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PIE past time (was: isolating is equivalent to inflected)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 6, 2005, 14:04
Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Quoting caeruleancentaur <caeruleancentaur@...>:
>> >>Are there some who believe that the past tense in English was formed >>in this way, _verb_ + _did_? IIRC, a dental bound morpheme used to >>indicate past time is as old as PIE. >> >>English: played, slept >>Latin: laudatus > > > Well, _laudatus_ isn't strictly speaking a past tense form - it's a perfect > participle.
_laudatus_ just is _not_ past. It show perfect aspect, but is indifferent as regards tense.
>The imperfect is _laudabam_ and the perfect is _laudavi_, without a > dental ending.
The imperfect is certainly past and, as Andreas says, has no dental ending. As for _laudavi_ that could be either _present_ perfect (I have praised) or simple past (I praised); the difference between the two meanings was felt by Classical writers in that if the so-called 'perfect tense' had a present perfect meaning, 'primary tenses' of the subjunctive were used in subordinate clauses; but if it had the simple past meaning, then 'historic tenses' were used. (Of course 'tenses' when referring to the subjunctive forms did not have the strict meaning of "time reference"). The only two tenses that are unambiguously past in Latin are the imperfect (laudabam) and the pluperfect (laudaveram) - neither has dental endings.
> Everything I've read would indicate that the dental morpheme in Germanic pasts > and imperfects are indeed derived from a form of the auxillary "do".
And everything I've read indicates that also. As for dentals showing past time, one may, perhaps, think of the 'weak aorist' of ancient Greek being formed withe dental fricative [s]. But, as the subjunctive, optative, participle & infinitives forms of the aorist clearly show, this was an _aspectual_ marking, not one of past time. Past time per_se in ancient Greek was marked by the prefix e- (or, if verb with a vowel, by lengthening the vowel): the so-called 'augment'. I am not aware of dental being a mark of past time in PIE; but I must confess I have not kept up to date with the latest thinking on PIE. I should welcome enlightenment. -- Ray ================================== ================================== MAKE POVERTY HISTORY