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Past & future( was: Romula: tense system - request for comments)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Sunday, January 9, 2000, 10:59
At 6:42 pm -0500 8/1/00, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Raymond Brown wrote:
>> Yes, particularly if you stray into the odd by-ways and find things like a >> preterite in Catalan formed by 'to go' + infinitive. So that we, e.g. : >> vaig trobar un amic = I met a friend >> BUT >> vaig a trobar un amic = I am going to meet a friend :) > >Interesting! Do any forms of "to go" end in an {a},
Yes, 3rd person sing. _va_
>if so, how would >_va a_ (or whatever) be distinguished from _va_?
Good question. How does one distinguish 'va a tancar la finestra' (he is going to close the window) from 'va tancar la finestra' (he closed the window) ? I don't know. Maybe a lengthened /a/ - maybe context?? I understand the 'anar a' + infin. is not used as an alternative for the future as seems often the case in French; IIRC it tends to be used when motion is actually implied, i.e. we expect now to see him move over to the window & close it. I have read how 'vaig tancar' (literally: I go to-close) came to be used as aperiphrasis for the preterite, but I'm afraid I've forgotten the explanation. But it remains a peculiarity of Catalan. However, 'go' used a the preterite auxiliary has obviously come to be felt to be different from the full verb 'anar'; cf. the present of 'anar' and the auxiliary: PRESENT OF "ANAR" (to go) PRETERITE AUXILIARY vaig vaig vas vas (_or_ vares) va va anem vam (_or_ vàrem) aneu vau (_or_ vàreu) van van (_or_ varen) ----------------------------------------------------------- It seems strange to us who use 'go' differently that a preterite auxiliary could have evolved from 'to go'. But I'm reminded that "I'm after meeting her" has very different meanings in different dialects of English this side of the pond; to some it refers to the past (i.e. 'I have met her') and to others it has a future meaning ('I want to meet her'/ 'I am trying to meet her'). "I'm after meeting her" has long been noted in Irish English & in some Scots varieties as meaning "I have met her"; it reflects the use of 'after' plus the verb-noun in Gaelic. (BTW exectly the samr construction is used in Welsh but AFAIK the construction does in occur in AngloWelsh.) When I returned to the south east of England just over 10 years ago after my 22 years sojourn in Wales, I was surprised to hear people saying things like "I'm after meeting her". I simply do not recall hearing such phrases before I left the south east. At first I assumed they were past in meaning like the Celtic forms, but soon learnt that they had future meanings! Strange. I wonder if it is more common than I thought that phrases or forms one language or dialect uses for the past has a future meaning in a related language or dialect. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================