En meningsløs norsk perfektum i kontrafaktiske kondisjonalsetninger


  • Atle Grønn ILOS, University of Oslo




The paper explores the temporal organization of counterfactual conditionals with focus on the perfect auxiliary `ha’ (= `have’) in Norwegian. Data from the Oslo Multilingual Corpus suggest that languages like English, German and French are more well-behaved at the syntax-semantics interface when it comes to the use of the (past) perfect in counterfactuals. Indeed, in all Indo-European languages `have-/be-’ in the antecedent of past counterfactuals will typically be semantically empty. However, in Scandinavian the perfect is ambiguous all over the place in counterfactual conditionals. In fact, the temporal auxiliary can optionally be absent in the overt syntax, or it may be overtly expressed but interpreted as identity in the semantics or it can have its expected meaning as a backward shifter. In the latter case, the backward shift can outscope the bare conditional (genuine past counterfactuals) or take local scope inside the antecedent or consequent.

Author Biography

Atle Grønn, ILOS, University of Oslo

Researcher, Russian linguistics