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Re: [Lambengolmor] Aorist across verb classes

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  • NiennaSorrowing@aol.com
    In a message dated 6/5/2002 11:43:55 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... If this is continuing the example of French, Greg, I would like to point out that, as far as
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 5 9:52 PM
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      In a message dated 6/5/2002 11:43:55 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
      gordon.dyke@... writes:


      > This could mean that derived stems either have no aorist; or that their
      > aorist is identical to their "present continuous".
      >

      If this is continuing the example of French, Greg, I would like to point
      out that, as far as I know, there is no distinction made in French between
      the present indicative (close to Quenya's "aorist") and the progressive
      present ("present continuative"). Admitedly, I am nowhere near fluent in
      French, so I might be incorrect.

      _Je regarde_ translates to both "I watch" (present indicative or "aorist")
      and "I am watching" (progressive present). The circumlocution _en train
      de_ "in the middle of" is often used if a more exact "progressive present"
      is desired.

      I'm afraid I'm not polyglot enough to make any more contributions to this
      subject, but using the example of French given, it would certainly seem
      that a distinction between aorist and progressive present is not always
      necessary.

      --Inga


      [Certainly there are many languages -- actually, all the ones I've studied,
      other than Quenya! - that make no _formal_ (i.e. _structural_) distinction
      between present continuative and present indicative. Usually, if the
      distinction is important to the meaning (as it very often isn't), these
      languages will employ periphrasis to express the difference, or rely on
      context, or other extra-structural strategies. The question at hand,
      though, is, in those languages that _do_ have a formal distinction of
      aorist vs. non-aorist, or even present continuative vs. present
      indicative, is the distinction maintained across all verb classes. Carl]
    • G. Dyke
      [Greg had written:] ... I m sorry, I was going back to Quenya on that one. I talked to a greek studying friend of mine who assures me that in ancient greek at
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 6 9:03 AM
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        [Greg had written:]

        > This could mean that derived stems either have no aorist; or that their
        > aorist is identical to their "present continuous".

        I'm sorry, I was going back to Quenya on that one.

        I talked to a greek studying friend of mine who assures me that in ancient
        greek at any rate, there are no whole verb classes which do not have an
        aorist, although you do come across the odd verb or two which don't

        Greg
      • Ivan A Derzhanski
        ... Roughly speaking, the presence of more derivational morphology in lexical innovations may conflict with whatever inflexional morphology distinguishes the
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 6 1:39 PM
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          "G. Dyke" wrote:
          > I'm afraid I have no Greek to add, but Ivan's remark that
          > "the latter is typical of lexical innovations" reminds me
          > of the French infinitive forms:

          Roughly speaking, the presence of more derivational morphology
          in lexical innovations may conflict with whatever inflexional
          morphology distinguishes the two stems in the verbs of the core
          vocabulary.

          [...]
          > although I know of no other languages with aorist, it does not seem
          > particularly strange that some verb classes should have a particular
          > form which others don't.

          Going back to Quenya: If it is the case that the present stem
          is obtained from the aorist one by lengthening the root vowel
          and replacing the final vowel by _-a_ (as in the pair _quete_
          `says' vs _quéta_ `is saying'), what shall we expect if (as in
          the case of _-ta/-ya_-verbs) the aorist stem already ends in _-a_
          and the root vowel can't be lengthened, because it is in a closed
          syllable? -- The two stems will coincide, which the language may
          or may not do something about. I'd say that, on the whole,
          languages tend to tolerate this sort of ambiguity.

          --Ivan
        • gentlebeldin
          ... This is not entirely correct, sorry! 1. The subjunctive is not a tense, it has forms in all tenses. 2. There are two subjuntives in German. 3. Both have
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 7 12:11 AM
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            --- In lambengolmor@y..., "G. Dyke" <gordon.dyke@b...> wrote:

            > This is an effect that also happens in some more "archaic" tenses like
            > the German subjunctive: which has forms only for the auxiliary and modal
            > verbs (and for some strange reason the verb "to know") all the other
            > verbs having this tense formed with the assistance of a the modal
            > "werden".

            This is not entirely correct, sorry!
            1. The subjunctive is not a tense, it has forms in all tenses.
            2. There are two subjuntives in German.
            3. Both have basic forms (without auxiliary verbs) for all verbs, but
            some of them may coincide with other verb forms.

            Let's concentrate on subjunctive 2 (expressing wishes, irreal
            assumptions,...).

            Example: "singen" (sing). It's a strong verb, past tense "er sang"
            (3. sg.), past participle "gesungen" (that's called ablaut). The
            subjunctive (present tense) would be formed by umlaut mutation of the
            stem vowel in past tense: "er sänge".

            This rule was adopted for the less ancient weak verbs, forming past
            tense with suffix "-t(e)(n)", even for some without ablaut:
            brauchen -> er brauchte -> er bräuchte.

            However, there's a whole class of verbs where the forms coincide with
            past tense, because umlaut mutation is impossible (stem vowel "i/ie"
            or umlaut in past tense). In other cases, the umlaut mutated forms
            were abandoned for historical reasons ("wöllte"), or ancient strong
            forms were replaced by weak forms: "fragen" (ask) has past
            tense "fragte" instead of "frug" now, and the subjunctive 2 would
            be "früge", not "*frägte".

            In all those cases, the subjunctive coincides with forms of past
            tense, and where this could lead to ambiguity, the construction with
            an auxiliary verb ("fragen" -> "würde fragen") was introduced.
            This leads to the consequence that the original forms of the
            subjunctive are almost out of usage in vernacular now, replaced by
            the auxiliary construction even when it isn't necessary.

            They still exist in correct, literary German, however (listen to the
            news in tv :-): "Ich wünschte, Du kämest" (I wished you came).
            Since it is the continuation of an old, natural trend towards weak,
            analytical construction, the subjunctive will probably vanish in the
            standard language, too, whether one likes it or not (I don't :-).

            There's a question connected with ablaut in past tense related to
            nasal infixion: "gehen" (go) -> "er ging". The other direction would
            be "denken" (think) -> "er dachte", cf. "Gedanke" (thought).

            Since one would only expect another vowel here, this is an indication
            for ancient nasal vowel, changing into "in/en/an" later. Such nasal
            vowels remained in some other Indo-European languages (Polish), they
            aren't a mere hypothesis.

            Now nasal infixion plays an important role in Quenya. Is there any
            hint at the former existence of nasal vowels in primitive Elvish?
            (this was my first, never answered question in the Elfling list).

            Hans

            [I'm allowing this post, because it is instructive to consider these
            mechanisms, but this is getting rather far afield, both from the original
            topic and from Eldarin. I'd also like to ask Hans to repose his final
            question in a separate post, with a new topic description. Carl]
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