The Vietnamese Perfect: A Compositional Analysis

in Cross-Linguistic Perspectives on the Semantics of Grammatical Aspect

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Abstract

In spite of its apparent simplicity, the Vietnamese perfect marker đã expresses a complex set of temporal and aspectual properties. We propose an integrated syntactic account, in which đã is analysed compositionally as underspecified anterior marker which inherits its tense-related properties as a function of different points of syntactic merger. This account is shown to explain some of the seemingly contradictory effects that previous accounts, including traditional accounts were unable to handle.