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Word Order Indicating Tense (was: my grammar)

From:Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>
Date:Thursday, December 30, 2004, 15:53
> 3: there are 3 times, represented by the word order > (I can't see a linguistic possibility and waste it by giving a stric or a > free word-order) > > VSO is the past > SVO is the present > SOV is the futur >
Tense is differentiated only by word order? Is there any case marking on the arguments? If not then this could be completely confusing, especially if you allow the dropping of arguments, or there are verbs which can be either transitive or intransitive. For instance, "cook" and "see" in English can be transitive or intransitive. Imagine english worked like this. Then: he see the man cook chicken Is this: he sees the man, the chicken cooked or: he sees, the man cooks the chicken This isn't a very good example, but still.... also, for intransitive verbs the difference between the present and future in neutralized. If on the other hand you are marking case, then at least one of the arguments much have something in addition, either an adposition or a case marker with it, and if this is so why not merely add something to the verb to directly mark tense and then fix the word order? I'm not saying this idea is completely unworkable, but it seems to me that having word order mark both grammatical role and tense is overloading things a little. If the role of the NP is marked in some other way then it's not too bad but still possibly confusing. Of course, there are Monster Raving Loony langs which don't provide any helpful distinguishing of S and O at all, and there are many langs which don't grammaticize tense, so I guess the system is possible. But I'd expect there to be relatively frequent insertions of temporal adverbs especially to clarify what the intended meaning was in your system.


# 1 <salut_vous_autre@...>