[Lingtyp] Non-present lexemes

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Fri Dec 2 19:06:31 UTC 2022

Dear all,

In English, 'this evening', uttered at around 3 or 4 am, can, with a bit 
of effort, be understood as referring to either the previous evening or 
the following evening, depending on context, but not to the present time.

In Hebrew, a similar but less marginal (ie. much more common) pattern is 
evident with /halayla/ (DEF:night), which, when uttered during daytime, 
can refer to either the preceding night ('last night') or the following 
night ('tonight'), but obviously not to the present.

The generalization seems to be that English /this // Hebrew /ha=/ plus 
part-of-day expression refers to the nearest appropriate part of day to 
the time of speech, with no inherent specification of relative (past, 
present or future) time.  (With an added complication for English, 
which, instead of /#this night/, has either /last night/ or 
/tonight///for past and future respectively.)


David Gil

Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, 04103, Germany

Email:gil at shh.mpg.de
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-526117713
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-082113720302
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