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Re: erg/abs; verbs.

From:Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Saturday, March 18, 2000, 22:30
Nik Taylor wrote:

> > So unless you have a justification, I'm not sure Perfect could be a tense. > > It can be classified as a tense in the context of the language, however, > just as it is in Latin.
Well, it can be classified as a "tense", but not as a tense, if you get my drift. Latin originally only had aspectual distinctions, like PIE. After some centuries, the perfective aspect and the aorist aspect conflated, leaving only the progressive aspect (present tense) as a distinct aspect. Later, an imperfect was reassembled out of spare parts -- from *bheu-, "be" -- leaving a system that was primarily based on tense, though having some aspectual elements left to it. The fact that tense and aspect were being used in the same form (or, to put it another way, aspect and tense were not rigorously distinguished) totally went over the heads of the ancient grammarians, who consequently called the forms "tense". So, when we speak of Latin's "imperfect tense" etc., we are not really speaking of tense, per se, but of the abstract category handed down to us called "tense". That having been said, the term "perfect" could be used to describe tense- based forms, though an explicit notice that the term denotes tense, and not aspect, would be more or less necessary to avoid confusion. With that hassle, it might be better to avoid the problem entirely and just call it "past" or whatever the term means within the context of your grammar. =========================================== Tom Wier <artabanos@...> "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero." ===========================================