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45600Re: [tied] Re: Germanic preterite optative

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  • P&G
    Aug 1, 2006
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      >it is quite common for perfective to be unmarked,
      >and in languages without tense, but with aspect, the perfective
      >is typically used to denote the past, at least for non-stative
      >verbs. Classical Arabic is generally said to fall in this
      >group

      I am sure that any problem is mine, or my confusion -- or else things have
      been so redefined that the sentence "the past is never unmarked" no longer
      means that past tenses are never unmarked.

      It was indeed languages such as classical Arabic,or Biblical Hebrew, that I
      was thinking of (which is why I refered to them). You'll also have noted
      my careful wording : I said "the form which is used for the unmarked past".
      I think it is only by semantic sleight-of-hand that a linguist can make
      these languages have always-marked past tenses. The past is often indicated
      by an adverb or some such, but it is also often not indicated, so that the
      original perfective functions as an umarked past. The present is always
      marked by inflection. But no doubt I have misunderstood something.

      Peter
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