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Lili - Heft 113

Thema: Das deutsche Perfekt

Herausgeber dieses Heftes:
Wolfgang Klein und Renate Musan


Wolfgang Klein und Renate Musan
Einleitung - Introduction

Manfred Bierwisch
Das deutsche Perfekt: Syntax, Morphologie, Semantik
The German Perfect: syntax, morphology, semantics

Renate Musan
Die Lesarten des Perfekts - The readings of the perfect

Wolfgang Klein
Wie sich das deutsche Perfekt zusammensetzt
How the German perfect is composed

Arnim von Stechow
Partizip und Perfekt im Deutschen - Participle and perfect in German

Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen
»Moody time«. Indikativ und Konjunktiv im deutschen Tempussystem
»Moody time«. Indicate and subjunctive in the German tense system


Oliver Jahraus
Unterkomplexe Applikation. Ein kritisches Resümee zur literaturwissenschaftlichen Rezeption der Systemtheorie
Subcomplex application. The reception of system theory in literary studies - a critical appraisal

Ewa Zebrowska
Relikte eines mitteldeutschen Dialekts im Ermland (Warmia). Eine Probe der schriftlich aufgezeichneten Mundart von Lidzbark Warminski
Relics of a middle German dialect in the Ermland (Warmia). A sample of the written recordings of the Lidzbark Warminski dialect



Renate Musan

Die Lesarten des Perfekts*
The Readings of the Present Perfect in German

The present perfect in German displays a large variety of readings, which are a challenge to any account of the construction. Based on a uniform semantics for the present perfect, it is argued that the different readings are due to a set of well-defined principles and mechanisms that are mainly of a pragmatic nature. More specifically, both the situation time of the resultant-state of the verb and the situation time of the verb itself are associated with frame times, each of which can be assigned topical status or not. Moreover, they can get time values by a variety of factors in the linguistic or nonlinguistic context. A pragmatic principle requires the two time intervals to differ in some relevant way so that the reference to the two distinct time intervals is licensed by informativity. Finally, there is a strong tendency to align the duration of situation times and their time frames. The possible interactions of these principles and mechanisms with the semantics of verbs and the semantics of the perfect construction accounts for the variety of readings that perfect constructions can have.


Wolfgang Klein

Wie sich das deutsche Perfekt zusammensetzt
The Composition of the German Perfect.

Four components contribute to the meaning of the morphologically and syntactially complex form traditionally called "Perfekt" in German. These are (a) the underlying verb lexeme, (b) the morphological marking of the 'past participle', (c) the addition of the verb stem sei- or hab-, and (d) the finiteness marking of this verb stem. It is shown that each of the last three components makes a constant contribution to the entire construction, and that the meaning of the Perfekt, including its notorious ambiguity between a 'present perfect reading' and a 'simple past reading', follow from this analysis.


Arnim von Stechow

Eine erweiterte ExtendedNow-theorie für Perfekt und Futur
An extended ExtendedNow theory of perfect and future.

It is argued that the German present perfect can be best analyzed by an extended-now-theory in the spirit of McCoard (1978); the future tense is treated in a similar fashion. It is claimed that the German present perfect locates the situation time of the VP within a time interval that is given by the perfect auxiliary haben/sein and reaches from some lexically or contextually given limit in the past up to the reference time. Two main readings of the present perfect construction are dealt with, the universal perfect and the existential perfect. Their distribution is determined by adverbs of quantification that can be overt or phonetically empty.


The German tense-mood system encodes the location of situations with regard to three dimensions - time, world, and (speaker) perspective. It is shown that the system is not semantically compositional, in particular, the semantic contribution of a particular tense form is varies with the mood it cooccurs with. Thus, the interpretation of the formal morphological category 'Praeteritum' deviates from the default interpretation of the 'Praesens' in general, but the precise nature of the deviation is only determined in combination with its mood. In indicative clauses it expresses deviation in the temporal dimension; in subjunctive clauses it expresses deviation from the speaker's perspective, taking over the perspective of some other individual, or from the actual world. Perfect constructions, however, invariably express anteriority with respect to their corresponding simple tense forms. Hence, they provide the possibility to express anteriority in subjunctive clauses.