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On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:23 AM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Eugene Oh wrote:
>>
>> Does anyone have any comments on his suggestion of "retrospective" as a
>> replacement for "perfect"? He is on this list IIRC so he probably could
>> respond. (: My personal reservation is that it is too redolent of "past
>> tense".
>
> I think it really would be helpful if 'perfect' could be dropped as an
> aspectual label and that, like "imperfect" it was used only as a label for a
> 'tense' (i.e. a tense-aspect) in particular languages. But I don't
> particularly like 'retrospective'; while that reflects on the past
> events/action that led to the current situation, it seems to me that the
> main thrust of the aspect is the resulting _current situation_. But, i must
> confess, I can't think of an obvious alternative.

Denouementive? (Oh god, that's horrible, never mind)

> In both the ancient & modern language _tense_ differences, in the strict
> sense of the word, are found only in the indicative mood. The other moods -
> subjunctive, imperative and (in the ancient language) optative - and the
> non-finite parts, i.e. the participles & infinitives (almost entirely absent
> in the modern language) do not exhibit tense, only aspect.

I find Palmer's theory that the optative is really just the past tense
of the subjunctive interesting. Unfortunately I don't have the book
handy at the moment, or I'd quote it. It has to do with the optative
showing up where you'd expect a subjunctive in past tense contexts,
similarities in conjugation, and his theory of the "modal-past", where
past tense is used to suggest remoteness (which is also how he
analyses English "will"/"would").