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22.7: Conclusion

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    We have discussed a number of different uses of the perfect in various languages. What all of these various uses have in common is the fact that (all or part of) the Situation Time precedes Topic Time. As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, this is the component of meaning which Klein (1992) identifies as the defining feature of perfect aspect.

    Further reading

    Comrie (1976: ch. 3) is a foundational work, and still a good place to start. Portner (2011) and Ritz (2012) provide good overviews of the empirical challenges and competing analyses for the perfect.

    Discussion exercises

    A. Identify the sub-type (i.e., the semantic function: Experiential, Universal, Result, or “hot news”) of the present perfect forms in the following examples:

    1. Russia has just accused the American curling team of doping.

    2. Rupert has visited Brazil three times.

    3. Horace has been playing that same sonata since four o’clock.

    4. The Prime Minister has resigned; it happened several weeks ago, but we still don’t know who the next Prime Minister will be.

    5. Martha has known about George’s false teeth for several years.

    Homework exercises

    Based on the examples provided below, describe the Tok Pisin TenseAspect system and suggest an appropriate label for each of the five italicized grammatical markers (e.g. subjunctive mood, iterative aspect, etc.). These markers are glossed simply as ‘aux’. Some of these forms can also be used as independent verbs, but you should consider those meanings (shown in the section headings) to be distinct senses. Base your description on the ‘aux’ functions only. You can ignore the somewhat mysterious “predicate marker” i.a

    A. bin

    1. Bung      i      bin  stat  long Mande  na   bai  pinis long Fraide.
        meeting pred aux start at    Monday and aux end  at     Friday
        ‘The meeting began on Monday and will finish on Friday, April 22.’

    2. Asde/#Tumora           mi  bin  lukim tumbuna      bilong mi.
        yesterday/#tomorrow 1sg aux see    grandparent poss   1sg
        ‘Yesterday/#tomorrow I saw my grandparent.’

    3. Wanem taim sik       i      bin  kamap nupela?
        what     time illness pred aux appear new
        ‘When did the illness first appear?’

    4. Ol tumbuna i      no  bin  wari   long   dispela.
        pl ancestor pred not aux worry about this
        ‘The ancestors did not worry about this.’

    5. Ol   i      bin  slip    long haus   bilong mi.
        3pl pred aux sleep at     house poss   1sg
        ‘They were sleeping in(side) my house.’

    B. bai

    6. Long wanem taim bai  yu  go?
        at     what    time aux 2sg go
        ‘At what time will you go?’

    7. Tumora/#Asde bai mi askim em.
        tomorrow/#yesterday aux 1sg ask 3sg
        ‘Tomorrow/#yesterday I will ask him/her.’

    8. Ating    apinun     bai  mi  traim pilai  ping-pong namba.wan taim.
        maybe afternoon aux 1sg try     play ping-pong  first           time.
        ‘Maybe this afternoon I will try to play ping-pong for the first time.’

    9. Sapos yu  kaikai planti pinat   bai  yu   kamap  strong olsem phantom.
        if       2sg eat    much peanut aux 2sg become strong like    phantom
        ‘If you eat many peanuts, you will become strong like the Phantom.’

    C. save (short form: sa) [main verb sense: ‘know’]

    10. Mipela   i      no  save kaikai bulmakau.
         1pl.excl pred neg aux  eat     cow
         ‘We don’t (customarily) eat beef.’

    11. Mi  save wokabaut go wok.
         1sg aux  walk        go  work
         ‘I always walk to work.’

    12. Long nait   mi  slip     na  ol  natnat       i       save kam  long haus  bilong mi.
          at    night 1sg sleep, and pl mosquitoes pred aux  come to    house poss  1sg
          ‘At night I sleep, and then the mosquitoes come into my house.’

    13. Mipla     stap lo(ng) skul,     ol ami     ol   sa   pait  wantem ol man ia.
          1pl.excl be    in       school, pl soldier 3pl aux flight with      pl man here.
          ‘When we were in school, the soldiers used to fight with the men (rebels).’ [East New Britain dialect]

    D. stap [main verb sense: ‘be, stay, remain’]

    14. Ol   i       kaikai i      stap.
         3pl pred eat     pred aux
         ‘They are/were eating.’

    15. Ol lapun meri     i      subim ka  i      go  i      stap.
         pl  old    woman pred push  car pred go pred aux 
         ‘The old women are/were pushing a car.’

    16. Dua  i      op    nating i      stap.
         door pred open just    pred aux
         ‘The door was just open like that…’

    17. Em  i       tisa       i      stap yet.
          3sg pred teacher pred aux  still
          ‘He is still a teacher.’

    18. Hamas       de  pikinini i      sik   i      stap?
          how.many day child    pred sick pred aux
          ‘How many days has the child been sick?’

    19. Taim  em  i      kam   i      lukim Dogare i      sindaun tanim smok   i     stap.
          time  3sg pred come pred see   (name) pred sit         roll    smoke pred aux
          ‘When he came he saw Dogare sitting down rolling a cigarette.’

    20. Bai  sampela ol  i      toktok i       stap na   ol  i       no  harim gut  tok  bilong yu.
          aux some    3pl pred talk    pred aux  and 3pl pred not listen  well talk poss   2sg
          ‘Some of them will be talking and not listen well to your speech.’

    E. pinis [main verb sense: ‘finish, stop, complete’]

    21. Mipela    i      wokim sampela haus   pinis.
          1pl.excl pred build    some     house aux
          ‘We [excl.] have built some houses.’

    22. Gavman       i      putim pinis planti didiman.
          government pred place aux   many agricultural.officer
          ‘The government has appointed many agricultural officers.’

    23. Dok  i      dai pinis.
          dog pred die aux
          ‘The dog has died/is dead.’

    24. Mi    lapun       pinis.
          1sg old.person aux
          ‘I am already old.’ Or: ‘I have grown old.’

    25. a. Ol  i       bikpela pinis.
             3pl pred big       aux
             ‘They have become big/are grown-ups (now).’

         b. *Ol  i      liklik   pinis
              3pl pred small aux
             (intended: ‘They are already small’ or ‘they were small once.’)

    26. Pen  i       stap longpela taim pinis, o, nau  tasol em  i       kamap?
          pain pred exist long       time aux   or now only  3sg pred become
          ‘Has the pain been there for a long time, or has it just started?'

    27. Em i       kamap  meija  pinis taim  mipela  i      harim dispela stori  hia.
         3sg pred become major aux   time 1pl.excl pred hear  this      story here 
         ‘He had become a major by the time we [excl.] heard this story.’

    28. a. Esra i       sanap long dispela ples.
             Esra pred stand  at     this     place
             ‘Ezra stood on this platform (while reading the Law).’ [Neh. 8:4]

         b. Man  i      sanap pinis.
             man pred stand aux
             ‘The man has stood up (and is standing now).’

    29. a. Wanpela diwai i      sanap namel  tru.
             one        tree  pred stand  middle very
             ‘One tree stood right in the middle (of the Garden).’ [Gen. 3:3]

         b. #Diwai i        sanap pinis.
              tree    stand pred   aux
              ‘The tree has stood up (and is standing now).’

    a Most of the examples in this exercise come from Verhaar (1985). Other data sources include: Dutton (1973); Wohlgemuth (1999); Holm (2000); Sebba (1997); G. Smith (2002); Joyce Wood and Liisa Berghäll (p.c.).

    22.7: Conclusion is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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