Imperfective marking in present tense

Kazuha Watanabe kw69 at CORNELL.EDU
Mon Jan 21 02:39:58 UTC 2008

Dear Östen,

That's exactly what I was thinking of.  I am sorry if I wasn't clear.
Languages tend to have plain present tense form (I eat fish, for example)
and progressive form (I am eating fish, for example).  However,
generalized imperfectives (but not progressive---one of the easiest
syntactic test would be that progressives do not apply to stative verbs
whereas imperfectives do) and plain present tense shear so much of their
functions, as Östen pointed out, I figured the languages that would make
such a distinction would be rare. I wanted to know if there is any, and if
there is, what the function of each form is like.

I hope this would clear things up a bit...

Kazuha Watanabe

> Dear all,
> It is not quite clear what uses such a non-imperfective present tense form
> could have. In languages with marked imperfectives, these tend to cover
> the
> whole range of uses that present tenses usually have (e.g. in the Romance
> languages). Progressives cover a more restricted area (like in English).
> There may of course be forms that are transitional between progressive and
> generalized imperfectives; maybe those are the ones Kazuha is thinking of.
> With regard to Bardi, mentioned by Claire Bowern, a little more
> information
> would be needed to make clear what's going on there. What's the
> distinction
> between the incomplete and unmarked forms in the present?
> Östen Dahl
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG]
>> On Behalf Of Kazuha Watanabe
>> Sent: den 19 januari 2008 21:49
>> Subject: Imperfective marking in present tense
>> Dear all,
>> I am looking for a language which has both plain present tense form and
>> distinctively marked imperfective aspect form (not progressive).  All
>> the
>> languages I know seem to either use imperfective only in the past
>> tense(Romance, for example) or mark imperfective in the present tense
>> but
>> do not have a separate plain present tense form (Slavic, for example).
>> Thank you very much!
>> Kazuha Watanabe

Kazuha Watanabe
Cornell University
Department of Linguistics

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