On 12.02.2006, at 01:35, Carl Hostetter wrote:
> The actual practice seems to be rather
> to cite the _least marked_ formation first, followed by whatever forms
> are necessary to illustrate the other formation classes
One might add that a formation is used that (generally) conveys the
best idea of the basic nature of the verb, the most transparent.
That's not necessarily the present tense. A good example to underline
Carl's point are Semitic languages which cite the 3rd sg. perfect
because it's structurally the most transparent. Another example is
Korean which uses a present form but -lacking person markers- can
choose between various reverential levels. It uses the one whose
suffix least modifies the basic verbal stem. Lastly consider
Sanskrit, which cites roots.
For most (modern) european languages (germanic, romance, slavic,
baltic, finnish...) though, it's indeed the (or one) infinitive.
[Harm J. Schelhaas also wrote, to make the same point about Semitic
citation standards: "As an example of a non IE language with a different
convention, in Hebrew verbs are cited by 3rd (male) sg. perf. act." CFH]