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THEORY: Multiple aspect marking and Kartvelian ` la carte

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Thursday, October 7, 1999, 20:39
I mentioned the Georgian screeve system, and courtesy of (a great overview of Georgian grammar can be
found there), I learned something new this morning.

A screeve (from _mts'k'rivi_ 'row') is a combination of tense, aspect and
mood.  There are three aspects or 'statuses': present (imperfect), aorist
and perfect.  The imperfect aspect is subdivided into present and future.

Each status or aspect is subdivided into three tense/mood modes: present,
past and subjunctive.  However, aorist has only two and the perfect
subjunctive is obsolete today.

Georgian has a total of eleven screeves, here divided by aspect:

present subjunctive
future (probably durative)
future subjunctive
aorist (or simple past)
optative (or 'second subjunctive')
pluperfect (past perfect)
perfect subjunctive

Verbs are divided into four classes of transitivity: two dynamic (transitive
and middle/reflexive) and two static (intransitive and 'inverted', which is
kinda hard to explain, help anyone?).

I mentioned that Georgian is a split-ergative or mixed system, because
depending on aspect status the subject, direct object and indirect object
are in different cases; transitivity also affects case marking.  Notice that
the dative case can function as accusative...

Transitive and reflexive:
Present/future: subject is nominative, objects (direct and indirect) is
Aorist: subject is ergative (or 'narrative'), direct object is nominative
(function as absolutive), and indirect object is dative
Perfect: subject is dative (!), direct object is nominative.  Indirect
object takes on a sort-of 'eighth case', bearing the ending _-tvis_ 'for'.

Intransitive: Subject is nominative; both objects are dative.
Inverted: Subject is dative; direct object is nominative.  There is no
indirect object.

I'll have to read up on verb slots, and if there are causatives, etc.

Now on to my question.  Could multiple tense marking occur in verbs, where
you could specify the aspect (and maybe even the mood) for the past, present
and/or future of a verb?  That is, say, imperfect in the past and perfect in
the future (I was doing it but I have finished now)... or perfect in the
past and subjunctive in the future (I had done it but I might do it again).
You do the math...

Outta time, be back tomorrow.  Kisses...


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