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ERIC Number: ED112637
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Meanings and Distribution of the Perfect in Present-Day American English Prose.
Dubois, Betty Lou
This paper explores the meanings and distribution of the perfect in contemporary American English prose, with reference to problems encountered in teaching English as a second language. The English perfect comprises forms traditionally called present perfect tense, past perfect tense, and perfects of the infinitive, gerund and present participle. All forms have a tense function: to situate the action or state conveyed by the lexical verb in a time period which begins before and extends to a point of reference that varies depending on the perfect form in question. Each instance of the perfect conveys one of three secondary meanings: single action, iteration, continuation. This meaning depends partly on the nature of the lexical verb and partly on context. The verification of this theory of meaning of the American English perfect and a study of its distribution in contemporary writing are accomplished by use of the Standard Corpus of Present-Day American English. Instances of the perfect from approximately 300,000 words, or 30 percent of the Corpus are extracted with 10 words of context from either side, analyzed for meaning, and the distribution of the various forms in written American English is determined. (Author/CLK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A