Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages and Cultures

First Advisor

John Sundquist

Committee Member 1

Jennifer M Williams

Committee Member 2

Jeff Turco


The purpose of this study is to understand the meaning of the present perfect in Modern German and also, to trace its development in the early stages of German. Therefore, the synchronic analysis, in which I analyze articles from a famous German magazine, is combined with the diachronic study of the present perfect attestations in Old High German and Middle High German. This study is conducted within a Complexity-Theory and Emergent Grammar approach in which languages are viewed as dynamic system that changes over time, and grammar is seen as an epiphenomenon and a result of communicative needs among speakers.