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Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> It seems that if one's intention is to convey information in
> the most striaghtforward manner that a minimalist conlang
> would need very few tenses, voices, and moods.
>
I agree.

> Exotic forms like the passive could certainly be done
> without. [:)]
>
Yep. You could use an emphasis particle, or a trigger system.

> Even the future tense seems unnecessary as long as
> some additional word conveys the idea of futurity as in
> "Dinner IS SOON ready," "John is here tomorrow."
>
Yep. I'd use temporal adverbs.

> "I am here for six months already" gives some notion of
> pastness without a past tense.
>
Yep. I'd use temporal adverbbs.

> But if one were to strike a happy medium between the
> sublime
>
What does 'sublime' mean?

> and the ridiculous, which moods, voices and tenses would
> you consider to be the minimum set for a reasonably
> mature language of daily commerce?

I'd vote for: active, passive (with trigger or emphasis or omission of the (oblique) subject), antipassive (omission of the object), middle (lke active - like English); past and nonpast; indicative, subjunctive, imperative. Modality will be be figured out later; go to http://www.eskimo.com/~ram/lexical_semantics.html#S16_0. ('Should', 'must' etc... are modals.)

--Robert