[Lingtyp] R: Non-present lexemes

TasakuTsunoda tasakutsunoda at nifty.com
Fri Dec 9 06:22:50 UTC 2022


Dear Colleague,


    Satoko Shirai (2020: 467, 476) provides the following information.


    In nDrapa (which belongs to the Qiangic branch of the Tibeto-Burman subfamily of the Sino-Tibetan language family), the time reference of the perfective (-a) is to the non-present time (i.e. either to the past or to the future) when it is used in subordinate clauses and in the “Clause” of the mermaid construction.




Shirai, Satoko. 2020. nDrapa. In Tasaku Tsunoda (ed.), Mermaid construction: A compound-predicate construction with biclausal appearance, 465–509. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.


    Satoko Shirai (p.c., e-mail of 2022/12/09) kindly checked the above information and confirmed that it is correct.


Best wishes,


Tasaku Tsunoda



送信元: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> (Tom Koss <Tom.Koss at uantwerpen.be> の代理)
日付: 2022年12月7日 水曜日 19:54
宛先: Lingtyp list <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
件名: Re: [Lingtyp] R: Non-present lexemes


Dear all,  


many, many thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I hope you forgive me that I cannot respond to every contributor personally.  


A few summarizing observations: this phenomenon seems to be much more widespread than I would have assumed, especially in Indo-European and Uralic languages. Also, non-present semantics seems to be associated mostly with adverbs and particles, while verbal paradigms referring to the non-present are much rarer, the only examples for the latter being the recency/remoteness markers of Piraha, the Macedonian aorist and the perfective aspect in Russian.  


Within the group of adverbs, I could make out three different types with more or less equal frequencies: adverbs indicating a short relative distance from the present ('recent past and near future'), adverbs indicating a great relative distance from the present ('remote past and remote future'), and adverbs indicating an absolute, in most cases intermediate distance from the present ('yesterday and tomorrow', or even 'day before yesterday and day after tomorrow'). For some adverbs, one of the two temporal interpretations (past or future) is more typical or considered to be ‘the correct one’ by prescriptivists.  


The fact that any clausal connective encoding some kind of sequentiality can, by definition, only refer to the non-present is something I hadn’t thought about, so thanks for drawing my attention to it. I maybe should have added to my definition that I am mainly looking for non-present semantics within simple clauses.  


Many thanks again! Please feel free to provide me with further examples in case something else comes to your mind.  


All best, 



From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Raffaele Simone <raffaele.simone at uniroma3.it>
Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2022 5:03 PM
To: David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de>; lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: [Lingtyp] R: Non-present lexemes 


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Dear friends,

the Italian adverb ora “now” means both “quite recently in the past” and “shortly”.
Ne abbiamo parlato ora
We talked about it an instant ago
Ne parleremo ora
We shall talk about it in a moment





Emeritus Professor, Università Roma Tre

Hon C Lund University

Membre de l'Académie Royale de Belgique

Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France

Accademico (corrispondente) della Crusca

Prix de l'Institut de France-Fondation Bonnefous 2022


Attività e pubblicazioni // Activity and publications http://uniroma3.academia.edu/RaffaeleSimone


Da: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> Per conto di David Gil
Inviato: venerdì 2 dicembre 2022 20:07
A: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Oggetto: Re: [Lingtyp] Non-present lexemes


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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