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307Re: Finnish and Quenya future

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  • Petri Tikka
    Jan 30 12:09 PM
      Partit (Patrick) tence:

      > Actually, in the Quenya verbal system _i_ indicates the _aorist_,
      > not the present tense.

      Yes, that was known to me. There's no aorist vs. present
      (continual) tense distinction in Finnish, only one present
      tense. I find it quite strange that the term _aorist_ is applied
      to a tense that points to the present in Quenya. Why can't
      the term _present tense_ be applied here? Is it to distinguish
      it from the present tense with vocalic lengthening + _-a_,
      e.g. in _síla_ 'shines' (XI:367) < SIL- (V:385)?

      Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland

      [Since Quenya, unlike Finnish and English, _does_ possess
      morphologically distinct present (continuative) and aorist
      tenses, it would be highly confusing to refer to the Q. aorist
      as a "present" tense, all the moreso since the Q. aorist
      does not refer specifically to the present, but is instead used
      to express general truths or habitually recurrent actions,
      without specifying whether said action takes place in the
      past or present (hence the term 'aorist' < Gk. _aoristos_
      'indefinite'). English does not possess a separate aorist
      tense, and so the present tense is used in situations where
      an aorist sense is required -- the so-called 'gnomic' present.

      The aorist phrase _i karir quettar ómainen_ 'those who form
      words with voices' (XI:391), describing the Elves, is a good
      example of how the aorist was typically used in Quenya. It
      does not mean that there are necessarily Elves speaking at
      this very present moment, it means that speaking with
      words is something that Elves habitually or periodically
      do _in general_. One could thus presumably correctly
      describe a group of Elves standing in utter silence as
      _i karir quettar ómainen_, since in general Elves do speak,
      even though these particular ones are currently silent.

      -- Patrick Wynne
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