Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Le(s) passé(s) surcomposé(s): temps, aspect, subjectivité

Sthioul, Bertrand

In: Revue Tranel (Travaux neuchâtelois de linguistique), 2006, vol. 45, p. 115-132

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    The aim of this paper is to explore whether the French overcomposed past tense (passé surcomposé) has anything to do with the raise of subjective interpretations, that is, interpretations where it is necessary to represent the point of view of an allocentric subject. First, the main grammatical features of the overcomposed past in French are spelled out. Second, a discussion of the semantic literature is proposed, with an eye to diatopic variation, in particular to the usages of this form in French-speaking switzerland, where the overcomposed past is more common and endorses a wider set of semantic functions as well as a greater number of grammatical types than in standard French. It is then argued that, contrarily to what some have suggested in the literature, the overcomposed past in French cannot be analyzed as bearing subjective effects by itself.