I called it the "stative" not by any formal linguistic characterisation, but
in parallel to the formation of the perfect aspect -- the "logic" being that
they are parallel, and that taking a snapshot of a moment when the
imperfective verb is in action will give you the progressive, much as taking
that same snapshot with a perfective verb will give you the perfect, if that
makes sense. It's not a hard and fast label, just a table heading, and if
it's not accurate and there's a better name I'll be glad to change it. The
opposition I was thinking of can be phrased as "State: moving vs.
E.g. to write (ser-, PRFV; seir-, IMPF):
seroute - write.PRFV.STAT = write.PERF = he has/had written (a letter)
seiri - write.IMPF.STAT = write.PROG = he is/was/has been writing (a letter)

The table I am working with is a 3R x 2C table. The rows are labelled
"perfective aspect", "imperfective aspect" and "future tense". The first
column is unlabelled, because I don't know what to label it, and the second
is labelled "stative" for now. What I am still trying to figure out is which
cell corresponds to what specific verb form(s) in various natlangs and what
their names are. I'm using French, Chinese and Japanese for their relative
tense structure which is a less confusing fit for Arithide.

In particular, which cell probably corresponds best to the so-called
"present"? How should I reconsider the way to express "John eats an orange"
(if I should at all; under the existing paradigm, I use the perfective--no
"stative" here to trip people up)?

I tried out translating some sentences I made up to compare and contrast the
ways in which tense/mood/aspect are marked in the three aforementioned
natlangs, and found that the following sentences would be translated in
exactly the same way in Arithide:

(a) If it rains, I will stay. (future-future)
(b) If it is raining, I will stay. (present-future)
(c) If it was raining, I will stay. (past-future)

Orios numōn do lestomai.
rain.NOM fall.SUBJUNC if stay.FUT

But this one is translated differently:

If it has rained, I will stay. (perfect-future)

Orios numasiōn do lestomai.
rain.NOM fall.PERF.SUBJ if stay.FUT

As are these:

If it had rained, I would have stayed. (pluperfect-past)
If it had rained, I would stay/be staying. (past-present)

Orios numōn do lesthei (stay.PERF.STAT).

Hope that made some sense.

But ah, now that I've gone back and revisited the sentences, the third,
neutral (thanks Ray) aspect seems to be unnecessary and mersible (mergeable?
neither word is in my spellchecker's dictionary; nor is "spellchecker") with
the perfective. I'm getting very confused. And this is another reason why I
didn't reiterate my wish to participate in the inverse relay -- I'm still
unsettled about such a basic thing as the verb paradigm! :(


2009/4/20 R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>

> Philip Newton wrote:
>> 2009/4/20 Eugene Oh <[log in to unmask]>:
>>> I was reevalutating the Arithide verb paradigm and realised that I have
>>> been
>>> mislabelling the aspects all this while (Arithide does not mark tense).
>>> Rather than a three-way "perfective-imperfective-perfect" distinction,
>>> there
>>> is actually a "null-perfective-imperfective" trichotomy with the perfect
>>> marked as the stative form of the perfective (and the progressive as the
>>> stative form of the imperfective).
>>> My question is, is there a specific name for the "null" aspect form?
>> Is that "aorist"?
> No.
> Larry Trask lists four meanings of "aorist":
> (1) A verb form marked for past tense but unmarked for aspect.
> (2) A verb form marked for both past tense and perfective aspect.
> (3) A verb form marked for perfective aspect.
> (4) A conventional label used in a highly variable manner among specialists
> in particular languages to denote some particular verb form or set of verb
> forms.
> In ancient (and AIUI modern) Greek, the 'aorist tense' is (2), but when we
> speak of the aorist subjunctive, aorist participle, aorist infinitive etc
> (3) is meant. As an example of (4) Trask cites G.L. Lewis' use of the term
> for durative/habitual aspect in Turkish.
> In view of this terminological confusion, Bernard Comrie recommends the
> avoidance of the term 'aorist' in linguistic theory. I agree with him.
> In short, Eugene could use "aorist" to denote the null aspect in his
> conlang, but if he did so he would need to explain what he meant his use of
> "aorist," making it clear that he was not using "aorist" with any of its
> other meanings.
> However, I'm not altogether clear what the "null aspect" is; AIUI the two
> superordinate aspectual categories distinguish between the 'imperfective',
> which makes reference to the internal structure of the activity expressed by
> the verb, and the perfective which doesn't. I guess a third category on the
> same level as imperfective & perfective would be _neutral_ as to whether
> reference was made to the internal structure of the activity expressed by
> the verb or not (a bit like moving from binary logic, where everything is
> either true or false, to a ternary logic in which we have: true, false,
> unknown/irrelevant). So, if this is what is meant, I would be inclined to
> speak of 'neutral aspect'.
> But I'm also a bit puzzled by Eugene's use of 'stative' when he says "he
> progressive as the stative form of the imperfective." AIUI 'stative' denotes
> a state of affairs rather than an event. Whilst, therefore, I can accept
> that a perfect aspect, which denotes a state resulting from an earlier
> event, may well be described as 'stative', but I fail see how a something
> _progressive_ (i.e. actually in progress and, therefore, not completed) is
> the stative form of anything.
> Maybe some actual examples from the language would help.
> --
> Ray
> ==================================
> ==================================
> "Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
> wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
> [J.G. Hamann, 1760]
> "A mind that thinks at its own expense
> will always interfere with language".