[Lingtyp] Non-present lexemes

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at
Fri Dec 2 15:03:06 UTC 2022

Dear all,

in Finland, prescriptivist laypeople often point out that the Finnish expression "lähiaikoina" (lähi-aiko-i-na near-time-PL-ESSIVE) "should" mean ’in the near future, soon’ (this is how normative dictionaries define its meaning) but is sometimes "wrongly" used in the meaning ’recently, in the near past’ – which some people seem to find exceptionally annoying.

Univ.Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien, Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL)
Abteilung Finno-Ugristik
Campus AAKH Spitalgasse 2-4 Hof 7
A-1090 Wien
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.athttp://homepage.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/
Project ELDIA: http://www.eldia-project.org/ 

> Däbritz, Dr. phil. Chris Lasse <chris.lasse.daebritz at uni-hamburg.de> kirjoitti 02.12.2022 kello 14.34:
> Dear Tom, dear all,
> Nganasan (< Samoyedic < Uralic) has the adverb "talu" meaning both 'tomorrow' and 'yesterday'. See the following paper for a complete description:
> Szeverényi, Sándor 2012. The systems of the deictic day names in the Samoyed languages.
> In: Tiina Hyytiäinen, Tiina, Lotta Jalava, Janne Saarikivi & Erika Sandman
> (eds): Per Urales ad Orientem. Iter polyphonicum multilingue. Festskrift tillägnad
> Juha Janhunen på hans sextioårsdag den 12 februari 2012. (Mémoires de la Société
> Finno-Ougrienne 264). 465–479, Helsinki: Finno-Ugrian Society.
> Best
> Chris
> Von: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org <mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org>> im Auftrag von Tom Koss <Tom.Koss at uantwerpen.be <mailto:Tom.Koss at uantwerpen.be>>
> Gesendet: Freitag, 2. Dezember 2022 12:15:19
> An: Lingtyp list
> Betreff: [Lingtyp] Non-present lexemes
> Dear all,  
> I’m looking for any kind of linguistic item (TMA markers, particles, adverbials etc.) that can convey both past- and future-time reference but that do not appear in present contexts.  
> The items I’m looking for do not have to be “non-present tense” markers in the strict sense, i.e., bound morphemes which have non-present time reference as their core meaning - even though this would be most interesting of course. They can also be more loosely connected to the verb phrase, have additional, more specific meanings, and/or be compatible with other tense markers. 
> The only criterion is that the items in question allow for both past and future interpretations of the clauses they appear in (the choice between the two depending on non-linguistic or grammatical context), while a present interpretation is generally not possible. I would also be interested in languages where the expression of a certain grammatical category is similar in the past and future tense(s), while the present tense behaves differently in some way (see e.g. the Awa Pit example below). 
> Below are a few examples for the phenomenon I am referring to: 
> Nez Perce (Sahaptian) has a lexeme watiisx ‘one day away’ that can mean ‘tomorrow’ or ‘yesterday’, depending on the tense marking in the respective clause (Deal 2010: 120). The same thing seems to happen with the lexeme kel in Hindi (Indo-Aryan)(Kachru 1997: 95) and with ejo in Kinyarwanda (Bantu) (Nkusi 1995: 580). All three languages have separate lexemes meaning ‘today’. 
> The lexeme hibajata in Jarawara (Arawá) is interpreted as ‘later today’ in the absence of tense marking, and as ‘just now’ in combination with the immediate past marker -ra (Dixon 2004: 224). There are no examples given where it is translated as ‘right now’ or ‘at this moment’. 
> Awa Pit (Barbacoan) has several strategies to mark clausal negation. One of them, the negative suffix  <>-ma, indicates past-time reference in the absence of tense marking, and future-time reference in combination with the future marker -ni (Curnow 1997: 332/33). In my assessment, it cannot combine with the imperfective suffix -mtu, which is the default marker to express present-time reference in the language. 
> If you can think of similar examples in languages you are familiar with, I would be very interested in knowing more about them, so as to get a better idea about how common such items with non-present semantics are cross-linguistically, and what their distribution might be. So far, I have mostly found them in the Americas.  
> Many thanks in advance! 
> Best wishes, 
> Tom Koss 
> PhD candidate at the University of Antwerp 
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