Print

Print


On Sun, 6 May 2018 11:23:40 +0800
Stewart Fraser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> What they wrote was OK. However they never mentioned why CF was so
> strongly aligned with past tense in many languages of the world.
> 
> Has anybody got any idea what percentage of languages have CF aligned
> with past tense ?

I can't say the percentage, but when you consider it's common in Europe,
North America, and Africa, it must be sizable. None of the books I've
got venture an explanation, though. I suspect that it's a case of
"because it's there." Consider how some languages with a productive
morphology for marking the perfective / imperfective distinction have
recycled the present-perfective form as a future (Georgian, Hungarian).
You have a form or construction that's surplus to requirements, so you
employ it where you need something. Presumably there must be a
rationale, but I can't see it. In the case of the future, at least the
present would have been used as a future before a future evolved.
Not everything in language makes sense; e.g. in Palmer's Mood and
Modality, he remarks that conditionals in Amharic "defy explation"!