tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Mar 14 00:33:57 1994

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Re: Narrative "tense"

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     I vote for establishing the time setting at the beginning of a long
narrative and then using no aspect marker on the verb except to mark a
specific verb's relationship with that time setting.

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This makes good sense to me.  In the one human language I am
familiar with that uses aspect but not tense, ASL (American Sign
Language), this is how time is established in narrative:  Time
(and place) are established at the beginning, generally with
description rather than a time marker ("yesterday", "when I was
a teenager", "when we get to London", "every time I visit my
mother", etc.).  From then on they apply through the rest of the
narrative until the signer says something to change them.

Actually, ASL's aspectual inflections are richer than Klingon's;
e.g., "start X-ing", "X repeatedly", "X continuously".  There is
a perfective marker, but it's not an inflection; it's
structurally a separate word, used after the verb or the whole
clause.  (The aspectual inflections are incorporated into the
movement of the verb, neither prefixed nor suffixed.)  The
perfective marker is clearly aspectual, and like Klingon -pu';
and it would look VERY strange if attached to every verb in a
narrative set in the past: kind of like taking an English
narrative set in the past and changing all the past tenses to
past perfects.

- marqem

                         Mark A. Mandel 
    Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200 
  320 Nevada St. :  Newton, Mass. 02160, USA : [email protected]

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