Real tense and real aspect in mirativity

Teresa Torres Bustamante


The goal of this paper is an account of the role of tense and aspect in mirative constructions in Spanish. I propose that the past tense morphology and the imperfect/perfect morphology in Spanish miratives contribute their standard meanings to the semantics of mirativity. I define mirativity as the clash between the speaker’s previous beliefs and the current state of affairs asserted by the proposition. I propose a M operator that relates the speaker’s beliefs and the proposition by ranking the worlds in which the proposition doesn’t hold in the speaker’s previous beliefs as better ones. The past tense is interpreted outside the proposition, and constitutes the time argument of the modal base (doxastic domain). Aspect gets its usual interpretation in the proposition but also in the alternative propositions that order the worlds in the modal base. This way, differences regarding the imperfect mirative and the pluperfect one are accounted for. Finally, the paper also discusses stative miratives, which apparently challenge part of the analysis. I claim that these are not counter examples, but rather confirmation of the analysis, once we account for the interaction between miratives, statives and lifetime effects.


mirativity; tense; aspect; Spanish; fake past; lifetime effects; statives

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