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Re: Time

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, December 23, 2004, 18:13
On Thursday, December 23, 2004, at 05:27 , Mike Ellis wrote:

> # 1 wrote: > >> May someone be able to give me a website where I could find a grammar of >> a >> language (it can be a conlang) where there is no time like in Hopi (are >> there other languages in the family of Hopi that does it?)?
The power of urban myths ;)
> There was a discussion about Hopi's lack of time just a couple of months > ago > here. I think it turns out that the Hopi just plain ol' DO express time in > their language.
I do not know a website for Hopi, but I do have a grammar and I quote from a section titled "Tense and aspect": {======== quote ============} The term tense is used to refer to the _relative time_ an action takes place. Hopi has three tenses (1) the _unmarked_ tense is merely the verb in its basic form; (2) the _habitual_ tense adds -nwu; and (3) the _future_ tense adds -ni. The _unmarked tense_ is either _present or past_ in meaning. The _habitual tense_ refers to an action that is habitual or customary and it too may be understood as _present or past_. The _future_ signals an expectancy, usually an action that is in the _future_. Complementing the tense system is the fact that every Hopi verb either views events or conditions as transitory (an action happens, a condition sets in) (_perfective_) or as on-going (an action is continuing, a condition exists)(_Imperfective_). Perfective and imperfective are different aspects of a verb. Usually the translation of the verb in the Vocabulary will be enough for you to understand the aspect. For _perfective_ verbs, the _unmarked_ tense is necessarily construed as _past_ and the _habitual_ corresponds to the present tense (though it too - depending on context - may refer to the past). And the _future_ is _future_ in meaning. _Pam pitu_ He arrived. _Pam taavok pitu_ He arrived yesterday. _Pam Sátutit ep pítungwu_ He usually comes/used to come on Saturday. _Pam pay pu' qa pítungwu_ He does not usually come any more. _Pam qaavo pítuni_ "He will arrive/arrives tomorrow. For _imperfective_ verbs, both the _unmarked_ tense and the _habitual_ tense are _either present or past_ depending upon context. And the _future_, again, is _future_ in meaning. _Pam laalayi_ He is/was herding. _Pam taavok laalayi_ He was herding yesterday. _Pam qaavo laalayni_ He will be hearding tomorrow. {========= end quote ==========================} It seems that in Hopi, as in many languages, including European languages, tense and aspect are bound up together. I understand that in their earliest forms the Semitic languages did not differentiate tense but only aspect. Certainly modern Chinese has no formal tense markers, relying upon context to determine tense; it does, however, have _aspect_ suffixes thus: -le which denotes completed action -guo which denotes actions that have taken place once in the relative past -zhe which denotes actions of relatively long duration. The verb may, and often is, unmarked as regards aspect in modern Chinese. If by "a language ... where there is no time", #1 means a language where there are no formal tense distinctions, he should look at modern Chinese, not Hopi. Ray =============================================== =============================================== Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]