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Hallo conlangers!

On Sunday 13 January 2013 02:29:57 neo gu wrote:

> This is included for completeness; the interesting posts are A (agreement)
> and B (subclass discussion).
> 
> Jan06 grammar is hierarchical with inverse marking. It also has noun
> classes.
> 
> Jan06 verbs have 4 aspects and 3 tenses. For each aspect or tense, there's
> a particular verb stem; either aspect or tense is marked, but not both.
> The tenses are absolute past, present, and future. The aspects are
> prospective, durative, perfect, and aorist; the implicit tense for these
> is relative to the context. Typically, a tense-marked clause will
> establish the time and be followed by aspect-marked clauses. Example:
> 
> 3-see-Pst-1S c-cat.	"I saw a cat."
> 3-hunt-Dur-NT m-mouse.	"It was hunting a mouse."
> Neg m-catch-Aor-OT.	"It didn't catch it."
> very fast-Dur-NT.	"The mouse was very fast."

Nice.  So you have realized that aspect and tense are not really
orthogonal.  Orthogonal tense/aspect systems are a "mistake" (scare
quotes) that many beginner conlangers who have read about aspect
often make.  It makes perfect sense to mark only the first of
several clauses denoting temporally connected (e.g., simultaneous
or consecutive) events with a tense, and use aspects to encode the
internal structure of the event group, relating the other events
to the first event.

My own conlang Old Albic is somewhat similar.  There, too, the
aorist (perfective) aspect does not combine with tense markers; it
is thus neutral with regard to tense, while in the imperfective
aspect, four tenses (present, imperfect, future, conditional) are
distinguished.  There are also three periphrastic aspects, formed
with the auxiliary _tha_ (roughly, like Spanish _estar_) and case
forms of the verbal noun: perfect (ablative of the VN), progressive
(locative of the VN) and prospective (allative of the VN).  These
can be combined with the four tenses (marked on the auxiliary).
 
> The moods are indicative, contrafactual, imperative, and subjunctive.
> Except for the indicative, the moods are marked by particles preposed to
> the verb. The stems marked for absolute tense are used only by the
> indicative and the contrafactual. The imperative implicitly has future
> time.

Sure.  An imperative always refers to an event the addressee is
meant to engage with in the future.  A "past imperative" is not
very reasonable.

>       The subjunctive, like the participial forms, has only relative time.

Old Albic has two moods: indicative and subjunctive.  Only the
indicative mood takes tense marking; the subjunctive has only
two forms, imperfective and aorist.  The imperative is expressed
by a subjunctive with a preposed particle, of which there are
several to express different degrees of urgency and politeness.
  
> Subjunctive clauses can be used as temporal adjuncts. Here, the aspects act
> as relative tense markers: the perfect as relative past, the durative as
> relative present, and the prospective as relative future:
> 
> Ant-leave-Pst-M M-Mary Sub Ant-eat-Dur-J J-John.
> "Mary left while John was eating."
> 
> Ant-leave-Pst-M M-Mary Sub Ant-eat-Prf-J J-John.
> "Mary left after John had eaten."
> 
> Ant-leave-Pst-M M-Mary Sub Ant-eat-Pro-J J-John.
> "Mary left before John ate."

A nice and economic rule.  In Old Albic, there are two ways
to express this, either by a finite clause with an appropriate
conjunction (as in English), or by an infinite clause consisting
of a case form of the verbal noun and arguments coded as possessors
of the verbal noun.
 
> The aorist can also be used:
> 
> Ant-eat-Dur-J J-John Sub Ant-leave-Aor-M M-Mary.
> "John was eating when Mary left." (or "John will be eating when Mary
> leaves.")

The same kind of construction also occurs in Old Albic.

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