Problem with Tense
|From:||Jeffrey Jones <jsjonesmiami@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, December 9, 2007, 23:17|
I've been trying to figure out the best way of translating, "That was a cat."
into MNCL5. I have three possibilities. Assume that nic-, glossed as 3I-DEM,
can mean that/those, there, is there etc. depending on what kind of ending it
has. SCT means Subordinate Clause Terminator. TNS means tenseless.
(1) Ya nicek da katen.
REL-PAT.SG 3I-DEM-PST SCT-PAT.SG cat-TNS
(2) Nic'ha katen.
(3) Nica katek.
(1) uses a relative clause and is the most precise, but is rather long. A more
literal translation might be, "What was there is a cat."
(2) uses a retrospective participle instead of a relative clause. The problem
with this is that the retrospective, at least outside of participles and verbal
nouns, requires that the time of the prior event be non-specific, while here a
specific past time is implied.
(3) is probably the first that would occur to a native English speaker. Nic- isn't
marked to indicate past or retrospective since tense is relative to that of the
verb (yes, "cat" acts like a verb in these examples). However, by using a
tense marker other than -en, it suggests that the cat might shape-shift into