Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: THEORY: Tenses (was: Re: THEORY: ... Auxiliaries...)

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 13, 2005, 16:18
Henrik Theiling wrote:
> PS: I'm very sure Mandarin isn't the only example of languages lacking > tense, or specifically future tense. I think Modern Japanese also > lacks tense, while Old Japanese had a past tense. The -ta is > perfect aspect as far as I know, or isn't it? >
You can certainly add Malay/Indonesian (and probably most if not all Austronesian lgs.) to the list. All tense marking is optional in casual speech; for clarity or more formally and in writing it's customary to include it, when necessary :-)), but in any case it's a matter of {adverbial/auxiliary} + main verb. Past and perfect/pluperfect can both be indicated with _sudah_ 'already'; _dulu_ 'formerly, once' clearly indicates only past. Future can be formed unambiguously with _akan_ (actually a preposition meaning 'about, concerning') "akan datang" 'will come', or with _mau_ 'want' (which is ambiguous as to "will Verb" or "want to Verb"); _Akan_ can be combined, in very formal (perhaps Westernized) writing with sudah to create a "future perfect": "sudah akan datang" 'will have come'.