G.Lazard gilzard at WANADOO.FR
Fri Apr 16 14:44:30 UTC 2004

Dear Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm,
About your Q3. In Contemporary Persian the present subjunctive is
(be-)kon-ad  "s/he may do", the present indicative mi-kon-ad "s/he does",
the progressive present indicative (periphrastic) dAr-ad mi-kon-ad "s/he is
doing". The progressive is a recent form. The present indicative is a
previous durative/progressive form. The subjunctive was a general present
indicative in Classical Persian. The evolution thus is: progressive ‹>
present indicative ‹> subjunctive. This trend seems to be fairly common
across languages. It is a particular case of a more general aspectual/modal
drift, from "concomitant" to "general" to "modal" or disappearance, both in
the completed aspect and in the non completed aspect, as shown by David
Cohen, L'aspect verbal, Paris 1989. That phenomenon happened several times
in the history of the Persian language, which is more than 2000 years long,
see the article "Aspect, temps, mode de procès", in my book Etudes de
linguistique générale: typologie grammaticale, Paris 2001, p.445-459, also
published in Melanges David Cohen, Paris 2003, p.358-369.
 Best wishes.

Gilbert Lazard
49 av. de l'Observatoire
F-75014 Paris

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