Re: THEORY: Temporal Auxiliaries, Aspectual Auxiliaries, Modal Auxiliaries
|From:||Jeffrey Jones <jsjonesmiami@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, July 5, 2005, 19:10|
On Tue, 5 Jul 2005 10:07:13 -0700, Tom Chappell <tomhchappell@...>
> Hello. Yes, it's me again, with another theory question.
> [AUXILIARY VERBS VS LEXICAL VERBS]
> Many linguists classify some verbs as "auxiliary verbs" and others as
> "lexical verbs" or "content verbs".
> Verbs in many languages are inflected for one or more of Tense, Aspect,
> and/or Mood or Mode.
> In some cases where an auxiliary verb is used with a lexical verb, the
> lexical verb is not inflected for one or more of the TMA categories; and
> the main reason for using the auxiliary verb, is that it carries the
> inflection for whichever TMA category the lexical verb is not inflected
In a couple of my conlang projects, I have a marker that makes any content
verb into an auxiliary (if it makes sense). I don't know if I'll have any
non-content auxiliaries. This mechanism handles tense and mood auxiliaries,
evidentials and attitudinals, and some other stuff, but not aspectual
auxiliaries, which are handled using the compounding mechanism.
>If the auxiliary is there to show the Tense, which is not carried on thelexical verb, then it may reasonably be called a Temporal Auxiliary.
>Example: English's future tense is analytic or periphrastic. Lexicalverbs like "speak" cannot carry any inflection for future tense in
English. Instead, the future tense is formed by a Temporal Auxiliary,
"will" or "shall", together with the untensed content-verb.
>1) Example? The most frequently used past tense of Modern French is thecomposite past, made out of a form of the verb "avoir" and the active-
participle of the lexical verb. This is analytic or periphrastic, to be
sure, but does the "avoir" count as a Temporal Auxiliary here? I think
maybe it does not.
>[QUESTIONS ABOUT TEMPORAL AUXILIARIES]
>2) Does anyone know of any natural languages where one or more tense(s) is(preferably) always (or failing that, almost always) shown by means of a
Temporal Auxiliary verb?
>3) How about NatLangs where most tenses are so shown?
>Conlang examples would also be interesting.
>If the main reason for including the auxiliary verb in an auxiliary-and-lexical-verb construction, is to carry the Aspect inflection which will not
be carried on the main verb, that auxiliary may reasonably be called an
> [QUESTIONS ABOUT ASPECTUAL AUXILIARIES]
> It seems that Aspectual Auxiliaries ought really to be more frequent
> than Temporal Auxiliaries -- perhaps almost as frequent as Modal
> Auxiliaries -- and yet, at the moment, I can think of no examples.
> Unless, of course, in the Plus-que-Parfait (Pluperfect) in French -- in
> which the "avoir" auxiliary verb occurs in the imperfect aspect, with
> the active-participle of the main verb --- that "avoir", counts as an
> Aspectual Auxiliary.
> 4) Does anyone know of any NatLang examples with prevalent Aspectual
How about these:
"He stopped running." "Keep going." "It's starting to rain."
Note: I'm quoting the whole message because archived version doesn't line-
>If the main reason for including the Auxiliary verb in an auxiliary-and-lexical-verb combination is to have it show the Mood or Modality that is
not going to be marked on the main verb, then it might be reasonable to
call that Auxiliary verb a "Modal Auxiliary".
>In English, most auxiliaries are Modal Auxiliaries, as for example "I canspeak", "I may speak", "I would speak", "I should speak", "I might speak",
>In many languages there are situations in which a lexical verb may be usedwithout any auxiliary, in which case it carries its own TMA markings, and
others in which it must be accompanied by an auxiliary.
>5) In English, if a content verb is accompanied by an auxiliary, all ofthe TMA marking is on the auxiliary, not on the content verb. (At least,
that is often the case --- dare I say that is usually the case?)
>In some languages, IIRC Korean among them, many "verbs" are formed out ofa "light verb" plus a content-word which may have the form of some other
>If I remember correctly, two-thirds of Korean verbs have this form.
>(A "light" verb is a verb whose lexical or semantic content is "notmuch". The prime example is the English verb "do" -- this is sometimes
referred to as a "dummy" verb, the lightest of all possible verbs, carrying
no meaning other than "I am a verb".)
>If I remember correctly, there is a language or there are languages in theglobal South, (whether in Africa or South America or Australia or Oceania,
I am no longer sure), where not only are even a higher proportion (nearly
all, iirc) of the "verbs" of the above form, but the inventory of "light
verbs" is particularly few -- fewer than 5, iirc.
>6) Are all Auxiliaries necessarily Light Verbs?
>7) an anyone think of any NatLang examples where most "verbs" consist of aLight and/or Auxiliary Verb together with a "content" "word", that makes it
(the phrase) a "lexical verb"?
>8) In the above cases, what part of speech is the "content word" usually?
>9) Are all Light Verbs on their way to evolving into Auxiliaries of onekind or another?
>[QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WHOLE POST IN GENERAL]
>10) Are there NatLangs with Auxiliaries that are Temporal and Aspectualand Modal?
>11) Are there NatLangs where almost all Tense is expressed only onTemporal Auxiliaries?
>12) Are there NatLangs where almost all Aspect is expressed only onAspectual Auxiliaries?
>13) Are there NatLangs where almost all Mood or Mode is expressed only onModal Auxiliaries?
>All replies welcome.
>Tom H.C. in MI