature, however, their discursive functions remain unclear. The notion of prominence, as it is proposed by the Collobarative Research Center Prominence in Language (http://sfb1252.uni-koeln.de), is considered to offer new perspectives in order to understand how the present perfect contributes to the temporal and aspectual structure in discourse.

 

Short biography

Lukas Müller (*1991) studied General Linguistics and Portugues Philology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz. He wrote his BA-thesis (2015) on pseudo-reflexive pronouns in European and Brazilian Portuguese. He studies General Linguistics at the University of Köln. In his MA-thesis (2017), he proposed a classification of the readings of the Portuguese Present Perfect. Since 01/2017, he has been a member of project C02 - Tense and Aspect in Discourse in the CRC 1252 Prominence in Language (Principal Investigator of project C02: Prof. Dr. Martin Becker). Since 03/2018, he has been a doctoral student in the Integrated Track.

 

Cover photo: Past, Present, Future. Credit: http://www.pexels.com/de/foto/abstrakt-alphabet-anordnung-art-459846/ // Portrait photo: Patric Fouad