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On Monday 22 July 2002 10:46, julien eychenne wrote:
> le lun 22-07-2002 à 16:55, Peter Clark a écrit :
> >         English contractions are showing the possibility of developing
> > into a noun-tense system, just as soon as we stop analysing them as
> > noun+auxiliary. Consider:
>
> Well, I don't get it. I am wondering how we could consider pronoun +
> auxiliary as tensed nouns, even  if I try hard. Tensed nouns are
> supposed to bear in themselves a tense value, such as nawatl |in
> tlânamaka-k| is 'the one who sold' > "the seller". But pronouns in that
> case don't bear this value intrinsecally (we don't have |I'll| =
> *"future me" or something like that) but it just supports the value of
> the tensed verb. So it seems that these are two different things.

        You are correct...at this point in English's development. What my point was
that it is entirely possible that future generations will analyze (pro-)noun
+ auxiliary contraction as a single unit.
        For example, take the natural process of languages, which generally moves
isolating -> agglutinating -> fusional -> isolating. What were individual
words in an isolating language become fixed to a stem as the language becomes
more agglutinating. To take an English example,
"anti-dis-establish-ment-ari-an-ism" is one word, but the various components
of meaning are expressed by their own morpheme. As time goes on and the
language becomes more fusional, these morphemes likewise become squashed
together, so that the "-o" in "hablo" is a first-person, present tense,
whatever-else morpheme. One morpheme does double/triple/quadruple duty.
        It is not a stretch then to see how "-ll" could become the future tense
marker for a noun. Currently:
        "The cat'll catch the mouse."
        Then:
        "The catll catch the mouse."
        Then:
        "The catll catch the mousll."

        Once the "-ll" is no longer seen as an auxiliary, but as part of the noun,
the process will most likely continue to the point where direct and indirect
objects will receive some sort of marking as well, as future generations
start analyzing "-ll" as a normal morpheme for nouns.
        What happened in the case of Enamyn was that the auxiliary became a morpheme
of the stem of the main subject. The various markers for direct and indirect
objects were re-analyzed as temporally relational markers; as time went on,
these relational markers gained additional semantic meaning to indicate that
they refered to either the future, the present, or the past of the subject.
Hence, in the sentence "She-past write poem-r.pres to.honor
grandfather-r.past" has three nouns: "She," which is in the past, "poem,"
which is concurrent in the past with "she" (relative-present), and
"grandfather," which is in the past of the past "she" (relative-past). The
literal sense of the sentence is, "She wrote a poem to honor her dead
grandfather."
        :Peter