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On 24 Jan 2012, at 10:20, Arnt Richard Johansen wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 10:48:40PM -0600, Ian Spolarich wrote:
>> While working on a conlang of mine in which there is no future or present
>> and only a nonpast tense,
> 
> Wait. How does this work? What is the difference between having one tense and having no tense at all? How are past events referred to in this language?


Technically, this is what English does (although I'm sure this is likely to provoke discussion) :)

I shovel
I shovelled
I will shovel 

I'm assuming Ian means: it has a past tense and a non-past tense and does not have a future or present tense.

>> Also--what is the technical term for this construction?

I'm fairly certain it's some sort of aspect. For me, at least, the meaning is very similar to the construction "be set to".

"He is to perform at the Bishop's Palace"
"He is set to perform at the Bishop's Palace"
"He is to be put to death"
"He is set to be put to death"

The assumption here is a sense of *fate*, that someone else has made the decision for the subject. Now, this is all supposition, but could it be argued that this is the real futurity in English? Does "I will do" have any basis in "willing", in which case meaning "I intend to do"? With "is to do" occurring more regularly in older texts, is it possible that the succession of "I will do" has happened "recently"?

Sam Stutter
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"No e na il cu barri"