Knock! Knock! Who's there?

Seth Jerchower, Ph.D. sejerchower at JTSA.EDU
Tue Nov 17 19:07:59 UTC 1998

One final note regarding the Sicilian "Cu fu?" as the equivalent of "Who is
it?":  As I stated yesterday, in Sicilian the past perfect of "essere"
replaces the present tense (generally imperfect in aspect)of the Italian
utterance.  So what occurs in Sicilian is:

1.	a shift in tense;
2.	a shift in aspect

where, in effect, the Sicilian utterance is "equivalent" to "Who was_PERF
it?" ("has been" in English actually denotes a perfective aspect of the
present not of the past, while "was" is used, and in my opinion curiously
with respect to other languages, as both perfect and imperfect), or rather,
in central and northern Italo-Romance types:  "Chi è stato?" (contrary to
"has been", to which the construct appears cognate, "è stato" denotes a
perfective aspect of the past, albeit not terribly distant with respect to
the speaker, ex. "sono nato nel 1962" = "I was born in 1962"; the construct
is known as "passato prossimo", or near past; fyi, in the south-central and
southern Italian dialects, the "passato prossimo" is a virtually unknown

After this brief "minestrone" of data, my question is:  Where else does
this type of shift/and or perfective utterance occur?

with best regards to all, SJ

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