[Lingtyp] terms for days after tomorrow

Alex Francois alex.francois.cnrs at gmail.com
Fri Mar 25 18:42:48 UTC 2022

dear Samira,

Within the Austronesian family, I recommend the rich study of time
expressions in *Oceanic languages* written by Malcolm Ross, and published
as a chapter in the multi-volume encyclopaedia of the Proto-Oceanic lexicon

   - Ross, Malcolm. 2007. *Time*.
   In Malcolm Ross, Andrew Pawley & Meredith Osmond (eds.),
   *The lexicon of Proto Oceanic. The culture and environment of ancestral
   Oceanic society*.
   Vol. 2. *The physical environment* (Pacific Linguistics 545), 295–337.
   Canberra: Australian National University.
   → available in open access: https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hfkc.16

See especially pp.331-334 for ways to refer to yesterday, tomorrow, etc.

In many Oceanic languages (though not all), “the day before yesterday” and
“the day after tomorrow” share the same root (reconstructed to POc *waRisa
“two days away from now”), but the former has a prefix *[qa]na- referring
to the past:

→ *[*qa*]*na-waRisa* “two days ago”
vs.  **waRisa *“two days from now (in the future)”:

The reflexes in certain modern languages show a semantic extension to days
further away in the past or future:
‒  e.g. in Hiw (Vanuatu):

*newur̄ye*  [nə'wug͡ʟjə] < POc *[qa]na-waRisa
“1) two days ago;
 2) the other day (in the past) ‒ up to several years back (e.g. a far-away

*wur̄ye*  ['wug͡ʟjə]       < POc *waRisa
“1) two days from now;
 2) one day (in the future)”

As Malcolm Ross points out (p.331), several modern Oceanic languages show a
semantic pattern whereby

   - “yesterday” colexifies with “evening”,
   - and/or “tomorrow” colexifies with “morning”.

→ e.g. in northern Vanuatu, Mwerlap *tōlō* 'morning' is cognate with Dorig
*talōw* 'tomorrow'.
That lexical pattern is widespread in the world:  cf. Spanish *mañana*;
German *Morgen*, Eng. *morrow*; Ukrainian *завтра *'tomorrow' <
Proto-Slavic **utro *'morning', etc.


Alex François
LaTTiCe <http://www.lattice.cnrs.fr/en/alexandre-francois/> — CNRS–
–Sorbonne nouvelle
Australian National University
Personal homepage <http://alex.francois.online.fr/>

On Sat, 19 Mar 2022 at 08:49, Samira Verhees <jh.verhees at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Lingtyp list,
> A student of mine is collecting data on lexemes denoting consecutive days
> after tomorrow in East Caucasian (and neighboring) languages, and we were
> wondering if anyone here knows of any typological research that discusses
> the encoding of this concept (or perhaps more broadly systems of naming
> days and their diachronic development), or any language-specific work that
> explores such terms in some detail.
> In some East Caucasian languages, there are unique, non-compositional
> terms for the day after tomorrow, the day after the day after tomorrow, for
> up to 6 days after tomorrow. We have been able to find some languages that
> also have a non-compositional term for the day after the day after
> tomorrow, for example, but we can't seem to find anything more elaborate
> than examples on internet fora or short sentences in reference grammars.
> Best,
> Samira Verhees
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
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