Re: [mythsoc] Magic and language (was HP - some choice Commentary / magic systems)
- In a message dated 6/25/3 3:42:07 PM, Diane wrote:
<<Plus, the Navajo have an interesting view of time. I
think they have no tenses---or certain ones we take for granted are missing.
>>Not true -- although I think this assertion most often gets made in relation
to Hopi (for which it's not true either). Both Navajo and Hopi (unrelated to
each other), like most Native American languages (and, for that matter, all
Semitic languages, as well as languages in many other families) make the primary
distinction in verbal usage not so much one of tenses as one between
perfective and imperfective aspects (ie, completed vs. progressive action). This is
considered more important than the time in which the action takes place, which
can usually be understood from the context -- although if desired it can be
specified by the use of adverbial expressions or clitics, which refer to the
familiar time-concepts of past, present and future.